Before giving you the practical tips, it is important to first point out 3 things:
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 (preferably those who’ve already experienced difficulties together before).
C) There is a reason that CBInsights found that the third most common reason cited for startup failure is “not the right team” and that 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 not under nice terms.
In most cases, freelancers/employees can do what you need (perhaps the only exception is having a CTO when trying to raise capital from VC’s – and even this depends on the type of startup).
Regarding a limited budget, I am not sure why you feel that you need money to find a co-founder? If you have an idea/business that you truly believe in, and it has potential, you should be able to pursuad people to join you (in exchange for share/equity and/or future 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
Hi, always glad to see a founder ready for growth!
Co-founders are important but only for the right reasons.
You shouldn't bring a person on as a co-founder just because you can't afford to pay a hefty salary.
A co-founder hire should strengthen the existing team long-term by:
1. Adding a depth of experience in a specific skill set
2. Working cohesively with the existing team (learn this by hiring the person for a trial 1 to 3 month period)
3. Having worked with successful companies
As for persuading someone to work with you for free... ah, you'll get what you pay for and that is not the unicorn you're hoping to on-board.
Consider talking to incubator and accelerator founders for recommendations for broad categories.
I specialize in accelerating brand growth. I am willing to discuss working with you to develop the foundation for your business growth as an experienced advisor. I can assist or lead in the vetting and hiring of an excellent candidate (also an area where I am experienced).
Finally, I work with many top venture partners and their core preference is to invest in strong teama with deep experience. Book me for a half hour to get started.
Why do you want one? What is your business?
Sometimes, rather than a cofounder, what are really looking for are advisors, mentors.
On the other hand, if you have an idea, but clearly need to add folks, you are going to have find someone who will fit and may want you, if you are that bedding of skill, to step aside from a professional point of view.
Then there’s simply resources. In that case it’s cash, capabilities.
In all cases, you not an earn in versus just a sudden loss of equity and or control. Could be over years and accelerated by achieving milestones and or actual cash and other resources.
Happy to have a deeper discussion, but without business knowledge, knowing who you are and what you are doing, not much can be advised honestly beyond what I just elucidated.
Good question, maybe the most important one. Some quick advice...
No matter what skills/roles you want a co-founder to fill, don't commit to anyone until you've had a chance to work together. if you have a former colleague in mind, that's a leg up but still proceed carefully. Working together on a start-up is like nothing else.
Look for someone who can get the passion you have, maybe even more.
Look for someone who can afford to get paid very little for awhile. You don't want a co-founder who has one eye on the door if day-to-day survival cash is an issue. Nothing wrong with that but that's just a fact of life.
Set-up a call and we can dig a little deeper.