Technical co-founder · Tech startups

What are the most important characteristics to look for in cofounders?

Daniel Canelea Senior Solutions Architect at TD Wealth

February 27th, 2015

What other skills are you looking for in a technical co-founder  aside from coding?

Zvi Epner

February 27th, 2015

I like the question. 

I'd say that the role to hire for is someone who has: 
- Enterprise development experience with access to better programmers; go for 'very good' over 'amazing'
- Experience as a solutions provider, tech that facilitates business
- Someone who can be weave business goals into the experiences they build 
- Someone who can keep a product dead simple, because they know how to avoid tech debt

My 0.02


Dan Pizzarello, MD

February 27th, 2015

As someone who is new to the startup scene, coding ability is necessary, but the ideal technical co-founder would bring more to the table. A few thoughts: 

1. Startup experience: Whether you're like me and this is your first time, or you have experience yourself, this is a huge plus. Everyone is better seeing situations a second time. Nothing is harder than the first time... the first packed bar if you're a bartender, the first patient you get to touch if you're a surgeon, the first crowd you stand in front of if you're a comic (it's been a winding path... hahaha). After your first time things slow down and you're not so overwhelmed. Big value add. 

2. People skills: I'm not saying that I'm looking for the most outgoing guy in the room, but if all goes well, there will be a tech team to run and manage. From what I've seen, management is an extension of how you interact. If you're nice and considerate, you're likely to be a nice and considerate manager. If you're confident, you'll be able to make the right decision even if it isn't popular. Plus it'll be way more fun going to work every day with someone who is nice. 

3. Curiosity: This may be because I'm in a complicated space (healthcare) but I want to work with someone who has a desire to learn. It's key that team members speak the same language. And the only way that will happen is if they both want to learn. 

Just my two cents....


February 27th, 2015

There are actually tons of discussion on this already - not sure if you've done a search on FD but good to do before posting.
The founder of FounderDating also wrote a very very popular post about questions to ask potential cofounders.  You'll notice almost none have to do with hard skill sets.