Sunday, June 26, 2022

How do you ask someone to be your tech co-founder?

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

If you’ve been working in startups for a while, you’re familiar with these types of requests:

Looking for: technical co-founder

I am looking for someone to join us as a technical co-founder in a validated problem space in {startup sector}. We’ve been accepted into {accelerator} and our first customers are eager to sign up as soon as we can ship.

With strong product and commercial validation already in place, we are looking for someone to help us develop our MVP. Experience with APIs and integration with SAAS platforms like {brands} would be great, but in the long run this will grow into something much bigger. Experience in developing {startup sector} products is not necessary, but welcome.

If the opportunity to collaborate on the idea from day one is gone, what big, interesting things still need to be collaborated on?

If not, do you really need a technical co-founder, or is this really a senior software engineer leading a team and meeting your requirements?

Many pitches to tech co-founders seem to claim that all problems are solved and only the execution remains.

I think this stems from a founder’s habit of pitching his startup to investors as if the startup is a gamble, that all the major challenges have been solved or that their solutions are known (not that this ever works with investors!) it is.

To motivate a potential tech co-founder, you’ll need to reformulate your elevator pitch to cover all the interesting issues that have yet to be solved before the startup succeeds.

Or that they’ve already solved it solo, but aren’t interested in marketing it as part of a team because they’re a lone wolf. That doesn’t sound like someone who wants to develop into an inspiring technical leader.

Good potential tech co-founders know about startup X, but can see there’s probably a better way, and just can’t pass up that interesting problem without wanting to work a little on the answer, just to prove it might not be that big or as unsolvable as the rest of the world thinks it is. That’s a great way to work on the problem together and figure out what it takes to get them out of their current job and work on the problem full time.

very well potential tech co-founders will tell you that they have a broad understanding of how to break the problem down into addressable chunks, and would really get a kick out of bringing in some less experienced engineers and working on turning those mini-problems down in maxi solutions.

Being public about how much you still need to figure out is scary but necessary.

Build your startup in public.

Ask for help with the persistent and interesting problems. Engineers like to solve problems.

Transparency creates authenticity and authenticity is the new vantablack.

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