Finding cofounders

Finding Co-Founders in a Sea of Founders?

Jon Thorp Founder & CEO @NaxioInc, crypto enthusiast, visionary and thinker.

March 16th, 2019

There seems to be a good amount of interesting and valuable information scattered throughout this site, but I'm curious if anyone has actually had any success finding co-founders? Searching through the network section reveals numerous highly qualified individuals, but they are all in the same boat as me: a founder in search of a co-founder.

Am I missing something? Do I need to take what I learn here and apply it elsewhere?

Kasia Whiteis Director of Operations, CoFoundersLab

March 18th, 2019

@Jon: I do get this question from our members, and this is what I usually tell them:

Most founders come to the table with an idea of their own, and in most cases it's because they want to solve some kind of a problem. Rarely do people just wake up one day and decide to become founders without having an idea of their own. It might be that their idea is so unique that nobody else ever has come up with it, but it's more likely that somebody else has encountered the same problem and also has an idea how to solve it.

So instead of creating silos, our goal is to connect entrepreneurs solving similar problems. In our experience, many entrepreneurs, even though they have their own ideas, after talking to another entrepreneur working on a similar project are willing to join forces and collaborate on building a business together.

So, don’t let a good cofounder candidate pass you by because they have their own idea. Definitely, take the leap and engage. Who knows where the conversation will go? Joining ventures can mean 1+1=3 where each of you brings very different perspectives to the partnership, and the sum of your parts is more powerful than its individual parts.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

Last updated on March 17th, 2019

Hi Jon,

You're mostly correct. The initiative to join CFL is usually from the perspective of the founder looking for a partner, not a partner looking for a leader. That's generally the case throughout the entrepreneurial world, so not expectedly much different here. My recollection is that it was a little bit more straightforward when the site FounderDating stood separately, before it was acquired by CFL. It helped identify the willingness of members to go along with someone else's idea a bit more distinctly than here at CFL.

But CFL isn't FounderDating. It's a LAB, meaning a place to vet ideas, share working knowledge, and learn how to improve your enterprise overall. It's much less about matching talents. While that function does exist in some casual format in the NETWORKING area, it's not structured, as might be helpful to you, in matching type x people with type y people. That's a different mission.

CFL is built to carry you from "I have an idea" to the stage when you're ringing the bell on the NASDAQ, to quote Alejandro Cremades, the person who came up with CoFoundersLab. It's intended as a skills building resource, and not as a matchmaking service.

In that sense, you have a heavier lift in the networking section to find member who might be interested in working on someone else's enterprise and not their own. Add to the complexity that many (free) members join to answer ONE question and then don't return, and you have a communication gap with a large portion of the membership who are inactive.

I don't have a great suggestion for you here other than to make you aware of the environment so you can compensate. I can't say there's a better environment to use to find a match. Pretty much the legacy options mostly got acquired by CFL, so if they were anywhere, they're here now.

Lastly you have to recognize that CFL membership is global. And a large portion of the membership are spread out in the least developed parts of the world. This can make finding someone in your home country who is actively engaged and in the right field, a bit more difficult to identify. What might be useful is if there was a "last active" data point for members, in addition to checkboxes for "looking to work on someone else's project" or "looking for someone to work on my project."

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

March 18th, 2019

I really LOVE the answer @Kasia posted. The 1+1=3 is a great example of how using your own knowledge of a subject you care about, being able to recognize a similar spark in someone else, and seeing an opportunity to build something even greater is very possible.

In my own long-ago history, I wanted to open a nightclub. The point wasn't the nightclub itself. It was to demonstrate how hospitality and entertainment should really be done. I wasn't satisfied with the options I had, and knew I could build something best-in-class. Around the same time a friend of mine had a similar motivation, but his enterprise wanted to be a restaurant. We talked often about our motivations and aspirations, and came to an agreement that whichever of us came up with the money to launch our plan first, the other would join them to make it the best possible.

In this case, he raised the money for his restaurant first. After I joined his company several months after opening, I was able to bring many intangible assets that dramatically improved the financial success of the business. I managed the workforce so our turnover rate fell to 1/3 the industry standard. I broke through red-tape that got the first new (not transferred) liquor license in the city issued in 20 years. And I put together the plan that allowed us to add catering functions to the restaurant. In the first year I was there, revenue climbed 2.5x over what it had been before I added my own touches.

The restaurant wasn't something I particularly wanted to do forever, but we got it in a shape that he was able to be profitable in far shorter a timeframe, and with a positive reputation that attracted buyers for the restaurant itself. We ended up working together again at some other multi-billion-dollar company a couple years later.

That's an example of two entrepreneurs with their own ideas collaborating to make one work much better. But you have to make the effort to get to know who is out there and what they're interested in working on, motivated by, and what skills gaps they're needing to fill, in order to make a match.

I've also given similar advice to a couple people looking to launch small charities but having a struggle getting or maintaining funding. It's nice to have your own ideas, but if it's the mission you care about, sometimes it's more effective to go help an established organization succeed than to create a second organization where both struggle to stay afloat.

Daniel Canelea Senior Solutions Architect at TD Wealth

March 19th, 2019

I think this is one of the downsides of CFL . I am interested in exciting ideas and building a successful business around it . I don't necessarily have my own ideas that are ready for the market . I was forever wondering , with some many people asking how to find technical co-founders , how come nobody is actually contacting me ? Maybe it's a feature of "Premium" membership , but as someone on the bench as in "not actively working on my own ideas" , I don't see how I would benefit from it .

Jens Straten Entrepreneur with German Ingenuity

March 26th, 2019

I think you are mostly correct. Obviously, people who come here are normally already founders. However, some of us are always open to new (or additional) ventures and so you can find a suitable co-founder as well.

I also believe CFL helps us with understanding what we are looking for in a co-founder. I mean many founders blind-side themselves with adding co-founders that align with their ideas. But what do they really get out of these co-founders? Wouldn't it better to have a co-founder with different ideas? I believe @Kasia is correct when she says that good co-founders are all about getting different perspectives.

Serendipity Strikes Problem solver/Creative/Inventor/Musician COO/FOUNDER

February 28th, 2020

There appear to be lots of co-founders on this site, they just don't know it yet.