How to find the right cofounder for your startup?

  • Aamir Qutub
  • | CEO of Beyond Grades
  • | Updated on March 20, 2024
How to find the right cofounder for your startup?

Finding the right co-founder for your startup is just like finding the right life partner for you who can deal with all the ups and downs, risks, and uncertainties associated with running a startup.

Did you know there has been much research on why startups fail, and guess what, one of the biggest reasons is having the wrong co-founder?

Also, the author of the book The Founder’s Dilemmas, Noam Wasserman says that 65% of the startups fail because of the conflict among co-founders.

It’s better to have no co-founder than to have a bad co-founder, but it’s still bad to be a solo founder. 

                                                                            Sam Altman, CEO, Open AI

Now, sit back, recline, and let’s start by discussing why having a co-founder matters, the benefits of having one, where to find the right co-founder for your startup, and what qualities to look for in a co-founder.

Why do you need a co-founder?

Do you know how Zomato was founded?

It all began in 2008 when Deepinder Goyal, a consultant, and Pankaj Chaddah, an analyst, were working at Bain and Company. They shared a passion for food and technology, which led them to collaborate on a project to create a menu and scanner. This project eventually evolved into the creation of Zomato.

However, initially, Zomato was founded as FoodieBay.

As they worked together, Deepinder and Pankaj developed a strong friendship. Both decided to leave their jobs at Bain and Company to focus on Zomato full-time. Deepinder took charge of the business side, while Pankaj led the technology development.

This true story highlights three key lessons:

The key lessons from the story of Zomato’s founders:

  1. Shared Passion: Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah shared a passion for food and technology, driving their collaboration.
  2. Complementary Skills: Deepinder focused on business, while Pankaj led technology, showcasing the power of complementary skills.
  3. Emotional Support: Their strong friendship provided vital emotional support, essential for the startup journey.

    This is why having a co-founder matters!

    “Cofounder relationships are among the most important in the entire company.”

                                                                                                     Sam Altman, CEO, Open AI

Benefits of having a co-founder

benefits of having a co founder

The story of Zomato makes us realize that having a co-founder can bring numerous benefits to your startup, they are:

1. Complementary Skills

A co-founder often brings a different set of skills that fill the gaps and strengthen your weak areas because their skills complement your own.

Your and your co-founder’s skills can be invaluable in addressing various aspects of the business, from product development to marketing and finance.

2. Shared Responsibility

Starting a business is not easy; it is an overwhelming process. However, if you have a co-founder, sharing the responsibilities and workload makes things a bit easier.

It can lighten the burden and make it easier to tackle challenges as entrepreneurs together.

3. Emotional Support

Starting a business can be a rollercoaster ride with unimaginable ups and downs. But when you have a co-founder right by your side, it can turn out to be a blessing.

Imagine having a partner who is always there when things go down; they are there to support you, motivate you, help you realize your dream and passion, and remind you why you started this startup in the first place—to never let you lose hope in yourself.

4. Risk Sharing

Business is synonymous with taking a risk. It’s all about risking and aiming for something people either just think about or have never imagined.

Developing things that can solve day-to-day problems is like shooting in the dark; the end product might or might not work.

But having a co-founder lets you share the risk, making it less daunting and doubtful to take that leap of faith to bring your dream into reality.

5. Attracting Investors

You and I, and this whole world, know very well that investors often prefer startups that have more than one founder because it shows shared vision and commitment to the business.

Having a co-founder thus makes your startup more attractive to potential investors, increasing your chances for securing funding.

Let’s now move on to explore where to find potential co-founders for your startup, as they can help shape your business and propel it to greater heights.

Where should you look for a co-founder?

Firstly, it all starts by listing the qualities you’re looking for and then focus your search in the right direction.

Your ideal co-founder should complement your skills, share your passion, and provide support in times of uncertainty.

The hunt begins with:

Look into personal contacts:

The founders of Facebook and Google both began their ventures from their dorm rooms. Mark Zuckerberg had Eduardo Saverin as a co-founder for Facebook, while Google was started as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The commonality lies in the fact that the co-founders were friends, highlighting the potential of starting a successful startup with someone you know well.

The best source by far for hiring is people that you already know and people that other employees in the company already know.

                                                                                  Sam Altman, CEO, Open AI

You already know your friends and relatives, who can be equally passionate about your business, have faith in your dreams, and are more trustworthy and aware of your working style.

Since business requires a lot of secrecy to be maintained and management and finances to be taken care of, choosing your co-founder from your personal contacts is better than anywhere else.

Search within online communities:

If you can’t find anyone in your personal contacts, then online communities are one of the best options for you to find your potential co-founder for your startup.

In today’s connected world, you can not only find a partner for dating via dating apps, but you can also find a co-founder for your startup through online communities dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs.

The famous ones are:

  1. Co-founders Lab
    Co-founders Lab is one of the largest startup communities on the internet that is made for entrepreneurs to find their perfect co- founder based on your interest, skills and locations.
  2. AngelList
    AngelList is a well-known website for hiring employees and promoting startups across industries. It’s also a great place to find a co-founder who shares your values.
  3. YCombinator
    Y Combinator is an American startup accelerator that has launched over 4,000 companies. They also offer a service for finding the right co-founder for your startup. Their co-founder matching service is suitable for all stages and comes with no strings attached.
  4. Start Hawk
    Start Hawk offers a platform to help you find your co-founder easily and effectively. Their intuitive messaging system provides quick and easy communication among co-founders.
  5. Startup Weekend
    Startup Weekend provides a 54-hour entrepreneurship education competitive event where participants form teams around ideas on Friday evening and work over the weekend to develop a working prototype, demo, or VC presentation.

