How To Find A Technical Co-Founder

Are you looking to launch a new business? Do you have a great idea but need help with the technical side of things?

If this is the case, partnering with a technical co-founder can be a great option.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of working with a technical co-founder. You’ll also find some tips to choose the right person or agency for your needs. 

What Is a Technical Co-Founder?

A technical co-founder will serve as your business partner. They’ll be the Steve Wozniak to your Steve Jobs.

Technical co-founders take your ideas and then work with you to build a product from scratch. They’re fully dedicated to the success of your app and take on a level of responsibility that’s equal to yours to create a high-quality finished product.

A technical co-founder carries out a wide range of tasks, including (but certainly not limited to) the following:

  • Managing (and sometimes expanding) your engineering team 
  • Building the product strategy
  • Managing all aspects of the product’s MVP (Minimum Viable Product) production
  • Drawing up the tech stack for the project

What Isn’t a Technical Co-Founder?

In addition to explaining what a technical co-founder is and does, it’s worth noting what they aren’t.

First, a technical co-founder is different from a Chief Technology Officer (or CTO). CTOs typically do not have founder-level responsibilities. They focus exclusively on the technical aspects of the project.

Technical co-founders can technically (no pun intended) be CTOs, too, but if this is the case, they’ll be taking on a lot more responsibility (and will need to be paid accordingly).

Technical co-founders are also different from senior tech engineers and programmers. These individuals do have a high level of technical knowledge and can provide great insight when building an app. However, they generally do not have to keep up with founder-level responsibilities.

Why Should You Work with a Technical Co-Founder?

There are plenty of reasons to consider working with a technical co-founder, even if you are fairly tech-savvy yourself. Here are some of the top benefits they have to offer:

They’ll Help Your Startup Succeed

Research shows that startups that have a co-founder are more likely to succeed compared to those that don’t. This is especially true for startup owners who don’t have much (or any) technical experience.

Bringing on a technical co-founder with extensive tech and programming knowledge will help you to build a competitive product that your target audience actually wants to download and use.

They Provide High-Level Tech Knowledge

Even if you understand the basics of app development and consider yourself mildly or moderately tech-savvy, you can still benefit from working with a technical co-founder. They know the ins and outs of app development and will help you turn your vision into reality.

They’ll Validate (or Invalidate) Your Idea

A technical co-founder can validate (or invalidate) your app idea and let you know if it’s a good one. They’ll also be able to point out potential problems and help you work to address them early in the process. That way, you won’t get hit with unpleasant surprises later. 

They’ll Help You Make Smart Decisions

Technical co-founders are your business partners. As such, they’re in a position to help you make smart decisions about your company.

They can help you decide the best way to make your app profitable, how to best serve your customer base, and more.

Because their skills and backgrounds are different from yours, a technical co-founder will provide a unique perspective and help you see things in a way that you might not have before.

They’ll Free You Up to Focus on Other Things

If you’re dividing responsibilities with a technical co-founder, you’re free to focus more on the things that you’re good at.

When you bring a technical co-founder onto your team, you don’t have to stay up all night trying to learn how to code or create an MVP of your app. You can let them focus on those things while you do the things that you do best. 

This allows for a better work-life balance and will, in most cases, produce a better end result.

They’ll Stick with You Long-Term 

Technical co-founders (generally) are in it for the long haul.

Remember, they’re coming in as a business partner, not as a consultant. They believe in your vision and want to see your app succeed, which means they’re not going to bail at the first sign of trouble.

A technical co-founder will work with you through the highs and the lows. They’ll also help you make changes to your app as needed to ensure it continues to work properly.   

How to Find a Technical Co-Founder

Okay, you’re ready to start working with a technical co-founder. Who should you choose, though? Do you hire an individual? An agency?

Listed below are some tips you should keep in mind to find the right technical co-founder for your company:

Know What Traits to Look For

Let’s start by breaking down the characteristics of a good technical co-founder. Here are some traits you should look for when you begin vetting candidates:

Communication Skills

The best technical co-founders are good communicators. They understand the ins and outs of building an app (or carrying out other types of tech-based projects), but they also know how to explain what they’re doing and why. They can also express concerns and address problems in a respectful (yet still direct) way.

Collaborative Mindset

Technical co-founders need to be good collaborators, too. They should want to work with you to make this app a success.

Long-Term Approach

A good technical co-founder will be able to put things in perspective and will be willing to play the long game. It takes a long time to build an app and get it on the market. If someone seems impatient or unwilling to stick with you long-term, they might not be the right choice.

