Hello everyone. This is Michael, the head of BroutonLab. In this article, I would like to discuss the problem of finding and selecting a technical co-founder for creating a tech startup. Attention will be paid to the tasks they are responsible for and the qualities they should possess. At the end of the article, we will discuss options for finding such a person.
There are many articles on this topic available online. However, I would like to shed light on this issue from the perspective of a technical specialist, which I consider myself to be.
A bit about my technical background
I defended my PhD in applied mathematics (dealing with tasks of fast computations and developing optimizing compilers). My career has been associated with various technologies, ranging from developing high-tech system software (automatic program parallelization), C++ programming for desktop systems, to training neural networks for recruiting companies. In the industry, I have progressed from software developer to development department head.
Responsibilities of a technical co-founder
A tech co-founder is one of the key figures in your business, roughly responsible for envisioning how your product will function, whether it's SaaS or a mobile application. The responsibilities of a tech co-founder include:
- Leading the development team and ensuring effective collaboration among them.
- Formulating and assigning technical tasks, as well as continuously tracking their completion.
- Making technical decisions and overseeing the quality of the software code.
- Strategically planning the release of new features and product improvements in line with user needs and market trends.
- Identifying and implementing innovative technological solutions to enhance product performance and competitiveness.
Not all tasks may be relevant to you at the moment, especially in the early stages when speed is of great importance. Therefore, there's no need to rush into finding specialists with a decade of experience in development. My main point is that essentially, the person responsible for all processes related to the development of your technology. Whether it will be this person dealing with these matters in the future or another hired worker (for example, a CTO), this can be decided later.
Qualities a tech co-founder should possess
A tech co-founder is not just an employee but essentially your business partner, who risks their resources alongside you. Therefore, it's crucial that your value systems align.
For instance, if you're obsessed with making a unicorn and are willing to work for the long haul, you're unlikely to succeed with a partner who wants to recoup their investments within a year. On the other hand, if you find it uncomfortable to work with a particular individual and you argue unnecessarily, it's a bad sign.
Remember that a co-founder is someone you're in the same boat with. In the future, it will be much harder to part ways with them than with an employee because they have invested in the product alongside you and have certain rights to it. Your partner should be motivated to work and understand that achieving profitability may take some time, perhaps even years.
Now that we've briefly outlined the profile of the person we're looking for, let's consider how and where to find them.
Perhaps, you don't need to search for anyone
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
There are indeed quite successful startups without a dedicated technical co-founder role. If you have programming experience, you can consider such an option. I myself test some ideas without involving my in-house developers. Nowadays, it's very quick to create an MVP with a web interface knowing just Python. Furthermore, I know people in my network who have built successful businesses without a dedicated technical co-founder at all. Let's consider the pros and cons of this approach:
- The product is developed under your control.
- Retaining a larger share in the company.
- Requires high technical expertise.
- Requires a lot of time.
I won't dwell on it for long. I think it's clear here.
Recommendations for finding a technical co-founder
Searching for a technical co-founder through your existing network can be an effective way to start. My personal experience suggests that networking and recommendations work best. Typically, individuals I've met through recommendations tend to work with me much longer than those I've found on job search websites. Perhaps this is my personal bias.
Unfortunately, searching through acquaintances doesn't always yield results. There's no guarantee that someone in your network will be interested in starting a new business. In this case, I suggest utilizing multiple channels for your search:
- Conferences: I would advise participating in software development conferences. For me, the offline format is always preferable because we are social beings, and face-to-face interaction with a potential co-founder can be invaluable.
- Job boards (e.g., Upwork): There, you can find professionals actively seeking work. Participating in a startup might be an attractive option for them.
Remember, finding the right co-founder is a crucial step for the success of your startup. It's worth investing time and effort into finding someone who shares your vision and values.
Partnership with technology companies
I've separated this option because it doesn't involve searching for an individual but rather a company that agrees to work with you strategically and invest its resources into your idea. There are numerous IT service outsourcing companies in the market with a pool of developers. Perhaps the director of one of these companies will like your idea and want to become your co-founder.
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You can also contact me and my team through the contact us page. At this point, I would like to conclude. I hope the article was interesting to you.