Investors want to see the finished project (+ maybe private beta results).
I came a long way, but I have the feeling that I cant run the last couple of miles without being surpassed by competition.
I think there are only three kind of people who can (almost) fully commit themselves and have the right knowledge:
Since I've used widespreadly used technologies I don't think it will be hard to find the right programmer.
However i guess i have no clue how/where to find the right designer(with front end programming knowledge).
I'm looking forward hearing your stories about where/how you've got your first equity based employees & any other thoughts about where/how to get them.
Some other facts why potential designers/programmers are going to like working with based on equity instead of cash.
Are there smart ways to find employees working for equity locally without trying to convert employees cash>equity?(i'd like to do at-least a physical interview before hiring)
As the organizer of the co-founders meetup, whose goal is exactly what you are asking about (finding equity partners), I can tell you that what matters is shared passion. And then, as #2, is whether you, the one looking for a co-founder, is credible or not.
By credible, I mean: Ok, you have an idea that I also have been thinking about, so now I have two options, work with/for you, or ignore you and do my own thing. Why would I be better off joining you? If you have VCs lined-up, that's a good reason. If you have attracted large customers ready to sign-up, that's another good reason. Because it's your idea? Bad reason.
Your question doesn't make the situation clear enough to give the right answer.
Are you a technical guy who is already close to finishing the beta product, or a business guy who needs technical help? Are you the only founder or do you have a co-founder already?
Either way, I have the feeling that some things are messed up here. Employees don't usually work for equity only. At least you will have to give them a sub-market salary. Otherwise you'd have to give them a lot more equity, and call them co-founders. I also don't get your statement about "co-founder type" meaning "dreamers".
VCs "showing interest" means nothing. In fact, none of your "facts" about why would somebody work for you are facts. They are all assumptions for the future. If they are true, then you should roll out the beta as fast as possible (cut feature list in half is a good start), secure some deals with the VCs, and hire afterwards for real money.
If you can't finish the beta and start iterating on your own, then I think what you need is a few good co-founders, definitely not VC and employees.