Finding A Co-Founder

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, Rules of Thumb

This is based on both my direct experience and stories folks have shared at the Bootstrappers Breakfast® over the last few years about finding a co-founder.

Finding a Co-Founder

Your co-founder can come from one of three groups

  • friend, current co-worker,  former co-worker
  • friend of a friend or former co-worker, someone who trusts someone you trust
  • stranger / other

Make a list of everyone you have successfully collaborated with in the last decade or two.

Recontact them and reconnect if you have lost touch.

If their background, expertise and interest are a fit with your needs:  assume that it will take a month or two to come to a working arrangement and get started.

If they are not a direct fit explain the kind of co-founder or co-founders you are looking for. If they can introduce you to someone that they can vouch for, and vouch for you to the other person, take some time and work on a small project or two.

Allow three to six months to come to a working relationship. Consider adding your fried or former co-worker as an equity compensated advisor.

If you meet a stranger at a Meetup, a Startup Week, a Bootstrapper breakfast or other event  and do not have friend or former co-worker in common here are some steps to take to get better acquainted along with an idea of how much time to allow:

  • Plan on working together on two or three projects of escalating complexity before you have enough data to be able to ask them to help you create a company.
  • Meet or have conversations with as many folks that they have worked with as possible, focus on those who would have knowledge or experience relevant to your startup’s customers or technology.  Create an informal advisory board (“kitchen cabinet”)  that has one or two folks  they know and one or two that you know.
  • Allow three to nine months working on a few projects of escalating complexity before you can make a  final decision to go forward with them.

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