I’ve never co-founded a company so I can’t say I’m an expert on finding a technical co-founder, but I’ve heard enough horror stories from my developer friends who have been recruited by “business guys” to know what NOT to do.
If your reason for wanting a technical co-founder is to “get your product built” or because investors say you need one, you’re doing it all wrong
Yes, you will need one in order to raise money from an even moderately knowledgeable investor, and yes, they will be responsible building product…but a technical co-founder is actually a lot more important than that…and there is a lot to consider when partnering with one (or anyone early on in your company).
The role of the non-technical co-founder
A non-technical co-founder/CTO will be responsible for a lot more than just building product. If the non-technical co-founder doesn’t have product management expertise, the CTO will essentially be head of product, which entails managing a team of developers, recruiting a team of developers, and making key product decisions.
Importance of a strong relationship
Your co-founder will be your partner for the life of your company. Make sure you have a strong relationship and share the same vision. I’ve heard a few horror stories about how co-founder disputes have destroyed entire companies. They’re not your employee…it’s way more than that.
Present an opportunity
I think showing how great an opportunity the company is is the best way to recruit someone. Make them want to join you.
Good tech talent will always have other opportunities – either at a more well-capitalized company, more stable company, or in starting their own thing. Why should they spend their time on your opportunity?
Get traction without him/her to prove that you can carry your weight. You’d be surprised how far you can get without even writing a line of code.
I’d advise against concepts that can’t be validated without tech. Leverage your strengths – find an idea that lets you use them.
You want a co-founder that’s passionate about the vision of the company. Will he wake up at 3am when the site goes down? I want a co-founder that’s vested in the vision — so I’m not asking them to just “build my product,” I’m actually asking for way more.
If possible, I think it’s best to have a co-founder in mind before you even get serious about starting the company. Have someone you can explore ideas with and give yourself time to get to know each other before committing to starting a company together.
Note: I’m not looking for a technical co-founder