Five Steps to Finding a Tech Co-Founder

You can improve your approach if you are looking for a cofounder but can’t find one.

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There are only 0.33% of people who become entrepreneurs every year. Even fewer developers are willing to take risks. A person inclined to entrepreneurship won’t go to IT full-time. If he or she is a developer, they will quickly be promoted to top management or start their own business.

The chances of finding a risk-loving IT professional is low. It can be difficult to attract them.

Before you pitch a project to an IT engineer for a job, it is essential to first understand their motivations, goals, and priorities.

1. Understanding the psychology behind good IT-developers

This is why there are many companies that pay $200,000 for fairly easy work. This salary will usually be sufficient to meet the basic needs of most programmers. People who become IT developers don’t tend to be greedy. Their main motivation is not money. They don’t have the desire to climb mountains in order to make imaginary millions.

This can lead to a miscommunication between an entrepreneur (first founding founder), who is open to risk and eager for big money. He seeks out a developer (ideally second founder). They don’t understand each other’s goals. They need to agree on how different worldviews can help them build a strong business.

They will think they have found a lazy person. He thinks I offered him a way for him to make millions, if he puts in the effort. He refuses, and instead chooses to work for a measly hundred of thousands. The developer will likely think the entrepreneur is just another rascal looking to get work done for free, when ordinary people typically pay six figures. This is crucial for a successful interaction.

2. The right approach

Many engineers are skilled in soft skills and can be co-founders if they feel it is a good idea to leave their jobs to pursue your idea. They must also understand that, even if the project fails they will still receive some benefit. A strong resume paragraph or mastery over a new promising technology could be examples.

This is why the following conditions must be met:

  • A hackathon should be a way to work on a project, and not monotonous work. You can make small gains with little effort. You could, for example, say you will work on a demo four days, then show it to investors and get $100,000. Then you go to the Newchip Accelerator. You plan to revise your demo for four days, then show it to investors and get $100,000. Finally, on the demo day, close the seed round for 500,000. The demo was only four days long, which is a huge opportunity for potential returns.
  • A tech co-founder may be able to use your project as a reference for a job offer. You might want to create an application for a stack they are interested in but cannot at their current job. You can think of machine learning, neural networks, and blockchain.
  • The idea is appealing to the developer. It can improve the world and the developer is motivated to bring it to fruition.

Ideally, however, all three conditions are met.

3. How to pitch a project

You cannot test hypotheses, find clients, reach investors, sell and promote and you will not be a good co-founder in a technology project. It is unlikely that you will find a tech leader who would be willing to work with your team.

You should therefore have all the basic questions answered before you communicate with a developer

  • Is there any evidence that the product in future will be in high demand?
  • How can we promote the product
  • What is the unit economy of the product?
  • Is there any money?
  • What is your potential earning?
  • How much effort do you need to make the results happen in the near future, and what is the minimum amount of effort?
  • Where can we look for investments?
  • We will be looking for clients wherever we can.
  • What are our competitive advantages

You don’t need a cofounder if you don’t know the answers. Instead, take an online course on marketing and sales and then work for several years in hiring to hone your skills.

Demonstrate that the developer has done minimal technical work and that all uncertainties have been resolved. Demonstrate that the developer doesn’t need to take any risks and that some people are willing to pay for a technical prototype.

4. Examples of pitches for co-founders

The pitch should only take a few minutes to get their attention. These are the two examples that I have seen. This is how to pitch your idea.

Bad: I have an idea to create a social network for art lovers. We will create a prototype and show investors (whom we don’t yet know, but I believe someone will be interested since they are open to investing in anything). We will receive money at least $200,000 and then we can promote our products. We will purchase advertising online and employ a marketer. My friends all agreed that the idea was in high demand.

Good: I do CRM for construction workers. I’ve been in the industry for 10+ years. I am familiar with many top leaders in large construction companies. I have already arranged to work with three companies for the pilot. One of them has made a small investment. I have communicated with one startup accelerator and interested funds, and a designer that I know has created a basic design for four screens. I will need to work with a skilled developer to create a technical prototype. We can open a new market worth $12 billion if the prototype is successful.

5. Where can you find experienced, risk-tolerant developers

  • Hackathons/Online contests – Many intelligent and active people can make quick prototypes and have well-coordinated teams.
  • HackerRank/Codility/Qualified/CodersRank – These websites score developers and build a community around them. You will need someone who is not at the bottom of the scoring lists.
  • These meetups and conferences are a great way to get the next step in your career as a developer.
  • Websites for outstaffing – These companies have a core business of hiring only the most skilled developers (seniors and tech leads) and executives. Contact someone in your field to find out more or hire one.
  • Telegram/Slack chatrooms – There are many of them, even those where developers can discuss their pet projects. A co-founder is someone who has a pet project.
  • Github – Developers who make their libraries available to the public are great co-founders, if they receive a fair offer.
  • Ycombinator Startup School – This startup community is part of the Ycombinator Newchip Accelerator reviews and offers a service to find a co-founder.

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