It all starts with some simple questions:

Often times, an entrepreneur might have a great idea, but doesn’t know how to build a product. Or, the entrepreneur is fully equipped with technology skills, but is lacking the fundamental business skills. In any case, this is where the hunt for a co founder begins. The only problem: It’s not that easy.Hopefully this post will help.

Step 1: Define the What?

Before you spend days and months talking to interesting people at startup events and Meetup groups, you have to make sure you are perfectly clear on what skillsets you are searching for. Let’s put it this way: Finding the perfect startup co founder is pretty much like dating. You don’t really want to date everyone, because you pretty much have a clear picture how your significant other should look like or what special character traits she/he should have. The same principles apply in the startup world while searching for a co founder:

Define clear skillsets, which your desired co-founder should have.

What skillset am I lacking, but a co founder needs to have?
Which skillset do I need for my startup?

Step 2: Describe the Who?

Once you identified the role and the skillset, now its time to find the right type of person. The majority of investors think that having the team is the most important factor in attracting venture capital funding. Which makes this step the most important.
At this stage, you want to find someone that understands your idea and shares the same passion for it. You definitely don’t want a co-founder that does not understand your idea or even worst, is hold you back from working on your dream. Furthermore, you do want to keep things like the candidate’s past-startup experience, industry expertise, credibility and passion/energy in consideration.

Who is the right fit?
What kind of person fits to my working attitudes?

Step: 3 Where?

Great! You know for WHAT to search and you just clarified the WHO. Now you just need to know WHERE to find them.
You have three possibilities here:

(1) Personal Network
Start with your own personal network (1st degree connections) and ask yourself: Whom do I know that can get the job done? Finding someone from your personal network makes it easier to reach out to the person and will avoid awkward moments talking to strangers. To come back to dating: It’s easier to ask a friend out for a date; than an absolute stranger you don’t know.
If you couldn’t find anyone in your own personal network (1st degree connections), try to find the same type of people in your 2nd degree connections. Perhaps, there is someone who is willing to make an introduction for you, and is willing to vouch for you and your idea.

(2) Startup Events/ Co-Working spaces
If your personal network couldn’t help, you have no choice but to find (date) a stranger. The main goal at this stage is to get out and make friends with new likeminded people.
Where do I find these people?

Local Startup events (Startup Weekend, Pitch events)
Startup/Tech Meetup Groups (Start here)
Co-Working spaces (WeWorkProject: RHINOStartplatz)
University Campus

(3) Online (entrepreneur) dating

If you’re into online dating, there are even websites and events specifically designed around matchmaking co founders for startups:

Don’t forget: When your searching for a co-founder you always want to be honest and open about your idea and your plans. Ideas are worthless! You don’t need to sign any NDA’s! So share your idea with potential co-founders and ensure they understand it. Make sure your potential co-founder buys into the idea and the team and sees a clear value and payoff for his time and energy he is willing to put into the startup.


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