How to find a tech co-founder

You’ve got an idea for a tech startup. But you’re not an engineer. What should you do? So often when I talk to (budding) entrepreneurs this question is asked: “HOW DO I FIND A TECH CO-FOUNDER?”


And because there are no stupid questions, I usually spin something like, well, go to meetups and find someone who likes your mission, and if you could see yourself having a beer with that person, you’re good to go.


Now, I can’t imagine anyone I’ve talked to has not only really done that but in fact found someone this way. And I realised this when reading yesterday’s AMA with Holly Cardew on Blackbird VC’s The Sunrise.


Holly said:


My advice to others is: Do not get a cofounder because someone else tells you to. It most probably will not work out.
You will know when it is right.


A co-founder is someone you’re going to spend a lot of time with. Not only good times but tough times as well. You really have to be lucky just to meet someone randomly that ticks not only the right boxes but you could actually see yourself working with.


Alan Downie, who probably gets that question way more often, responded with another observation:


My initial thought would be then to say “there, there” and thinking: will this person one day find some sucker to work for them for free? But really it won’t happen like this. The reality is that most people that ask this question just started to get interested in startups. Not surprising given all the hype in the last 5 years or so. But if they are truly committed to go on their startup journey they don’t really need an answer. They will figure it all out for themselves.


Holly then shared what she did when she started her business:

…and then proceeded to drop the microphone.


Then I realised something else: why would you ask a techie for advice on how to find other techies? Well, it stands to reason techies have techie friends that are all going to be super interested to work for free. But on the flipside, as a techie, I haven’t had to worry about this problem. It’s like a girl asking a guy friend how to find good guys to date. They aren’t the experts. When it comes to building a tech business without being a techie, the best advice comes from people like Holly who have successfully done this.


Highlighting just how frequently this comes up, here’s just a random tweet that appeared in my feed a couple of minutes after this exchange:

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