Is my approach to find a cofounder flawed?


I've gone to countless networking events, underground entrepreneur groups, cofounder sites like CoFoundersLab, etc. I'm looking more on the business-dev. end.

I've talked to quite a few 1:1 and met quite a few times - they just either:

1) Havent been the right fit as a cofounder ( and I've had (2) past failures due to rushing into business rel).

2) Are working on their own business and don't want to entertain any other idea.

What could I potentially be doing wrong? Am I looking in the wrong spots?

Does it just make sense to just keep developing myself and bag a cofounder until later?

Getting Started Co-Founder Founder

asked Feb 19 '13 at 07:14
Code Talk
253 points
  • More developer related, but could provide some insight: Galley 10 years ago
  • I think the problem with online "find a cofounder" sites is that they're filled with entrepreneurs looking for people to join them on their project; not to join someone else's project. How about posting a traditional job posting? You might not even need a co-founder entrepreneur: an employee could be a good fit too. – Frenchie 10 years ago
  • I agree with the first half of the first sentence. But, I think a traditional job listing would attract the wrong people. – Code Talk 10 years ago

3 Answers


What is the absolutely number one thing you need this person to bring to the table?

Contacts? Domain expertise? Money?

Figure out which of these things you need and then figure out where the people with those skills go. Local chambers of commerce, professional associations, etc are all probably good starting places.

And you may not even need a co-founder yet.. I'm playing with an idea now in the [domain I don't know] space. The first thing I did was reach out through my contacts to see who I did know. I was lucky enough to find someone with a background in the space.. who then pointed me towards the industry leaders, some info/training sessions, and has started making intros.

answered Feb 19 '13 at 08:38
Casey Software
1,638 points
  • Contacts, sales, dev. I'm a technical cofounder :) . I'll have to look through my linkedin - good point here. – Code Talk 10 years ago
  • Gotcha. Regardless, you still need to figure out the basics of sales.. because if nothing else, you have to "sell" to your potential cofounder/advisors. – Casey Software 10 years ago
  • Absolutely and I have no problem learning outside my area of expertise - one thing I've learned though is its difficult to try to do it all, esp. areas where I don't shine :) – Code Talk 10 years ago


I've got to agree with @Salmon. People show up to those networking events with their own idea in mind to find a co-founder. The approach I've had with my co-founder is I help with her start-up, and after it's a success we work on mine. Tough negotiation and you have to give a lot of trust to your parter but's it's worked on several projects.

Expand your network beyond these types of people, look at your LinkedIn and connect with people that aren't necessarily looking to start their own project, but would love to work on your product. Convince them that it will be a fun project too, no one wants to work long nights for someone after they've already put in an 8 hour day somewhere else.

Also consider that your project may not be that sound. Great ideas are plenty, but lucrative opportunities that are in a defensible market aren't. Analyse the value of your product, the revenue potential, and objectively how you come off. Are you providing enough of a skill-set that they would find it a valuable opportunity? Do you come off defensive about your idea? Or are you fun, love life, and genuinely want to provide assistance. You get a lot more when you decide you're going to give unconditionally.

Feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

answered Feb 19 '13 at 08:47
Stephen P.
269 points
  • Good points here Stephen. I'm not sure I could do the deal you have - as I've worked on too many "other peoples ideas" already. I'm looking to build my own :) – Code Talk 10 years ago
  • @CodeTalk Ha, it's worked a few times. I live by two simple rules, extend trust before expecting it and give more then you expect ;-) Works for me. – Stephen P. 10 years ago


I think the problem with all these meetups is that everyone comes there with their own idea in mind. So you pitch them your idea - they pitch you theirs back.

Try to look for people who:

  1. you know you will be comfortable working with
  2. currently have a full time position at a small company or at least have some previous start-up experience
  3. always wanted to start a company but never had a [courage,money,time,motivation] to do that.

After that you will have to convince them to join you. This process is extremely difficult and will take a lot of time, but that's the only good way I know.

answered Feb 19 '13 at 08:11
970 points

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