How I Found A Developer Partner For My Startup
My journey to finding my technical other half.
I have never been able to get into programming, so when I had an idea for an app — I knew I would need to find a partner who was a developer.
Being relatively new to the startup world, I had yet to establish the connections necessary to have partners and employees lined up when I needed them.
For this reason, when I started looking for a partner, I had no clue where to start.
Hopefully by me telling you a little bit about my journey, you will be able to find a partner as well!
Who Needs A Partner When There’s Kickstarter
I kicked around the idea for a while, contemplating whether I could raise enough funds on Kickstarter to just hire a developer.
I mapped out a campaign, projected the numbers, and consulted with some people who are considered to be ‘experts’ at running Kickstarter campaigns.
To be able to deliver on the rewards I was offering I wanted to raise $100,000. The experts I consulted with informed me on average, campaigns that raised $100,000 (aka the top 1% of Kickstarter) spent around $10,000 and began preparing at least six months in advance.
This amount was just an average. Of course, you have people who spend nothing on their campaign and people who spend more. Either way, I decided this route wasn’t for me.
We concluded while Kickstarter may be perfect for launching a tangible product, doing it for a messaging app just wouldn’t be practical.
Not to mention, if you just hire a developer they will never have they same passion as if they were a co-founder.
Someone Has To Know Someone
After ruling Kickstarter out, I decided I needed a partner.
I began my partner search by pitching my idea to everyone I knew. Then, I would ask them if they knew someone who may be interested.
With such a limited network, I was striking out.
Having just half a year under my belt at a startup, I didn’t have the roots to be able to find the right people to talk to.
Tinder For Partners
I thought about this for a second, Googled it, then slapped myself in the face and came back to reality.
Coworking Spaces Connect People
After exhausting my options of reaching out to people, I decided to go to my local Coworking space late one Friday evening (Radius Cowork). My goal was to pitch my friend Sean to see if he knew anyone who would be interested.
Sean and I spent about an hour mapping out the entire idea on a whiteboard and throwing ideas back and forth. I could tell he was genuinely intrigued by the idea.
After the brainstorming session was all said and done, he took a step back, stared at the piece of art we had drawn on his whiteboard, took a deep breath, and said, “I know the guy who would be perfect for this.”
He went on to tell me more about the guy he had in mind, and why it would be such a perfect fit. Additionally, he told me if I wanted the partnership to come to fruition — I would need to show him I was serious.
Sean set up a meeting for myself and my potential partner for later the next week. It was time to prepare.
What To Pitch A Partner
I fully realize how developers probably feel when someone tells them they have an idea for an app.
They probably think, “Oh boy, here we go again. The best idea ever. Hopefully, this one is better than the ‘punch my phone to see how strong I am’ idea.”
I know this because I took a semester of Web Development in college before switching to Digital Marketing Technology, yet I still have people pitch me ideas to build an app all the time. I have no idea how to make an app, which is why I need a partner.
For this reason, I knew I had to be prepared.
Not only did I know I had to be ready, but I wanted to be. I was so excited about my idea; I knew the most productive thing I could do was prepare.
Here are the things I wanted to have prepared:
A business plan — I wanted to have everything laid out in its entirety. I scraped together a 10-page business plan complete with timelines, projections, and more. All I did was Google what should be on a business plan for the bones, and fleshed it out from there.
A working conceptual prototype — I didn’t want to go to the meeting with just an idea. I wanted something to show my potential partner, so they could visualize it. If I told them about my plan, how they envisioned it could differ from what I meant. Using InVision and Fiverr, I was able to hack together a working conceptual prototype for $50 in less than a week!
Equity breakdown and business structure — I wanted to above all else be transparent about what I was offering and where it could go. I made sure to go into detail about what I thought we would need to be operational, as well as the plans to raise capital. By breaking everything down, I showed I was serious and had a plan.
Access to everything — I wanted to make sure when we parted ways, they had a copy or access to everything we discussed. I wanted them to feel like a partner right from the get go.
Time to think about it — I planned on telling them to take a week, think about what I was offering, and then we could meet again to finalize our decision.
When we met for the first time, I could tell they were more than just interested. We spent over an hour during lunch throwing ideas back and forth.
We went over all the materials I had prepared, and everything flowed perfectly. They were knowledgeable, passionate, and above all else excited.
They could tell I was serious, and I could tell they were too.
I made sure to give them access to everything we discussed, so they could go into more detail on what we talked about. Then we parted ways agreeing to meet in a week.
A week later, we met up again to grab some coffee. We ended up talking for over 2 hours, bouncing ideas back and forth.
Along with what I had come up with, they had a lot of great ideas they had to add that I never even thought of.
The stars seemed to be aligning as we were getting to the end of our meeting. We were both beginning to talk about all the incredible things the future held for us.
To end the conversations he said, “Alright, I’m in.”
Just like that, we were partners.
If you want to find a partner, you need to be serious.
To be serious, you need to be prepared.
“Your idea should be something that excites you, and if it does; then it shouldn’t be hard to be passionate about it.”
- Peter Schroeder
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