Growing a startup is all about taking massive action that turns your ideas into marketable products. However, sometimes startup founders couldn’t act as they wish because they are not technically inclined.
You could have a vision of a stunning app that disrupts an existing marketplace, but it wouldn’t mean anything if you don’t know which app stack is needed or how to lead a team of IT experts.
It’s an unpleasant truth, but often, it takes two to tango for a tech startup. There’s only so much a non-technical founder could do alone. If you identify yourself as one, you may want to find a technical co-founder to put your plans into action.
What Is A Tech Co-Founder?
Steve Jobs was the marketing wizard of Apple, but it was the other co-founder, Steve Wozniak, who built the first Apple computer. Without the latter, Apple may not be the computing giant it is today.
A tech co-founder is the business partner who takes on everything technical and puts together the product from scratch. He/she is likely to be IT-trained, a coding wizard, or someone who understands tech jargon that often confused non-tech laypeople.
In short, a tech co-founder is the Steve Wozniak of your startup. He/she brings technical skills to the table to complement your marketing brilliance and other business repertoires. The tech co-founder is pivotal in turning your idea into a marketable digital product.
Reasons for hiring tech co-founder
It’s tempting to play with the idea that you could, perhaps, be successful by hiring a team of IT freelancers. After all, freelancers do not require long-term commitment, nor do you have to take in an equal partner.
Such thinking can be detrimental to your startup and could invite more troubles than progress. The freelancers aren’t at fault as most of them are experienced and technically adept. The problem occurs when you’re unable to provide precise specifications on what needs to be done.
You’ll end up wasting tremendous resources and time with nothing to show. Sadly, it’s the fate of many startup owners who refuse to work with a tech co-founder.
The reality is, you’ll need to hire a tech co-founder if you find yourself in these situations.
You Lack Technical Expertise
If terms like Node.js, Agile and ReactNative sound alien to you, you strongly need to get a tech co-founder. Building an app requires a clear understanding of the tech stack involved and working methodologies to enable a team to work efficiently.
Technical expertise goes beyond writing codes and creating documentations. It also involves conducting usability tests and surveys, which are an essential part of app development.
A co-founder with strong technical skills makes a whole world of difference in your team. He/she plays the leading role for your team of developers and ensures that they work in sync towards the same goals.
You Need To Validate Your Ideas
Some of your ideas may be appealing, but there may be obstacles in implementation. Without the know-how of app development, you’ll want a partner to bounce your ideas and get feedback from. A tech co-founder is an ideal person.
With a tech co-founder in your team, you’ll find out quickly if an idea is worth pursuing or if it’s technically impossible to implement. In addition, you’ll have a better idea of the cost, timeline, and how competitors are taking similar ideas to the market.
You Need A Long Term Partner
Even if you could successfully launch an app with a patched-up team of freelance developers, there’s still a need to support the product for the long term. Eventually, the startup needs to grow. If you’re still juggling tasks that are clearly not your expertise, you’ll be the bottleneck blocking progress.
Working with a tech co-founder changes that. You can entrust technical responsibilities to him/her and focus on areas that are your forte. You will be assured that tasks like app support, troubleshooting, IT recruitment, and feature releases are in the safe hand of someone reliable.
You Want To Attract Investors
If you’re planning to fundraise, you’ll want to assure investors that you have a solid team working on the product. Wearing the CTO hat even when you’re not cut for it sends the wrong signal to investors.
Having a technical co-founder in your team instills confidence and increases your startup’s chances of being funded. It gives the impression that you have a solid team to bring the product to the market.
Where To Find A Tech Co-Founder?
Now that we’re on the same page that you need a co-founder, the next question is where to find one. If you’re clueless about where to start, check out this list.
Sometimes, the perfect tech co-founder is right in the midst of your circle of friends or family. Talk to your acquaintances about your intention to find a co-founder who happens to be also a technical wizard. As words travel, you may meet the ideal candidate.
If it doesn’t, don’t hit the panic button yet. It just means you need to expand your network, which is part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Start visiting business events and forums to widen the circle of your professional network. Reach out to those who have the potential to be great partners.
Besides physical networking, there are various avenues to do so digitally. If you’re already on LinkedIn, take advantage and reach out to professionals with an IT background. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are also good places to hang out and connect with the right people.
The key to networking is to bring out the social animal in you. Be friendly, courteous, and always willing to help. You’ll want to come across as someone driven and pleasant to work with. It’s one of the steps for building trust with potential tech co-founders you meet the first time.
2. Professional Conferences and Hackathon
There’s no better venue to meet great tech co-founders than events organized explicitly for IT professionals.
Hackathon is a noteworthy event that’s ideal for scouting for a co-founding partner. You get to witness how programmers and other IT experts collaborate to build functional software throughout the event. It’s real-time action that brings out the best in technical experts.
It’s also a good idea to visit conferences and events such as CES, SaaStr Annual, Startup Fest, and RISE. These events tend to attract IT professionals and startup founders from all over the world. Be ready to pitch your ideas to like-minded people, and you may just land your startup a new tech co-founder.
IT events are not strictly confined to seasonal professionals. Sometimes, paying a visit to university and college events can be a fruitful outing. Remember that Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook when he was in Harvard. Similarly, you could pair up with the next tech wizard.
3. Web Resources
The internet has made finding a co-founder easier. Sites like CoFoundersLab, Founders Nation, and Angel.co have brought together like-minded entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate. It’s quite easy to start searching for a co-founder on these startup platforms.
You’ll need to sign up for an account, fill in your profile and start connecting with fellow members. Reach out to them if you’re impressed by their profile and take the conversation to a deeper level. Share your vision, goals, and intention to collaborate with a tech partner on a long-term basis.
These platforms usually have a filter, which simplifies your search. Platforms like Angel.co also let you post a co-founder vacancy on its advertorial board. To post a vacancy, briefly describe who you are and what the startup is all about. Then, list down the criteria of the ideal co-founder that you’re searching for.
Besides these startup-focused platforms, you can also try headhunting on the front page of the internet, Reddit. Reddit has some interesting subreddit, such as r/Co-Founders, r/Startup, and r/Technology. These subreddits are the home to tens of thousands of members, with some potentially fitting the shoe of your tech co-founder.
4. Incubators and Accelerators
Sometimes, it’s worth turning to incubators and accelerators like Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups for a tech co-founder. Incubators not only mentor new startup founders in growing their venture but are also known for their vast network. If you are inexperienced in tech development, you’ll get connected with someone who does.
The hurdle is getting into an incubator program that suits your startup. Expect tough competition as many other founders are vying for a spot. You’ll need to make ample preparation before submitting an application. Get your pitch deck ready and make a convincing statement of why your startup is worthy of a spot.
Working with a tech co-founder is crucial for startup success. It’s even more so if you are good in various areas except IT. Never attempt to take the entrepreneurial path alone because it’s impossible to turn yourself into a coding wizard in days.
It takes some effort before you find the ideal co-founding partner. However, follow the recommendations above, and your odds of finding one get better.