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Mark Zuckerberg had Eduardo Saverin. Sergey Brin had Larry Page. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. You could do with a co-founder too.
Charting your course as a startup is a daunting task in itself. Going it alone might make it all the more laborious. But you don’t have to fly solo. You could do with the help of a co-founder.
This blog post will talk about the why, what, and where of finding the right co-founder. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Imagine you have a huge task list. Having a co-founder around will help you divide the work. And the quality of work is much better if you have a co-founder who has complementary skills, so that they can do things that you can't. You won’t be alone in making big decisions. You can brainstorm with a like-minded co-founder at any time. This also works the other way around wherein your co-founder can talk you out of a bad idea. In this way, you get a lot of uplift in the quality and quantum of work done.
Startups are rollercoasters of emotion. Embarking on your venture is an incredibly intense and taxing journey. Therefore, it's great to have someone you can lean on for support during the tough times. If one founder is having a nightmare of a day, then the other co-founder can sweep in to save the day and offer moral support so that none of you give up and let go of the vision.
Think of Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft. They all had co-founders when they started. However, people associate the company with one person, usually the CEO. Think of Microsoft; you think Bill Gates. Think of Apple; you think Steve Jobs. But that doesn’t paint the whole picture. Each of these tycoons had a co-founder supporting them throughout the entire process. So, a co-founder is indispensable when it comes to supporting your startup journey. The co-founder may not get the limelight, but he or she surely does enough to steer the company in the right direction.
Before you get up close and personal with a co-founder, you need to assess how well that person handles stress. Conversely, you also need to gauge whether he or she can help you manage your stress levels in return. Startups are extremely stressful, that’s why it’s great to have employees who have perseverance in the aces of spades.
This also means that you really don’t want to begin your venture with a person you don’t know too well. You just won’t know how they handle stress. And you won’t know whether that person will stick around when the going gets tough. So, it’s highly important to conduct this personality assessment when it comes to hiring co-founders. This is a way of saying that the best people to start companies with are usually people with whom you’ve got a pre-existing rapport. It’s important to surmise whether you've got some sort of personal experiences, where you kind of know the character and how they're going to respond to the tough times. And that usually means there's someone, a close friend, or someone that you've worked with, under stressful conditions.
Moreover, it’s important to know about the skills that your co-founder brings to the table. Therefore, it's imperative to have a co-founder who has the right sort of skills to help you grow the company. More often than not, that means this is someone who’s got a complementary set of skills when compared with you. Think about it this way. If you're really great at sales, marketing, talking to users, or getting customers, ideally, you'd have a complementary co-founder who's really great at product development, writing code, building software. In this manner, the two of you can divide and conquer the work to get a lot done in little time.
The answer might be obvious, but start with the people you already know. Ideally, these people might be your friends or colleagues. But it’s not necessary to jump into a takeover-the-world startup idea from the onset. Get to know them first. The best way to do that is to find people with whom you cand do projects with.
Projects are much less daunting than building a startup together. It could be a cool game you might want to develop with your project partner. If you’re at school or at work, identify people who would be fit to handle a project with you. Once you work on these projects with different people, you can start to develop of taste for who you like working with. Think of projects as a good way to screen candidates before you offer a co-founder seat.
To find potential co-founders, it’s handy to make a list of people closest to you and work on that list from top to bottom. Go grab a quick bite to eat with them and share your startup idea. If most say no, it’s ok. In that case, ask them who they would start a startup with and then approach the references by asking for an introduction. Doing this expands your pool of potential co-founders.
What would be highly recommended is to go out there and meet like-minded people. This is where networking works for you. But this is essentially what finding co-founders boils down to. Let’s take an example. Say you're a software engineer. You have the option to attend developer meetups, work on open-source projects, or go to hackathons. Hangout where others, engineers and builders, are hanging out. And you're likely to find some meets.
At CREEK, finding your co-founder just became effortless. You don’t have to go knocking from door to door to find your co-founder. We’ve simplified the process for you. Here, you get to experience the power of networking. You can leverage your network of like-minded professionals by exploring the community and picking all the skills and industries you’re interested in. You can make use of the rich network of founders at CREEK to find your co-founder by offering co-founder seats, if he or she fits your ideal description of a co-founder.
We just addressed the why, what, and where of finding the right co-founder. Use this knowledge to your advantage as you scan your environs to build your core team of co-founders.