The startup ecosystem is progressing and changing into a much more friendly place for non-technical founders. Back in the day, founders had to learn how to code or hire an experienced team to launch their startups successfully. Today, multiple development options for non-technical founders exist but still, hundreds of thousands of ideas remain to be launched as a startup.
Ever wondered how some amazing personalities with no technical background became successful startup founders? Steve Jobs, Brian Chesky, and so many more recognizable names, the answer is technical co-founders!
Steve Jobs was gifted with the ability and passion to sell something that truly changes the world. It was only with Steve Wozniak along his side that Apple Inc. came into being. Where Jobs had some serious marketing and sales skills, Wozniak was the tech guru behind Apple’s initial success.
The next great example in history we see is Airbnb. Founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb finally made it big after Nathan Blecharczyk joined in as a technical co-founder. He not just helped them develop and rebrand Airbnb but also set the company in the right direction for growth. In 2011 this trio was successfully able to grow and scale Airbnb into a unicorn.
Having the right person as a technical co-founder can give the right direction and energy to your startup. Here is why they are so important.
What do technical co-founders do?
A technical co-founder acts as one of the founding members of the startup but brings in some serious technical skills. They are meant to strengthen a company’s value proposition with technology and enable growth.
A technical co-founder is responsible for managing the product development, expanding the tech team, and architecting the product’s tech stack. Having sound experience and technology expertise helps technical co-founders in building the startup’s strategy.
Building a product means creating roadmaps, setting deadlines, and executing plans. A technical co-founder must have great managerial skills alongside business acumen to put the customer first. They must be great problem solvers with the ability to think quickly at their feet and overcome pressure.
Why finding a technical co-founder is difficult?
Engineers are high in demand, and large tech companies hunt for talent continuously. Leaving a high-paying job at a well-known tech company to join a startup as a co-founder is a difficult decision. Unless someone believes in your idea and is convinced that you have a good chance of steering the idea to success, they are unlikely to join you. To successfully pitch your idea to a potential technical co-founder, it is important to share the validity and feasibility of the idea.
Sharing details like the product’s value proposition, funding sources, feature requirements, and growth plans help them make up their mind. You must also share the competitive advantages of your product, the target customer base, and last but not least the responsibility and equity split. All this information will help an individual decide whether they are ready for this partnership.
Where can you find technical co-founders?
Here are some ways to find a technical co-founder:
Networking is great not just for your startup’s marketing but also for finding a technical co-founder. Founders should invest time in building a strong network which can also help them find a technical co-founder. This network not just includes friends, family, and acquaintances but also colleagues and ex-colleagues.
Another great place to find a technical co-founder can be alumni networks. Even if you have non-technical education, you can find experienced developers and people with technical knowledge within your alumni network. It is always healthy to interact with people from your alumni. Consider posting in your alumni groups that you are looking for a co-founder along with details about the idea and what you are looking for in a technical co-founder.
Co-founder Matching Platforms
The startup ecosystem is stronger than ever before. Multiple online platforms have not just made the startup journey easier but have also opened new avenues of collaboration. Startup founders today have access to numerous co-founder matchmaking platforms that help them find the right technical co-founder at ease.
The Startup School by YCombinator does not just teach founders about the fundamentals of building a startup but also helps them connect with technical co-founders during the process. Similarly, CoFoundersLab and FoundersList are the biggest startup communities that help founders find the right technical co-founder. These platforms allow you to build your community and use smart search utilities to find the right technical co-founder. Besides these, FoundersNation and StartHawk are two great online places to find profiles of people actively looking to join startups as technical co-founders. These platforms allow you to explore candidates’ profiles and learn about their experiences before you pitch them.
All these and many more co-founder matchmaking platforms can help you find the perfect technical partner for your startup.
Many people have set up communities for people enthusiastic about building startups so that they have a place to learn about the process and share their progress. These communities are great places to find like-minded and entrepreneurial people.
Platforms such as Slack and Discord have several communities where entrepreneurs and engineers from all around the world share their experiences and try to find solutions collectively. Some top communities for startup founders include The Othership Community, Startup Study Group, Startup Chat, Founders & Creators, Amateurpreneur, and many more. You can sign up and become an active part of such public channels and communities to find yourself a technical co-founder.
Following these, Reddit and Indie Hackers are two other great online forums where you can find experienced entrepreneurs actively interacting over issues. You can actively become part of some valuable discussions on the following redirects on Reddit:
These are public forums that allow you to interact with millions of developers and entrepreneurs from around the globe. You can post about your idea and ask people interested in joining you as a technical co-founder to drop you a message.
Not just this, you can also explore Startups.com to become part of its founder’s community and engage with mentors and people actively looking for startups to join. No matter what online space you choose to join, the goal is to be active in engagement so that people find you as a credible founder.
The world is now coming back to its pace after the pandemic, which means more and more physical events. Whether online or physical, events are a great option for founders to engage with technical experts and have them on board. You can find various startup events hosted by accelerators and incubators within your local communities. To make your search hassle-free, Meetup is a great place to look up upcoming events within your community.
Besides, Tech Expos are a big thing these days. There you cannot just find emerging startups but can also actively meet mentors and experts from the startup ecosystem. Another great place to find technical co-founders is Hackathons and other programming competitions. These competitions can introduce you to multiple developers and programmers with different sets of expertise and experience.
Adding to the list, Techstars Startup Weekend is another great platform where you get to engage with potential partners over a 3-day community event.
Finding a technical co-founder is not about hiring one but finding a long-term partner. However, the process of finding one can be similar to hiring. This means that you can look into job listing platforms to find experienced developers looking for a job. Furthermore, founders can create job listings to attract potential candidates who are actively searching for jobs.
LinkedIn and Angel List come as the two most credible options in this case. Where LinkedIn is for all, Angel List has been created especially for startups to build their teams right. Angel List allows founders to connect with over 8 million candidates who might be open to joining a startup. Among them, you might find the technical co-founder your startup needs.
Finding a technical co-founder is hard and time taking. Experienced engineers and CTOs often need to work extra hours or quit their jobs to work with startups as technical co-founders. Your startup needs an experienced individual for this job, hence, you need to be ready to offer them an attractive reward package. Finding someone who shares your vision, matches your working style, and is capable enough to become a technical co-founder is only the first step of the process. The second step is to reach compensation terms that work for both of you.
According to Glassdoor, a technical co-founder on average draws an annual income of $102,055! Not every startup can afford to pay a big salary to a technical co-founder, and therefore, they are often offered a significant amount of equity, especially if a startup is in its early stages. In most cases getting a technical co-founder means giving up 25-40% of your equity. You can use the co-founder equity calculator to make an educated estimate.
To cut down the hassle of finding a technical co-founder and avoid giving up a major chunk of your equity, you can hire a startup studio. Startup studios like Venturenox build your product with a specialized foolproof process and later scale it without costing you an arm and leg.
Working with a startup studio means giving yourself more room to focus on the non-technical aspects of your startup such as marketing, sales, and success. Studios continuously demonstrate a much higher percentage of startup success than average. Once you have your product in hands of the users, your odds of attracting investors and co-founders also increase greatly.
Venturenox is loaded with expertise in product engineering, product management, and user experience design that can deliver a great product to your users. We routinely act as the product team for our partners and eliminate the need to find a technical co-founder in the early stages of their startup journey.