Finding cofounders

Cofounder Dilemma

Mehmet Sen

January 18th, 2017

Many angel investors and incubators suggest to partner people who you know rather than finding somebody in the events. They claim that you can't just marry people randomly, having a cofounder partnership is like marriage and the partners need to know each other.

However at the same time, finding a cofounder is a pain in the ass you don't have much options left. I have been trying to find the right cofounder but it's really really hard!

So I didn't wait and built my product but admit that I still need a cofounder for marketing needs. Even though I find one, it will be a disadvantage when they ask how we met.

What would you say about the known vs unknown partnership, which one would you prefer?

Joanna Weber Joined the corporate masses (account no longer active)

January 12th, 2018

If you find someone you'd like to work with, do a small project together to see how you work together, and if you enjoy that experience, find other ways to collaborate. Don't leap into something it would be hard to extract yourself from, and whatever the social norms, remember that the statistics are on your side - solo founders fare almost as well as two-founder companies, and better than three-founder companies - so it's not the end of the world.

Sam McAfee Building better technology leaders and teams

January 18th, 2017

First, it's possible to begin working tog before you sign anything formal. Find small ways to work together first.

Second, you can check someone's references easily enough, right?

Third, you want to find the right person rather than the right role. Be open to someone who wants to solve the same problem even if they don't have exactly the right set of skills.

Ian Morrison

January 19th, 2017

I dont agree with this conservative approach. Let us continue the dating metaphor and assume that the purpose of dating is to find the best mate, the truest deepest love of your life and the healthy continuation of the species. Then the equivalent objective in finding a co-founder must be to find someone you can work with, whose unique skills you appreciate and can commit to developing a best of breed businesses which will thrive in the competitive ecosystems of industry. As an older chap, in my youth I met my girlfriends and now my wife the old fashioned way - at parties, through friends or at work. When I share this to my younger colleagues, they express sympathy for me. Why? Clearly the dating pool provided by such was too shallow in their eyes. Online dating literally opens up a world of opportunity to find interesting partners, love outside of the box and the chance to raise ever more cosmopolitan children with the background to succeed in an ever more global world. For business success, should you be satisfied with someone from around the corner you've known for a long time, or rather take time to work the market, learn new perspectives and bring complementary skills to bear that perhaps you didn't even know exist? Do you want your horizons to be limited by who and what you know or be challenged in the nature of your idea, scope of ambition or quality of execution by a new and exotic love of your business life​? Here's my dating profile -

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

January 20th, 2017

I have had many conversations with VCs about the phenomena of "Co-Founder". 100% of them that i have spoken with (about a dozen) smirk and think it is 'cute'. If they do not see the co-founder is a real co-founder, then they regard this as misdirection and a huge negative. A co-founder to them is a real co-founder, not someone you met a couple of times or talked to from a lead to be co-founder (such as this forum). They want a person with shared vision, mission, and ambition. They want a person that builds the company and the product to solve the same problem you see. They want a person that can lead the company if you get hit by a bus. They want a person that has significant and meaningful ownership (whether vested or not) that is not going to bail out when the going gets tough. They want strength in the founder(s) seats and commitment. They want you all to be working too many hours, getting too little rest, and eating too much pizza. Anything less is just an employee.

Jana Nevrlka Cofounding Strategist

January 10th, 2018

Dear Mehmet - i agree that finding a right cofounder is not an easy task! however - it is not so important whether you know that person before or not. Often, friends or family members do not make great cofounders as people often overestimate how well they know each other. I believe that what matters is get to know your future cofounder - from the due diligence to having the conversations you need - before starting to work together. I have seen and worked with many successful cofounding teams that met during events. More information on what to do before you 'marry' aka start working with new business partners is in my book on Cofounding The Right Way - practical guide to successful business partnerships.


August 15th, 2017