Starting a business is a challenging journey, and finding the right co-founder can be a crucial factor in its success. According to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average number of founders for a startup is about 2.3. Nearly half of all startups have two co-founders, while only 14% have three or more. With the growing popularity of Web3 startups, finding an ideal co-founder with a strong understanding of blockchain and decentralized technologies can be even more important. In this article, we will discuss the steps to finding the ideal co-founder for your startup, with a focus on the unique challenges and opportunities of Web3 entrepreneurship. - Author: Jona Hauch, Sarah Gottwald
What does it mean to have a co-founder
Having a co-founder means that you are not alone in building your business which comes with significant risks. You have someone to collaborate with, brainstorm ideas, and share responsibilities and costs. A co-founder can bring a perspective, skill set, and experience which can complement to your own. For example, if you are a technical person, your co-founder could be a business or marketing expert. This diversity of skills can help your business succeed and grow faster.
However, it is important to note that co-founders also share ownership of the company, which means that major decisions will need to be made jointly. The distribution of equity between the co-founders determines the extent of each individual's decision-making power. So it is important to select a co-founder who should share your vision, and be someone you trust and respect. Finding the right person can take time, effort, and resources.
What should you consider when looking for your ideal co-founder
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, combined with your skills and expertise is crucial when looking for a co-founder. You want someone who complements your strengths, fills your gaps and works well with your weaknesses.
Additionally, it is important to consider your values and personality traits. It's important to find a co-founder who shares your values and has a similar vision for the company. You also want someone who has a compatible personality and work style. For example, if you're a fast-paced, high-energy person, you may not work well with someone who is more laid-back and relaxed.
Another factor to consider is the level of commitment you and your co-founder are willing to make. Starting a business is hard work, and it's essential to have someone who is equally committed to the project's success. You want to find a co-founder who is willing to put in the long hours and hard work necessary to make the company successful.
Finally, when searching for a co-founder, it's essential to look for someone who shares your passion for the industry and the product or service you're creating. It's much easier to work with someone who is as passionate about the project as you are, as this passion will drive both of you to put in the extra effort required to make the company successful.
Know the needs of your startup
Aside from knowing yourself and finding a person who fits and complements you, you should determine what your startup needs to be successful. Once you have identified these needs, you can start to search for a co-founder who can help fill these gaps and bring the necessary skills and expertise to the table.
Each co-founder should have clearly defined responsibilities that will contribute to the success of the company and align with their skills and expertise. For example, if one co-founder has a strong marketing background, they should be responsible for marketing initiatives, while the other co-founder, who has a strong technical background, should handle product development.
By following these principles, you can create a well-rounded team that can tackle any challenge.
How to find your ideal co-founder
Finding the right co-founder can be a challenging task, but there are several ways to increase your chances of finding your ideal partner. Here are five methods to consider when searching for your ideal co-founder:
- Start with your own network to think about who has the skills and experiences you need or who might know such a person. In case no one comes to your mind, start talking about it on your social media channels.
- Attending events and joining communities that are relevant to your industry can be an excellent way to meet potential co-founders. Attend networking events, conferences, and seminars where you can interact with like-minded individuals who share your passion for your industry. You may consider attending startup-specific events or those focused on entrepreneurship. For the Web3 sector, it is especially helpful to visit hackathons and join Web3-specific communities like decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
- Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to find potential co-founders. You can search for individuals who have similar interests, skills, or experience to your own. And you can also join groups or communities related to your industry to connect with individuals who share your interests. Reddit, Telegram and Discord can be additional interesting platforms, specifically for Web3-related groups.
- There are several online platforms dedicated to matching co-founders. These platforms allow you to create a profile highlighting your skills, experience, and what you're looking for in a co-founder. You can then browse other profiles to find potential co-founders who share your vision and goals.
