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?
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.
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.
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.
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.