The better question may be why can't you find startup co-founders? I can see two main reasons why this might be the case. First, no one else sees the same opportunity. If this is the case, you may be on to unique value that no one understands, but that could also include the potential market. If no one else sees the same market opportunity you do in your startup, you will want to do more research to ensure you truly have a marketable idea.
The second reason is that you don't have a big enough network to find co-founders. This will also be a barrier to launching a startup. For a startup, the network of the founders is essential for both tapping into experience / skills the team does not have as well as for helping develop the market. If this is the case, building your network should come before building your startup.
I hope this gives you some useful things to consider. Let me know if I can be of further help.
I advise Startups and CEOs on their Communication strategy, and part of the strategy involves teams and leadership.
I do understand your challenge, but fear not, there is always a solution!
Try another approach: what is your 'ideal' co-founder?
What do they look like? Picture them, quite literally!
1. Draw up a rough bio for them -
a. experience (in years and type)
b. personality traits (risk taker or risk averse, creative or aggregative...) and
c. what yin-yang relationship you'd like with them.
Remember - your co-founder fills your gaps. If you are the 'idea man', they are the business person, or vice versa.
Once you have a rough idea, try your social networks - LinkedIN has been a good friend to me in this. Invest in their premium account(s) if not already the case, this will show you a lot more than publicly available.
Finally, take a gander on discussion boards in LinkedIN, Quora.com and others that talk about the space your startup belongs in, e.g. Mobile, SaaS, HR Tech, Hardware and so on.
Am more than happy to give you a questionnaire or detailed steps to figure out your best 'match'. Let's talk!
Never waste your time to look around.. Go & get in touch with startup communities like incubators, accelerators, co-working places, collective talks, etc.. Hit ratio would be low but hit effectiveness would be promising..!
What do I want from a co-founder?
If your answer is:
Someone to take my idea and turn it into a product, that isn't a cofounder, that is a contractor.
You will be better served learning those skills yourself. If you aren't willing to put the time and effort in to develop your idea, no one else will be either.
I apologize in advance for the long answer, but I wanted to give you the full picture.
There are 3 parts to the answer: 1. Do you really need a co-founder? 2. Why haven’t you been able to find one, and 3. How to find a co-founder.
Do you really need a co-founder?
A) You should be 100% sure that you really need a co-founder (versus using a freelancer or employee which may be sufficient).
B) Investors usually take a deep look into the team and prefer founders that have worked together for some time and/or know each other for a minimum period.
C) Based on research done by CBInsights, the 3rd most common reason for startup failure is: “not the right team”. The most common agreement that I draft as a startup lawyer/mentor is a ‘separation agreement’. The reason being that most co-founders eventually split – and usually not as friends.
In most cases, freelancers/employees can do what you need (the only exception is having a CTO when trying to raise capital from VC’s - and even this depends on the type of startup).
Analyzing the problem - why haven't you been able to find a co-founder?
a) Is it because the idea isn't 'good' enough? That you're not presenting it well? Or maybe that you're not pitching to the right people? If it's a pitching problem, I can help you improve your pitch. If it's the wrong people, you can network in other areas/groups. If it's the idea, I’m happy to try help you refine it.
If you can't recruit a co-founder, you may have similar difficulties raising capital from investors - the reason being that pitching to a potential co-founder is very similar to pitching to investors. Co-founders invest time, efforts & money. Investors invest money. Both take a risk and therefore have to fall in love with the idea or the potential for profits.
How to find a co-founder:
1. Go to networking events - some of which are dedicated to “co-founders dating/matching” - try www.meetup.com for this. You can also try www.founderdating.com or www.cofounderslab.com or http://www.founders-nation.com or www.founder2be.com
2. Take part in chats in relevant forums (depending on the type of co-founder you’re looking for).
3. Consider joining accelerator/incubator programs for startups/entrepreneurs - some of them connect between founders.
4. Contact head of programs at universities and tell them what you’re looking for. Today, many universities and cities have startup programs with a lot of talented participants (or speakers) who might be the perfect co-founder for you.
5. Talk to friends and family and let them know that you’re looking. This helps expand your network. Post a message on www.LinkedIn.com .
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs. I'd be happy to help you. Good luck