Year after year we see single founders with great businesses ideas but without the know-how around how to build a product. Or it’s the opposite – the entrepreneur has a deep technology skills but is lacking business acumen. In both instances, they’re on a hunt for co-founders to help them build successful businesses. The problem is, they often don’t know where to start looking. Hopefully we can steer you in the right direction.
- Know what you’re looking for
Write a “job” description for that ideal partner. Make sure you are perfectly clear on what skill sets will be most needed for the success of your business, and make sure you’ve got a mix of complementary skills in the house. For example, you don’t need three technologists in your startup team, instead you might want to bring in someone with marketing or sales or operating skills.
- Tap into your personal network
The most basic advice is to simply tell a lot of people that you’re looking for a co-founder, cast a wide net and ultimately try teaming up with someone you trust who has compatible skills. If you don’t know anyone in your own personal network (your LinkedIn 1st degree connections), try to find the same type of people in your 2nd degree connections. Hopefully, someone you know can make an introduction for you, and help vouch for you and your idea with the 2nd degree connection, in order to get them to trust you and invest their time in helping you.
People you may want to consider would also be:
- friends from high school and university;
- your siblings, BFF, partner or spouse;
- former co-workers;
- former co-founders in another venture you’re familiar with;
- former competitors and vendors;
- people you’ve met through mutual introductions and networking events;
- attend hackathons and Startup Weekends (SW events take place all around NZ and are a great place to test out your ideas)
- try working out of a co-working space and meet people that way
- maybe hire an intern or freelancer to see if they could be a fit
- connections from industry events and trade shows
Hiring for a startup is in many ways like dating, which means that you should probably hang out at places where your partner might be at. Start with attending and networking at local tech meetups and industry events, become a part of the community and be visible – talk to people about what your startup stands for and why you’re so passionate about it. Your best bet is to attract somebody who cares about your mission enough to choose it over a well-paying day job.
- Join online “matchmaking” sites
There are several that help match people in New Zealand. You might want to post your co-founder job description to:
- Founder Finder NZ/AUS Facebook group;
- CoFoundersLab platform has a number of kiwi entrepreneurs signed up;
- Startup Jobs is a great free site to advertise your call for a co-founder;
Hope these tips help you think through your options. Also, make sure to read this blog post by Guy Kawasaki on ‘How to find a Co-Founder’ and make sure you find a co-founder who is aligned with your own goals.