What should a technical co-founder look for in a business co-founder?


This is the flip side of this question about what to look for in a technical co-founder.

If I have technical skills and can build a prototype myself, what sort of skills or experience should I look for in a business co-founder?

Is it marketing experience? Salesmanship? A large network? What are the most important things I will need in order to turn my app into a business?

Marketing Sales Co-Founder Business

asked Dec 19 '11 at 08:59
Hartley Brody
1,317 points
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4 Answers


If you have a product it's typically targeted towards a specific market or vertical. If you are looking for a non-technical co-founder you are usually looking for a CEO type person.

  • Someone who understands your market
  • A person who understands the 'why' of your product. Why would anyone want this, why does your business exist
  • Person needs to inspire others. People who want the product, future employees and the team
  • They should have experience in sales and not be afraid to be actively involved in the sales process
  • They should probably have some formal business training / accounting / finance
  • Connections in the industry
  • Passion

  • Energy
  • Dedication

answered Dec 19 '11 at 12:57
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


Growth is a very important characteristic when looking to add talent to a startup or small company. Ask yourself what the candidate's work history tells you about their ability and desire to grow their skillset, influence, and overall success.

answered Dec 19 '11 at 11:53
575 points


Interesting question. I know what I'm looking for in the hypothetical "business co-founder" for Fogbeam Labs:

Some or all of the following (not necessarily in this order)

  1. Sales experience in our domain (enterprise software in our case), and experience actually closing deals.
  2. Enough technical knowledge, and/or willingness to learn, to contribute to the product vision / roadmap in a meaningful way.
  3. Experience with marketing activities and strategy related to our field. IOW, somebody who understands demand creation and positioning.
  4. A large Rolodex of contacts who might turn into customers / investors / partners for us.
  5. At least a passing familiarity with the ideas behind Customer Development and the Lean Startup Approach.
  6. Any previous experience with raising funds from investors, or previous startup experience, would be a great bonus as well. Having gone through a few iterations of Customer Development activities would be especially nice.
  7. An open mind, and a desire to learn and do / try new things.
answered Jan 20 '12 at 08:19
Phillip Rhodes
126 points


Find someone with real start-up sales experience with strong communication skills and is naturally inquisitive.

Real sales experience is someone who's sold a product or service from alpha stage through to full release. This person has shown the ability to develop trust with the customer base and can transition the user from alpha/beta tester to paying client (compared to someone that may have been an "account manager" at a large company).

Communication skills are vital when the technology blows up she needs to keep your customers calm, while also clearly defining product requirements back to you and the product team. The communication skills will serve you well for early marketing and blog content.

A naturally inquisitive person will explore the technology and want to know how your technology works under the hood. This is invaluable in your relationship with that person, and is hugely beneficial in the sales process with customers.

answered Dec 21 '11 at 13:33
Scott Sambucci
66 points

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