    What could be a better place to pitch your startup idea and reach out to the person you might find suitable?

  6. Founders Nation
    Founder Nation is another top platform for entrepreneurs and founders. It’s designed to connect dreamers and assist you in finding great co-founders.

    These are the top few websites that can help you in finding your potential co-founder as per your interests and skills.

Attend startup conferences

I know not everyone is fond of finding a business partner using online platforms; some of us are just old-school.

We still believe in finding “the one” in cafes, bars, restaurants, bookstores, and yes, maybe while attending conferences, specifically for startups.

When you attend conferences, you easily network with like-minded people, such as industry leaders, thus increasing your chances of meeting someone who shares your vision for a startup.

“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” 

Michele Jennae

Here are some of the conferences you can attend for networking this year:

  1. One Giant Leap 2024 (4th- 7th March, 2024)
    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    “One Giant Leap,” also known as the Digital Davos, is the world’s largest event. The 2024 edition marks the third occurrence of this monumental gathering.

  2. Startupfest 2024 (10th-12th July, 2024)
    Montreal, Canada

    StartupFest is Canada’s annual startup event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, industry veterans, and startup communities.
    It has been running for 13 years and provides a great opportunity to create meaningful connections and interactions.
    The event is open to both Canadians and international visitors.

  3. SXSW 2024 (8th – 16th March, 2024)
    Austin, USA

    SXSW 2024 is primarily focused on digital creatives, highlighting the most innovative breakthroughs in technology, film, culture, music, and more.

    It’s a fantastic place to connect with great minds, including entrepreneurs, influencers, investors, and more.

  4. Startup Grind Global (22nd -25th April, 2024)
    Silicon Valley, USA

    Startup Grind Global is renowned worldwide for featuring top business leaders from companies like YCombinator, Alphabet, Zoom, WhatsApp, and many others.

    It serves as an excellent platform for startups, whether in the early phase or on a large scale, to connect with investors, exchange ideas, and participate in workshops.

  5. Web Summit (11th-14th November, 2024)
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Web Summit is one of Portugal’s prominent annual conferences, bringing together over 70,000 tech enthusiasts. Referred to by The Wall Street Journal as “the giant of the web assemble,” this three-day event offers a world of opportunities.

    Industry leaders from companies like Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and more are invited, making it a valuable business networking and learning experience.

    Keep an eye out for conferences like the ones discussed, as there is always one conference or another happening every month. These events can be a great opportunity to find a co-founder for your startup, as it’s easier to connect with like-minded individuals in this community.

Posting a “required a co-founder” job post:

Have you heard of Shaun Connell, the founder of FreelanceWritingJobs and Connell Media, and how he found his CMO for FreelanceWritingJobs, Milo Cruz?

Milo was new to digital marketing and content writing, struggling to find a job that aligned with his personal growth.

At the time, freelancing websites were not as popular.

However, Milo joined a Facebook group that connected employees with content writers worldwide. One day, he took a leap of faith and applied for a job in a Facebook post that matched his background and interests.

Had he not taken that chance, he wouldn’t be the virtual CMO at today, and Shaun wouldn’t have been able to find a partner who could add value to his skills and business.

Hence, don’t underestimate the power of posting a “co-founder wanted” or CMO, or CTO job ad on social media platforms like

or on employment websites like

Simply post the job requirements, mentioning all the qualities you’re looking for in a co-founder. Then, interview and assess the candidates to find someone who is reliable and expert enough to be your co-founder.

Now take out your pen and paper and look for the qualities your co-founder must have.

Qualities of a good co-founder:

You must look four major qualities in a co-founder:

Qualities of a good cofounder

  • Shared vision and passion
    A co-founder should share your vision for the startup and be passionate about its mission.
  • Complementary skills and expertise
    A good co-founder should bring skills and expertise that complement your own, such as technical, marketing or operational knowledge.
  • Commitment and Integrity
    A co-founder should be committed to the success of the startup and must possess integrity and honesty in their actions.
  • Adaptability and problem-solving
    A co-founder should be adaptable to change and have strong problem-solving skills to navigate the challenges that startups often face.
The Buzz Behind the Need for a Technical Co-Founder

There are several factors that call for the need for a technical co-founder.

Firstly, a technical co-founder bridges the gap in technical expertise, providing essential skills to develop your product or service, including its website and mobile applications.

Secondly, a co-founder can be a long-term partner, sharing the journey and commitment required for startup success.

Additionally, having a technical co-founder can help validate your idea, as their expertise can provide valuable insights and credibility, particularly in the eyes of investors and stakeholders.

Voila! You have found the co-founder you’ve been looking for.

In closing:

Finding a co-founder totally depends on your type of business and whether you are in dire need of having one or not.

A co-founder is like having a “buddy”, who is ready to grind and is there for you through your business’s thicks and thins.

This is why choosing the potential co-founder from the right space becomes all the more important because working with the wrong co-founder can turn your business upside down.

So, are you all set to start your startup and want to know all the nitty-gritty associated with running a startup and finding a co-founder?

Then what are you waiting for?

Join us to learn to build your dream startup in just 5 weeks. Reserve your spot now!

Aamir Qutub Aamir Qutub, the founder and CEO of Beyond Grades, has a sincere passion for innovation and startups. With over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, he has successfully co-founded 4 technology startups and invested in dozens of other startups, focusing on real-world problems and their solutions. When not juggling with his reports and presentations, he loves to create unconventional recipes and cherish moments with his family.


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