By Christine Chu
Can you build a startup on your own? It’s entirely possible to make it on your own, although the research shows that your chances of success are much higher with a co-founder. This is especially true for non-technical founders, who often have co-founders with the programming knowledge and skills to develop the product. Co-founders also play a big role in securing investors, and building and leading a technical team.
If you’re having a hard time finding a co-founder, here are 4 steps that could get you in front of the right people.
1. Start With A Partnership
You’ll end up spending as much or more time with your co-founder than you do with your family, so don’t go pitching to strangers to fill this role. Much like a family member, a co-founder can’t just be recruited -- begin by building a personal and working relationship.
An effective way to find your technical co-founder without burning bridges is to hire first. Use the initial few months to get acquainted and feel out your ability to work together as partners. Ideally, you’ll have shared interests or complementary skills. Eventually, you’ll know whether to propose the partnership to become a co-founding relationship.
Note that this evaluation period can take time: taking this partnership a step further is an investment of resources on both sides. Your co-founder, technical or not, is an entrepreneur like you, with their own ideas and visions. For them to commit the next chapter of their lives to an existing startup, they’ll want to be sure that this is a worthwhile move.
Remember that even if things don’t work out, the time you’ve invested into building a relationship with a potential co-founder is not wasted, as you’ll have been making startup progress at the same time. As you build up startup value, you’ll also find it significantly easier to get a partner who is open to taking the role of a co-founder.
2. Join Online Startup Communities
Plug into the startup ecosystem by joining vibrant online communities. Product Hunt and Indie Hackers are just two examples of platforms that you can launch your startup through. In this process, you’ll be able to connect with potential technical co-founders and key stakeholders like partners, investors, mentors, and influencers.
Product Hunt is home to hundreds of thousands of startup founders and enthusiasts around the world who share their products on the platform to gather feedback and attract users. The interests are diverse, and you’re bound to catch the attention of a like-minded niche.
Additionally, whether or not members of these communities are interested in working with you, they’re often willing to just support passionate entrepreneurs by helping spread the word quickly. Use this traction to your advantage by pitching your story and seeking potential co-founders.
3. Document And Share Your Journey
A good story goes a long way. Documenting and sharing your startup journey will help build a community around your ideas and your mission. In fact, Ryan Hoover started Product Hunt by tweeting his idea and asking entrepreneurs for feedback. This gave his ideas validation and connected him with people who expressed interest in helping him build and launch Product Hunt.
There are many ways to document your startup journey. Starting a blog on your site is one of the most practical ideas. You can not only share updates with readers on your progress, but also share tips and insights relevant to your target audience, which will build credibility. A regularly-updated blog will also boost your website’s organic traffic through search engine ranking and attract future customers, investors, and most importantly, potential co-founders.
Keep in mind, however, that as an entrepreneur, it’s best to be careful with who you work with. While co-founders are proven to contribute significantly to the success of a startup, sometimes launching and running a startup on your own is better than a detrimental co-founding relationship. You can still build a growing venture as a solo founder.
4. Pitch to MassLight
If you are looking specifically for a technical co-founder, MassLight’s Build for Equity program is another option. MassLight has two decades of experience and a growing portfolio of reputable software development projects, all built solely in exchange for equity. We work closely with startups as the technical co-founder to meet technical needs and help the business get off the ground.
Contact us now to get started by pitching your startup to MassLight.