- Join an incubator program that offers co-founder matching opportunities. There are some incubator programs focusing on very early stages that also include co-founder matching opportunities. Our Web3 incubator BFG Superstars is exactly offering this, you can join with or without a team, and even with or without an idea. In case you are joining without a team, we are helping you to match with your ideal co-founder.
Full list of opportunities where you can find your co-founder:
|Meet co-founders in person||Meet co-founders online|
|Within your network:
2. Friends of friends
6. Former colleagues
|Enlarge your network:
1. Co-working spaces
2. Startup weekends
6. University entrepreneur activities
7. Networking events
8. Founder dating events
9. Community-specific events within your sector
10. Join an incubator program
Social Media (your network and groups):
Select your ideal co-founder
Now, that you know where you can find potential co-founders, you should start creating a list of contacts. And once you have that list of potential candidates, start your due diligence.
The due diligence process involves checking the candidate's backgrounds, verifying their skills and experiences, and conducting initial interviews. Begin by reviewing their online presence, especially their LinkedIn profile and GitHub in case you are looking for a co-founder with developer skills. You might also consider reaching out to former colleagues or clients to ask for feedback regarding the person.
Once you've completed the initial check, you should define your candidates to have an initial interview with. In this interview, you should concentrate on learning more about their motivations, goals, and values. Also consider learning more about their way of communication, problem-solving abilities, and overall fit with your startup's culture.
After those interviews consider your top candidate(s) and usually it makes sense to have one more interview with the potential co-founder to talk more in-depth. It makes sense to learn more about the person's long-term goals and how they envision contributing to your startup's success.
By taking such a strategic approach to selection, you increase the likelihood of finding a co-founder who shares your vision, complements your skills, and is committed to building a successful business together.
How to avoid potential risks when selecting a co-founder
According to Harvard Business School Professor Noam Wasserman, 65% of startups fail because of conflict among co-founders. The decision to select a co-founder is one of the most important decisions a founder will make and should be thought through carefully. While a co-founder can bring benefits, it's also important to be aware of the potential risks. There are some actions you can take to reduce these risks:
Do a test project. Before you start a business together that comes with legally binding terms, do a team exercise or small project together. This allows you to see how well you work together as a team and whether you share the same values for the business.
Align your expectations and commitments. It is very important that co-founders trust each other, so ideally you know each other well before founding together. In any case, a basis should be created that supports this, and for this it is good to align expectations and track commitments.
Have clear communication. To ensure clear communication and alignment with your potential co-founder, it is recommended to always document your alignments in written form, such as emails, contracts, and project plans. Clear communication helps to ensure that both parties understand each other's expectations and can prevent misunderstandings or miscommunications down the line.
Create a founder’s agreement. No matter how well you know each other it is always recommended to create a founders agreement. This agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of each founder, as well as how decisions will be made and how profits will be divided. A founder's agreement can help to prevent disagreements and disputes that could arise later on.
Finding the ideal co-founder for your Web3 startup can be a critical factor in the success of your business. A co-founder can bring complementary skills, expertise, and perspective, allowing you to build a well-rounded team that can tackle any challenge.
When looking for a co-founder, it is essential to know yourself and your startup's needs, including your values, personality traits, commitment level, and passion for the industry.
There are several ways to find potential co-founders, including leveraging your network, attending events, using social media platforms, joining online co-founder matching platforms, and participating in incubator programs.
By following the steps outlined in this article and conducting your due diligence, you can select your ideal co-founder and build a strong, successful Web3 startup.
About Blockchain Founders Group
Blockchain Founders Group (BFG) is the driving force behind web3 innovation. As a company builder, we bring together a team of blockchain visionaries, experienced entrepreneurs, and industry experts, all committed to nurturing emerging talent. Our BFG acceleration programs serve as your springboard for launching blockchain startups, transforming concepts into reality in just 2-3 months. Each cohort develops 5-8 unique web3 ideas, and selected projects will be financially supported with 70,000 - 100,000 EUR, along with access to our extensive network. Join us in shaping the future of web3!
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