Looking for a co-founder has a lot in common with looking for a romantic partner. People can find their business partner in all sorts of places but every story is unique. Some co-founders have grown up together, others meet on blind-dates (or their business equivalents, the â€œemail introductionâ€) and still others find their co-founders at events or online platforms intended to make these matches.
The lesson, then, seems clear: if your heart is set on finding a co-founder, you should leave no stone unturned! There are many places to find â€œthe oneâ€ and hereâ€™s a list of places you should definitely cross off in any serious co-founder search:
1. Investigate the the founder-matching platforms online.
There are a few well-known sites that do nothing but attempt to find people their startup business partners: CoFoundersLab, Founder2be, FounderDating are three of the best known platforms. Sometimes people also will post a job listing for a co-founder or CTO on entrepreneurial communities such as AngelList or StackOverflow.
2. Take advantage of the off-line equivalent of founder-matching platforms.
If you live in a major U.S. city, you already know there are several options every day when it comes to technology, start-up and entrepreneurial events. If you go where people who are like-minded go, you just may stumble across your future business partner. Entrepreneurial and technology industry events (e.g. start-up themed Meetups) may feel inefficient if youâ€™re laser-focused on finding a co-founder, because they involve a certain element of happenstance. On the other hand, the benefit of meeting someone in person is that youâ€™ll know in 10 seconds whether you have any sort of rapport and can envision working side-by-side with this person. Carefully chosen events where youâ€™re likely to meet like-minded people can be well-worth the investment.
3. Attend networking events and actively seek out people in the industry in you want to start your business.
While entrepreneurial events and tech meet-ups are great for meeting other people interested in those things, donâ€™t discount more traditional industry networking events. If youâ€™re passion is in fashion or marketing, attending events and seeking out people in fashion circles or at advertising industry conferences can make sense. In the worst case scenario, youâ€™ve made a potential partner, sale or just someone who can give you feedback about your future company ideas. In the best case scenario, you meet someone who is interested in starting something of their own and that ends up being â€” or introducing you â€” to someone who may become your co-founder.
4. Spread the word â€” there is no downside to casting a long, wide net!
Nobody is going to be able to help you or introduce you to someone if they donâ€™t know you are looking! Tell your friends, family, acquaintances â€” multiple times, if you have to â€” even if they donâ€™t seem to be working in an industry or area that would be relevant. This is the very definition of networking but you're not asking for anything -- you are simply trying to establish a connection and tell people what you're up to. You never know when someone they know may be interested in the same things you are, including starting a company.
5. Look at your own professional network.
Even though you may think that nobody fits the bill, chances are that youâ€™ve run into someone in your professional life who respects you (and vice verse). Itâ€™s always easier to build trust â€” a critical foundation upon which successful partnerships are built â€” with someone you already knows or someone who knows of you and your professional reputation.
A version of this article first appeared on Monarq's blog. Monarq is an app that helps women find other women for friendship and business!
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