How to recruit a Co-founder: Do’s & Don’ts

The toughest part of starting any venture is getting the right person to believe in what you are doing.

Lucas J. Pols
4 min readJan 28, 2018

As for the rest of the recruiting articles? See The Guide

Staying disciplined through the first stage is critical to the success of your venture. Finding someone to join your venture isn’t hard, but finding the right person is extremely difficult.

What Not To Do When Recruiting

When you’re recruiting the first person, you’re selling an idea. You’re selling an idea that will change the world, make money, disrupt an industry, or all of the above. The challenge is — so is everyone else. If you’re a business student looking for a technical partner, you better have something to offer. During my research and customer discovery, I was fortunate to get “inside access” to how engineers view business students. It isn’t pretty and with good reason. They have Facebook groups called “I Can Handle The Business Side” where they post the most outrageous messages that they get from business students. Here are a few examples:

This is utter nonsense for anyone trying to recruit.

The four mistakes shown here are:

• Asking someone to sign an NDA regarding your business idea is a rookie move

• Not knowing who you are trying to recruit

• Sending messages with buzz words or trendy ideas

• Not having a clear direction for the company

1. Here is the article about why it is necessary to share your idea, we do not need to get into it again as No one is trying to steal your idea

2. You need to understand who you are trying to recruit. Saying I just need a technical partner or some business student or a communications major doesn’t work. If you ask an engineer to join your venture and you need a website built, but they specialize in chemical engineering or data science, you will look foolish and bring on a partner that has no value to you.

3. A one-sentence pitch with a few buzz words (block-chain, AI, VR, machine learning, or ICO) is not going to convince someone that you have any understanding of what you are talking about or get them excited about getting involved in your venture.

4. By the time you start recruiting a co-founder, you should have put in a few months of work already. Your goal is to sell someone on the idea that the equity you are providing is worth their time and sacrifice. Why would anyone want to join onto something that is just an idea? If you have not done customer discovery and gotten confirmation that your plan can work with proper execution, you are going to have a tough time selling someone on joining you.

Finding A Co-Founder

Your co-founder is most likely going to come from your immediate network. They’ll likely not be a first connection, but a second (friend of a friend), or third (friend of a friend that knows another friend.)

The first challenge here is that our networks have gotten so large (and social media’s algorithms so terrible) that we have almost no chance of reaching all of the people we know. The second is that what we are left with is sending a message or a quick post that gives you almost no chance of actually recruiting someone, as there is no way to sell someone on your idea this way.

As well intentioned as this is (and significantly better than what you traditionally see), I’m given no information about the problem your venture is solving, I don’t know what your solution is, and I don’t know where in the process you are. How can I get excited about joining a venture for equity when I know so little about it?

We designed Spark xyz to help alleviate this dilemma. Currently, founders have no way to get their message across efficiently. We provided a clean and easy way to convey your message and draw people into joining what you are creating.

After you have something to pitch, link your venture and start asking for help from your network. Start sending individual personalized messages to people you know that work in the industry from which you are recruiting. You should tap into every available resource that you have, and do not be too worried about backlash, as people usually want to help out when they can.

Lucas is the founder of Spark xyz, platform management software for incubators, accelerators, Angel groups, and VC’s.

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Lucas J. Pols

Chairman of the Board @ Spark xyz | President Tech Coast Angels