What would be better for my startup (cofounder or hire dev team)?


I am 17 and I have no one investing in me but my father. My dad might invest around $2000-$5000.

What would be a better approach to start the development of my startup?

  • Find a tech cofounder (I tried contacting people via techcofounder.com but had no luck).
  • Hire a development team to work on the website (I don't know how to find a good team. I tried looking for one person and I get tonnes of requests from companies and it bugs me).

I am fine with sharing my revenue with someone (50% doesn't bother me).

I can get a higher budget but I need to know where to find good developers. Where can I find a good team, and what should I consider when doing so? I am starting small and iterating.

Any tips on how I can contact people?


asked Oct 11 '10 at 23:01
Bhargav Patel
784 points
  • Stupid question ,but what "team" you think to hire with that? At 20 USD per day (which you will have a VERY hardd time finding even in china - and with lor resources) and 3 people that would last less than 4 months. Add some "real do guy" in (who can ask for market rate) and you talk of LESS THAN ONE WEEK FOR ONE PERSON. Yes, good programmers get paid a lot of money. – Net Tecture 12 years ago

6 Answers


My strong advice (and I have advised more than 40 startups to date): you need someone with technical skills as one of the founders. Which means either:

  • learn to code (you seem young enough that it would be a very worthwile investment)
  • find a technical co-founder

Do not go with outsourcing. You will sink your dad's money. I guess every mistake is a lesson learned, but why make it painful?

Where do you find co-founders? Nearby. Talk to everyone. Go out and meet more people. For instance, I organize a co-founders meetup in Silicon Valley. There are NewTech meetups all over the US. Other countries have their own meetups as well.

There is no meetup where you live? That's a great news! Do you know why? Because you can be the one to start it. That will bump your networking karma tenfold.

Too scared to start your own by fear of failure? Ok, then that's your answer...

answered Oct 12 '10 at 05:52
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • How can I organize such an event, how much money does it take? Also, I am 17... are you sure I can do that? – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • If you are in Toronto, I'm sure there's already a bunch of events. To organize an event like the co-founders meetup, you mostly need to find a location that will host you for free. That's the main issue. Surely you have a laptop to project presentations, and you can borrow a projector from someone. Done, you have an event. – Alain Raynaud 13 years ago


So, you are not a developer your self? Sorry, I did click your start-up details, but clicked right back out of it as soon as I saw the text going below my screen fold. I am afraid most would do the same. If you want someone to pause a minute on your post and give you some advise, try to keep it very simple.

Said that, based on a little that I was able to extract from this message:

  1. you do not write code
  2. Your site/service is complex
  3. Your dad may or may not put $2K - $5K

If this is correct, your chances of success are quite low. You will run out of this amount very quickly and if you are not able to clearly communicate to developers what you need from the start, you won't have resources to correct it later.

Assuming you were able to develop your site. Would you have resources to market it or even educate the users on how to use this complex tool?

I suggest: simplify your idea to meet your budget. You can always add additional complexity later if things pick-up.

Your chances of attracting an experience technical co-founder are very slim and you probably don't want to have another 17-year old on your team.

If all you have is an idea, you should know that ideas are cheap. Open any business publication and the chances are that most articles are about great ideas. It's what you can do with it is what has a value.

Good luck.

answered Oct 12 '10 at 00:11
1,698 points
  • Sorry, when I said complex I did not mean hard to grasp. I understand the post was really long. It wasn't at start though! it was fairly short. I edited the post to answer feedback that was given. – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • In any case, try to keep things simple at all times. As it is life tends to complicate things over time. – Usabilitest 13 years ago


I remember your post, actually, as I did respond to it. As mentioned by slatecaster, you have an idea which is fairly complex and you have yet to describe it on this site succinctly, which is key if you want to be successful. Few people with bother to read a several page explanation of what your idea is.

So, first step is to try to phrase your idea in one or two sentences. Who is your site for, what does it do?

As you seem to have thought out marketing and the financial approach, explain in another one or two sentences the cash-flow structure - how money comes in and how it goes out.

