Most startups know that one of the most important success factors for startups is having a kick-ass team. But what do you do if you’ve got an idea but haven’t found a startup co-founder yet?
You could go it alone, but realistically it’s unlikely that you’ll have all the skills necessary to give your startup the best chances of success. Most accelerators and investors (including our own Oxygen Accelerator) only accept multiple founder teams.
There’s lots of factors involved in finding a co-founder. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some!) it can be a lot like dating – if you try too hard, you can end up looking a bit desperate. Sometimes the best relationships come from people who you’ve known for years, so make the most of your personal networks and don’t be afraid to ask friends for recommendations.
If you’re not so lucky to find love, sorry, we mean a co-founder, by chance, here’s other things you can try:
1. Go to an Oxygen Launch48 weekend. You’ll create a business with a group of random people in 48 hours. That’s a great amount of time to get a sense for what someone is really like, and the intensity of the weekend means you’ll get a good feel for whether you might be able to work with them on a full-time startup. Yes of course we’re a bit biased, but we’re proud to say that the teams behind startups such as Buffer, VouChaCha, Whisk and many more have started as a result of Oxygen’s Launch48 weekends.
2. Local startup events. There are tonnes of startup events that happen in major cities all over the world. Sign up to Startup Digest to hear about lots of them. You can also find co-working spaces and startup incubators in your local area and sign up to their newsletters and social feeds to stay up to date.
3. Meetup.com. A meetup is a regular gathering of like-minded people, and usually startup communities have at least one meetup if not many in their areas. You can post a message on meetup group boards before the event to let people know you’re looking for a co-founder.
4. Attend a tech/web conference and network. Showing up is not enough. You have to network – or as we prefer to think about it – have conversations about stuff you give a sh!t about with people you like. A non exhaustive list – TechCrunch Disrupt, LeWeb, Geek n Rolla, How to Web.
5. Social Media. Twitter is a good tool for this. Follow other people in the tech community and you will be surprised how many people tweet looking for co-founders. There are also Facebook groups in various communities. We’d recommend posting a personal message on these, rather than something that sounds like a generic job description.
6. Co-founder dating events and websites. There are lots of events and websites now tailored specifically to the concept of finding a co-founder. Here are just a few:
- Founder2be – A free to use service
- Work in startups- This has a specific board for finding co-founders
- Cofounders Lab – Free (for basic use) to use and allows you to filter according to compatibility
- Build it with me – free and easy to use, specifically for designers & developers
Good luck in your search for a startup co-founder!