How to find the right co-founder?
When starting a business, or developing an idea, there are a lot of challenges and bumps that come with it.
Having the right co-founder by your side, a person that, just like you, is passionate about the product or service you’re both building, is crucial to help you overcome every obstacle and major decision you face
In this article we’ll be going through what and where to look for a co-founder.
- Aligned values
Founding a business is no easy path. Some days it goes great, others… not so much. It’s important to point out that choosing a co-founder just because of their professional skills might be misleading.
On the roughest days, you will want to overcome the difficulties with someone you trust and who has similar values.
Trust is crucial: when you’re going through tough times, do you trust they will put your company above their own possible interest?
2. Aligned expectations
When starting a business, it is crucial to have aligned expectations with your partner. It is important that the future you want to give to the company is similar to the co-founder’s.
However: leave room for change. There is no straight path to success, and people’s expectations might change. Communication is the key.
3. Find someone with different strengths
When looking for a co-founder, try to find someone from a different background and different strengths. This way, you will get more suggestions and different ideas.
In addition, each of you can focus on different parts of the business, maximizing each other’s strengths and creativity.
These different strengths, however, go way beyond just the co-founders. A complementary team is crucial to develop a business, by making sure that different aspects are being considered, joining various people from various backgrounds.
Moreover, in early-stage startups, investors usually invest in the team to later develop the product or service. So, it is important for the team to show its skills and that they have what it takes.
4. Define roles
When founding a business, the amount of tasks that need to be done might be overwhelming. So, it is important to define exactly what each should do, clearly defining tasks, in order to maximize productivity and time.
This is obviously related to our previous point, in a sense that a complementary team will find the right person for each task.
Now, another challenge: where to find them?
Some people find perfect co-founders among their close network. However, if it’s not the case, here are a few places to meet new people and potential co-founders:
- Networking events, where various people from different backgrounds join together to discuss business, investment and passions, while getting to know each other professionally;
- Online platforms that allow co-founder matching. These platforms will give you access to share your interests, tastes and professional background, where later an algorithm will try to give you the best options of a co-founder. Some examples are CoFoundersLab and Shapr.
- Conferences and talks that will allow you to expand your knowledge on some topics, while getting to know new ideas and new people. Maybe, who knows, your co-founder is there!,
and so many others.
Don’t stop yourself from going to events like these, where you can explain your ideas, share your values and expectations, and see if anyone stands out in the process to join you.
Also, if it doesn’t work at the first try, don’t give up! The more you put yourself out there, the more you people you will meet. And these can be potential co-founders but also partners or mentors. Who knows?
After all this, one might think: “great, but how do I make sure we’re the right match if I’ve never worked with them?”.
First of all, try to find little challenges or problems to see how you work together and if you get along, in work and outside of it.
Afterwards, after you find the right match in this sense, try to find a more business-related workshop when you want to move forward with your new brand.
Here’s a good tip: Brand Sprint!
Brand Sprint is a whole concept that involves different exercises to see if, for example, values and long-term visions of your company are aligned with the possible co-founder, and even inside the team. These exercises may include simple ones, like “Top 3 audiences” or more complex ones, for instance “20-year roadmap”.
This will ensure that everyone’s expectations are aligned, and, hopefully, will transform some decision-making processes easier.
You can find more information about Brand Sprint here.
In conclusion, co-founders can and usually are a great option to start a business. So, don’t be afraid to pick a co-founder for developing your new idea, along with you! There are various ways of getting to know them, and to prove whether or not you get along well, not only professionally but also as people.
Always remember that communicating is the most important thing. Getting through tough times is easier with a good partner by your side.
About Build Up Labs
Build Up Labs is a startup studio that ideates, builds, and grows several startups in parallel, based on a lean process. We generate and validate digital product ideas by creating new ventures.
In 2020, we launched our Startup Incubator, supporting early-stage startups growth with mentorship, networking and investment opportunities, and a like-minded community.
Do you want to be a part of a promising growth journey in the digital ecosystem? Join our Incubator today!
If you have any additional questions about Build Up Labs, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Joana Alfaiate & designed by Mariana Campos