By Sarah Mooney
A technical co-founder is responsible for the tech side, of course. However, they’re also expected to help shape your vision, to be it’s best version.
You have a brilliant idea, and you can’t wait to start turning it into a reality. Although enthusiasm is a must-have when it comes to young, risky businesses, you shouldn’t let it carry you away. Let’s tap into some reality.
Execution of your idea can be even more important than the concept itself.
Brilliant ideas, often perish due to lack of planning. It’s unfortunate. And, you should do what you can to limit that from happening. You don’t want to raise your startup alone. Find yourself a co-parent; or, in this case, a technical co-founder.
What Is a Technical Co-Founder?
A technical co-founder is an experienced, excellent programmer with whom you team up to develop a startup. This person is not an employee, they are your partner, and you should find them in the early days of your startup.
The two of you share all the hard work, risks, and responsibility, but also the rewards, success, and profit. The technical co-founder you choose must be ready to put in the work. They are invested in the project as much as you are.
They should be with you every step of the way. Yes, a technical co-founder is responsible for the tech part, but also is expected to help shape your vision into its best version.
Why Do You Need a Startup Co-Founder?
First of all, you need to know this: investors are not keen on giving money to startups that don’t have a technical co-founder. You can hire a team of programmers, however, employees don’t have the same level of commitment as a founder, or investor.
When it comes to employees, you can’t be sure they won’t quit, or leave the first time you hit a rough patch. They won’t be ready to give all their energy, and think about the future of the company. They’re merely there to collect a paycheck.
This is precisely the reason investors are going to be suspicious if you don’t have a co-founder. You have to be a team player, and have someone besides you on the founding level. If you don’t, it doesn’t send the right message:
Maybe you can’t work well with others?
Do you always need to be in control of everything?
Either way, the desire to do everything by yourself in business is never good, and investors know that. They’ll run away as fast as they can! But, they aren’t the only ones that need to be happy. It would be best if you took care of yourself too, or the startup will suffer.
Having a co-founder will help you keep your sanity. An equal partner will share the burden, and you will have each other to lean on. That makes all the difference.
In the end, the most obvious reason – if you’re not a skilled programmer, there will be many obstacles. A technical co-founder would always be ready to find smart and savvy solutions.
What Makes an Excellent Technical Co-Founder?
A technical co-founder can’t be just a skilled programmer. Our friendly advice: find yourself somebody who is a people person and has some business skills. Here’s what you are looking for:
- Exceptional communication skills – this is one of the essential skills in a co-founder (technical or non-technical!). Even though your technical co-founder will mainly work on the tech part of the project, he/she will occasionally have to interact with clients and investors. Also, it’s expected that a person on a founding level has some leadership skills; he/she must know how to guide and advise the employees properly. As your startup grows, you’ll most likely have to hire programmers to work under your technical co-founder.
- A good listener and a team player – you want a partner who would be happy to hear you out and meet you halfway. But remember, you must do the same for him/her! Compromise is your new best friend from now on! Additionally, the co-founder must listen to the feedback of clients. Feedback from clients is essential to building a desire for your product. If your clients aren’t happy with it, they won’t use it, nor will they pay for it.
- Passionate about what they do – startups take time and persistence, so loving your job makes things a lot easier. They should be passionate about all things tech, and passionate about what you’re looking to build.
- Organized – a characteristic that is quite helpful for the technical aspect of work, and even more when it comes to building a company from scratch. A thoughtful organization will prove to be essential in the long-term development of your startup.
- Experienced – in the area of work that your startup is doing. This way, your co-founder will have an idea of what lies ahead and how you can manage specific, everyday challenges. We can’t say that this experience is necessary, but it’s a perk.
How To Find a Co-Founder?
Since this is a huge decision, it should take you a certain amount of time to find the right co-founder. A common mistake is jumping into the relationship. It can bring you a lot of headaches later. Finding a technical co-founder is a process known as co-founder dating. Yes, it resembles real dating.
It takes time to get to know someone, all their strengths, and flaws. When you find the right candidate, talk to them. You want to assess whether the two of you are compatible.
- Do you have the same ambitions, goals?
- Are your principles similar?
You’re trying to enter a contract with this person. You’re going to spend a massive amount of time together. If you don’t explore this relationship before making it official, it might end up being a disaster and ruin your project. Don’t forget! Investors like to see co-founders that get along.
But not just in the early days. They want to make sure you’ll stay on good terms in the years to come.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: “But, where do I even find potential co-founders?” There are so many places to look. Start with the people you know.
Someone you’ve previously worked with, or a college friend, perhaps. If you already know a person, this should make the co-founder dating experience more comfortable.
If you ruled out all the acquaintances you have, MassLight can help you build your startup. Simply apply to our Build for Equity program. We’ll build your product solely for equity. Think of us as an investor - we want you to be successful, so we’ll put in the work and the passion.