Finally, dealing with getting this developed. Ideas are cheap, but development is not. A site as described in your earlier post can take anywhere from several hundred hours to several thousand hours. At $20 per hour (and that's about the minimum of what you could be expected to pay), that's looking at $10K in development costs.

I understand you're looking to give equity for the work, but the problem is, developers are often reluctant to do this. First, they'll have to devote themselves to your vision, leaving them unable to earn money from projects that pay cash. They'll have to put in a lot of work, and it's quite possible that it won't be financially viable in the end. Then they'll have to deal with running the company, and the exit strategy for them isn't clear.

With only $5,000 in your budget, this really appears to be a dead-end project, as the money will run out long before your marketing kicks in, the applications are built, and your project is cash-flow positive. I would strongly recommend that find additional financing for a project of this scope, in the area of $25K and up. A line of credit might work, since you can draw on it as needed, rather than all at once.

To find people, you really need to know what it is you're looking for. Clear phrasing of what you're trying to build, what skills it is that you're going to need, and so on, will help. You can post on various websites such as this one, social networks, and so on, indicating exactly what it is you're looking for.

That's not to say the long explanation is useless. But you won't attract someone with a long explanation if you haven't captured their interest with a one or two sentence summary.

answered Oct 12 '10 at 01:06
4,692 points
  • Thanks. I have simplified the idea. Its a website for current generation (Gen Y & Z). Its an entertainment website where users get rewarded for watching videos and participating in contests. – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • My dad said that he can get me more money from the bank but I am not sure if its a good idea.. is it? – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • Depends if you know what you're going to do with the money, and how you're going to repay it. If you decide to get outside financing, you'll need a proper business plan to demonstrate that you really know how you're going to get those dollars back to the investor. – Elie 13 years ago
  • I have a business plan. My dad told me to make a folder and put all that in, what would you suggest to be included in that folder? – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • Writing a business plan is a whole other question! If you want to write a plan, contact me and I would be happy to give you a guide that will take you through the process. – Susan Jones 13 years ago
  • Bhargav, contact Susan - she really can help you with this. There are templates and guides available, and Susan has offered to help you out. If you want to be successful, you have to learn to recognize such opportunities and make use of them! – Elie 13 years ago
  • I agree. Stay away from consulting firms at this point, they will be a waste of the small amount of capitol you have. The level of complexity in your idea is such that it could quickly turn into a money pit. Do a search for 'Elevator Pitch' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_pitch) and find advice on how to craft one that brings the core of your idea through, not just 'the site will let gamers play games for prizes'. This will also help you solidify the value of your site in your own mind. Finally, take a look at DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/default.aspx) and look at C#. – Larry Smithmier 13 years ago
  • Actually no consulting form eill even talk to him with that amount of moeny, sorry. I personally would put it aside - why bother with that small amount. I know no freelancer in the projects I am in that would do different. 5000 USD are nothing - when you are looking for 6+ months project paying way more than that per month. Some times more. – Net Tecture 12 years ago


You're 17? I would more fully develop this idea in your head and on paper. Next year you're off to college, right. Take some programming courses. Even if you don't find yourself drawn to a career as an engineer, you will meet those who are. College is a massive bubbling pot of ideas and hackers and tools and engineers. There's no better place to meet co-founders, especially if you've put in some hours fully developing the ideas.

The reason I say this is, from experience, there's little middle ground in finding a technical partner. They'll either work for free + and equity, or they want to be paid full price. I've yet to find someone who will work on the cheap + equity.

answered Oct 12 '10 at 01:40
51 points


I also recommend that you add an e-mail contact so possible developers can contact you.

answered Oct 12 '10 at 03:22
333 points


The best way to do is to learn a language - Python is dead simple to learn!, solve problems from sites like spoj.pl / topcoder to get your programming skills in place. Parallely, follow tech blogs and understand best practices, how to design website, etc. Do it yourself! That's the best way!

answered Oct 12 '10 at 15:04
482 points
  • I can design a website just fine. I am not sure if Python can do what we need. I am interested in PHP or Ruby on Rails. – Bhargav Patel 13 years ago
  • Yes, go ahead! I just quoted Python as an example. There are tons of resources out in the web – Viv 13 years ago

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