How to Find a Co-founder

It’s Easier Than You Think

Like most relationships in life, finding a co-founder requires compromise.

Queue the angry mob of Silicon Valley bros bearing torches and bibles (i.e. Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs). They’ll scream:

“Do you think visionaries like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk transcended societal norms and became so successful because of compromise?!”

In case they haven’t been reminded enough, these two specific entrepreneurs aren’t the rule — they’re the exception. For the rest of us mere mortals who can’t forcibly bend others to our will, we need to keep the motivations of others in mind.

Let me share the honeymoon phase of my business partnership to illustrate my point.

When I first met my current co-founder, we were in similar places in our work lives. As a designer, I had made the decision to trade in freelance clients for the chance to scratch my own itch: creating Collide, an app that connects people with shared ideas and complementary skills. My co-founder, on the other hand, had a background in software development, was tired of disappointing startup experiences, and was also going all-in on his own idea: an application called Castle that generates code for web and mobile apps.

We first met at our local coworking center after I asked him for feedback on my app. Once we took a deep-dive into the necessary technical considerations, we shifted focus to the user experience of his app. What followed were a series of informal work sessions that became a solid foundation for a partnership.

After months of collaborating, my co-founder brought our first client project to the table. He had met a financial advisor at a networking event who wanted to build an app that made managing finances and investments easier. We realized this would be a great low commitment, first stab at officially working together.

Fast forward a few months and we had our first functioning app prototype built with Castle. After debriefing from the project, we realized this could be a viable business model moving forward. Little did we know we would take this literally and name our partnership Viabl.

After officially launching on the first of the year, we formed an LLC, setup a bank account, and closed our first official deal as Viabl. Needless to say, things are happening faster than we anticipated.

We have compromise to thank for this.

There were plenty of chances were either one of us could’ve been stubborn enough to stick to our own projects. In fact, there are plenty of people out there who take this approach, only to realize their mistake once it’s too late.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re both still extremely passionate about turning our own ideas into a reality. We’ve just decided to work smarter together instead of harder apart by sharing our ideas with each other. Accessibility is a core value for both of us, which is why it makes sense to work together.

It’s amazing the things you can accomplish once you take ego out of the equation. If you ask me, the world would be a better place if we stopped creating new dots and started connecting the ones that already exist.

When looking for a co-founder, you have to be willing to compromise the final product, not your values and principles.

Can’t find a co-founder for your app or startup? Let us know what we can do to help! Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @beviabl.

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