The guide to finding a technical co-founder (and their side of the story)!

You’ve launched your start-up, got the ideas rolling, and are ready to take it to the next level. Everything’s set… except you're without that crucial technical co-founder.

You’ve launched your start-up, got the ideas rolling, and are ready to take it to the next level. Everything’s set… except…

Your crew isn’t complete. No start-up group is perfect without that crucial technical co-founder.

That’s exactly what most aspiring ventures discover much too late. As a bonafide technical co-founder who’s helped many teams rise to the top, it’s pretty easy to see how this single position is an integral part of any company.

Yet more and more start-ups are overlooking this, especially those who don’t have a clue about what one does as a technical co-founder.

How do I find one? And most importantly, why on earth should I include them on my team?

It’s not as hard (or technical) as it seems. Let’s go through my guide to finding a technical co-founder, combined with a unique personal perspective!

What does a technical co-founder do?

I mean, it’s a little difficult to hire someone for a position you know next-to-nothing about. For any business trying to get a product or a service going, the intersection between business and technology can be challenging to navigate.

That’s where a technical co-founder, a tech partner, or a CTO comes in.

Contrary to popular belief, this position isn’t solely based on the person’s technical abilities.

Nope, you’re not hiring a developer. The person that you want for your team, in short, is someone like yourself, the visionary, but with that combination of tech smarts and business acumen.

Innovation. Leadership. Idea development. The list of responsibilities a technical co-founder is handed goes on and on, and it’s never limited to the tech aspects of the start-up.

In a typical business set-up, a CTO or technical co-founder…

  • Plays a major role in product/service development (with expert tech knowledge/skills)
  • Infuses innovation, skill, and creativity into the product, the developer/engineering team, and the company itself
  • Grows and scales the start-up through both technology and business, working in sync with the team

It’s also easy to overlook the contrasts between a technical co-founder and a CTO (chief technical officer), and most would say that there is no difference.

They’re not the same.

A technical co-founder is part of the start-up itself- an actual partner that receives equity.

CTOs, on the other hand, are hired for a paid position. They are, effectively, an employee with fixed pay- and may also receive equity.

Why do I need one?

Let’s put it this way- a start-up lacking a CTO or technical co-founder probably won’t get far with their product, service, and possibly the business as a whole.

If you want something to set your team apart in the tech spectrum, someone like this would be a huge bonus, especially if you (the founder) know next to nothing about the nitty-gritty technical details.

You probably have an amazing, valid idea that you feel can be profitable, thanks to your business abilities and drive. Yet it’s still only an idea- unless the technical co-founder is in the mix. The individual you decide to bring on will shape and nurture the ideas you initially planted into a tangible, marketable product.

The tech advice and insights would be invaluable as you scale further and further, developing and growing your product or service into a full-fledged business.

None of this would have been possible without the unique perspective and knowledge of a technical co-founder.

How do I find one?

I hope you’re not asking this question in the late phases of your start-up because a tech partner is essential to any business from the very beginning.

Finding a CTO or technical co-founder is nothing like recruiting an engineer or a developer, by any stretch of the imagination.

You can’t just post something on Indeed and sift through applications until you find that perfect candidate.

Nor can you expect your one-idea pitch to work wonders and woo tech-minded individuals left and right.

Why? Because that perfect candidate won’t come running to your idea, no matter how ingenious it sounds to you. It takes many smooth pitches that have the right messaging and presentation to get the job done.

In short, takes more than just an idea. Let’s dig into our point-of-view and my experience- exactly how we perceive the countless pitches from start-ups looking for a technical co-founder.

Our Point-of-View

As of 2022, genuine tech talent is a valued commodity, and bonafide technical co-founders have a world of opportunities at their fingertips in bigger and bigger markets.

It’s pretty self-explanatory why getting someone to hop aboard your start-up is a challenge in itself.

Developers are often approached about this, with recruiters hot on their heels (and inboxes). Unless you look at it from their standpoint and understand them, no prospect is going to take favorably to your pitch.

And please, don’t do these things that’ll kill your chances of hitting it off with a hopeful.

  • Believe that we can’t offer business-related insight (we’re technically a partner)
  • See us as a “one-trick pony” (that’s a paid contractor, not a co-founder)
  • Assume our technical aspirations and abilities

As a technical co-founder, we never want to have the watered-down responsibilities of a developer just because the start-up didn’t do their research.

On the other end of possibilities, no developer or CTO wants to be overburdened with work and be responsible for the single-handed success of the start-up. Believe me, nothing is more infuriating than watching others mull over a Trello board with no sense of direction.

Technical co-founders will help your start-up immensely, but only if you’re utilizing their strengths efficiently. Here’s my real-life journey as one, along with what I learned.

My Story

All the insights, learning experiences, and information above stems from my personal experiences as a technical co-founder.

I received questions from time to time about my position, my responsibilities, and how I was lured into the start-up. Everyone was dying to know the secrets on reeling in these individuals. Tech-based developers, CTOs, and technical co-founders have a hard time taking idea-based pitches from start-ups seriously. I mean, at that stage, it’s still merely an idea and the belief that we can elevate and nurture that with a snap of our fingers is simply wishful thinking.

Are there investors? Customers? What about the funding?

Even if these questions are answered, all the holes patched up, and the pitch perfected, we’re probably still not swayed that easily.

You might be drawing a picture of a dream job with a perfect team- but the scope of the job and the pay is what anchors our decisions. Reality is, what’s a dream if we can’t even keep the lights on?

I’ve been with start-up teams that put me in the job of a developer. If that’s what they wanted- a paid contractor would have sufficed.

A technical co-founder, essentially, is part of both spectrums of the start-up.

We’re there to shape the business from the very beginning while providing that technical insight and expertise.

We’re that omnipresent reality check while envisioning the growth of the company all the same.

We’re the foundation of a start-up.

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