Can I create a startup without a business co-founder at first?


Long story short: I've had my fair share of bad business partners (the ones who were supposed to fill the holes on the business end from legal to marketing to sales).

Being a technical person with enough skills to create a system myself, I've decided to develop a system, get some initial feedback from potential clients on the idea (all myself), and pound away at the keys some more, while becoming more actively engaged in the startup network in my area. I hope to become more acquainted with the scene and to find a good, reliable partner eventually.

Has anyone, who was more on the technical side, ever gone this route? What did you do? How did you survive?

Co-Founder Entrepreneurs Technical

asked Jan 24 '12 at 08:06
8 points
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3 Answers



There are tons of solo technical founders out there. You don't need someone who's "the business guy" to bring in money or to develop your product.

That said, as a solo technical founder myself, I can tell you that it's lonely and frustrating. You should think about identifying someone who can be your co-founder without being "the business guy".

Venture Hacks has the canonical article on how to find a co-founder.

answered Jan 24 '12 at 09:47
Evan P.
181 points


You plan doesn't seem like a good one for a number of reasons, but mostly that you appear to be working backwards by coding first and talking to potential clients second.

Stop coding and talk to potential clients.

You also say that your previous business partners were supposed to cover legal, marketing and sales. That's a lot of expectations.

Getting engaged in your local Startup Community is a good plan, as is talking about your product idea, and possible event attending an event such as Startup Weekend.

answered Jan 24 '12 at 08:23
Nick Stevens
4,436 points


The biggest risk for most techies who start software firms, (or cooks who start restaurants, etc.), is that your interest is in doing more of what you like to do. And, that's rarely how you run a business. Unfortunately. But, I don't know who else would start a software firm.

So it's a good thing if you get out and get some feedback from prospective customers. The problem is it's even harder to engage a prospect in discussion long enough to describe your idea verbally. Often it helps to put something together so you can show what you are thinking while you have this discussion. Where this usually fails is that the developer gets comfortable, wants to fix just one more thing, and the 5 years go by. So, I suggest that what you put together is only the slightest hint of what could be - with absolutely nothing that works! Sounds crazy, but it's a whole lot more than talking with nothing, and keeps the discussion where you want it - with the prospect telling you what should happen next. You might get by with just a menu of a system - maybe with a few typed-up forms illustrating what the data would be if there was really data. There are some nice demo creation packages that will let you do this even easier than coding, and they will look pretty good.

If you can go to an industry or software show, or an industry group meeting you'll get to talk to a lot of people who may be more open because you don't have anything to sell. Just be honest and tell them you are researching and refining your concept.

Just resist the urge to sit down and write software. Time will go by and your idea will become obsolete.

Good luck.

PS: When the time comes to hire someone, you may find that hiring a developer is the best choice, then you can define features and continue talking to prospects.

answered Jan 24 '12 at 08:47
Patrick Ny
300 points

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