Complementary Skill Set

Finally, your technical co-founder should have skills that are complementary to yours. They need to be strong where you’re weak, and vice versa.

This is an indicator of a collaborative partnership. In many cases, it’s also a sign that you two will work well together without butting heads too often (some disagreement is normal in any partnership, but you shouldn’t constantly be at odds).

Learn How to Spot Red Flags

While you should look for positive attributes, you should also know which red flags to watch for. Here are some of the most important ones to be aware of:

No Interest In The Business

Remember, a good technical co-founder will want to see your business succeed because they’re part of it.

If someone seems like they’re only interested in the development side of things and don’t care about the business end of things at all, that’s a red flag. They might not be a good fit for your partnership. 

Too Quick To Commit

While you want to work with someone who’s eager to partner with you and believes in your app idea, if someone seems too eager to commit, that can also be a red flag.

A person who makes big decisions at the drop of the hat may not have a good mind for business. They might try to pressure you into choices that aren’t good for the long-term success of the company. 

Difficulty Working With Others

A collaborative mindset is key. If a technical co-founder has a history of not working well with others, how can you expect them to be a good business partner for you? Make sure you can get along well with this person before you bring them into your business.

Poor Listening Skills

Not only should your technical co-founder be a good communicator, but they also need to be a good listener. If they don’t seem to pay attention to what you’re saying or don’t remember key details about your project, they might be as detail-oriented as you need them to be.

Make Your App Idea Appealing

When you’re pitching your app idea to a potential technical co-founder, you need to make sure it’s as appealing as possible. Remember, it’s a big responsibility to come in as a technical co-founder, so you need to be convincing if you want to get someone to take the plunge and work with you:

Define Your Vision

Get clear on what you want to accomplish with your app.

How do you want it to work? How do you want it to look? What problems will it solve?

The more specific you can be, the better.

Craft A Story/Pitch

Make a plan for how you’re going to pitch your app idea to potential technical co-founders. You’ll need to be specific and able to answer their questions with ease. Remember, if you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about, they likely won’t want to work with you.

Be Realistic

Be realistic when describing your idea, too. If you make it seem too good to be true, the person you’re describing it to will believe you and might not want to partner with you.

Build A No-Code Prototype

If possible, build a no-code prototype of your app before you start pitching it to potential co-founders. This gives you something tangible to show them to back up your points and explain your vision more easily.

Make Sure You Can Pay

Most people aren’t going to be willing to do all the work required of a technical co-founder if they’re not being compensated fairly. 

Be willing to talk about a salary and negotiate with them to find a price that works for both of you. Then, make sure you have the funds to pay a technical co-founder, too.

Look in the Right Places

There are lots of places you can go to look for potential technical co-founders. One of the most popular options, though, is an in-person tech meetup.

If there aren’t any in your area, you can also look online. Joining developer communities is a great way to get in touch and build relationships with talented individuals. 

Look for Startup Experience

When you’re reaching out to different candidates, be sure to ask about their startup experience. Ideally, you’ll want to partner with someone who has helped to launch other startups in the past. They’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to make your app a success.

Ask for References

Always ask for references before agreeing to work with anyone. Find out what other people have to say about their work and ask whether or not they’d want to work with them again in the future.

Look at Their Portfolio

Look at the candidate’s portfolio, too. Check out their past work to assess their skills and see if they are tech-savvy enough to help you create the kind of app you’re envisioning.

Know the Pros and Cons of Agencies vs Contractors

Some people bring on an independent contractor to serve as their technical co-founder, whereas others feel more comfortable partnering with a development agency.

Working with a contractor can sometimes be less expensive, but contractors may also be less reliable. Partnering with a development agency, on the other hand, provides you with a whole team of professionals who have a vested interest in helping you succeed.

Agencies also often have access to more tools and technologies than contractors, which will work in your favor when it comes to building a high-quality app and getting it on the market as soon as possible. 

Need Help Finding a Technical Co-Founder?

Now that you know more about the benefits a technical co-founder can offer you and your company, are you ready to start searching for one? Keep the tips listed above in mind so you can find the best person or agency for the job.

If you need a technical co-founder for your company that checks all the boxes mentioned in this post, Digital Engage is here to help.

We’re a top-rated app development company that specializes in partnering with clients of all kinds, and we can’t wait to work with you to build a sleek, fully customized, and intuitive app. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

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