How do you find a co-founder?

How do you find a co-founder?

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This week we’re quoting Dr. Wyatt McDonnell (CEO and Founding Scientist at Infinimmune)

What McDonnell said:

“Infinimmune was started by a team of 5 interdisciplinary biotechnologists, who met at 10x Genomics in the SF Bay Area.” 

OK. What’s our point here?

Well – it’s a big question for tech entrepreneurs, isn’t it: if you need a co-founder, and especially a technical co-founder with a certain, pretty niche set of skills…how do you find them? 

Not all co-founders come up with an idea together and set about to execute it as a partnership, right from day one. Some have the idea of their own, and then realise they’re lacking certain critical skill sets – so they have to find someone else who can put their heart into the business with them, and help bring the idea to life. 

Here are our tips for finding the right co-founder to share the tech startup journey with you. 

1. Put it out there into the world

LinkedIn is great for this – it’s full of tech professionals at the top of their game, many of them looking for new opportunities. 

So put it out there: make a post explaining why you’re searching for a co-founder, and detail the skills they’d need to have. Encourage your network to share it, and you never know who might get in touch. 

2. Consider your colleagues

If you currently work for a tech employer and you’re preparing to strike out on your own and launch a startup, think about whether any of your colleagues might have the skills or experience you need in a co-founder. 

You don’t necessarily have to poach them from the company you work for, either – many startups don’t need both co-founders to work on them full-time in the early days, and your co-founder’s skills could be valuable to you even if they can only invest a day or two a week initially. 

If you do think there might be a good fit at work, talk to them. Don’t be too guarded about your ideas, either; because a co-founder relationship needs to be built on openness and trust from day one. 

3. Where did you study? 

If you studied in higher education, you might have former peers in your network, who you already have a relationship with, and who have the skills you’re looking for. Reach out to them directly – or try contacting the university and asking them to send a message to your fellow alumni with details of your search. 

4. Conferences and tech events 

You knew we were going to say it – tech conferences and in-person events are brilliant places to expand your network, connect with enthusiastic peers, and potentially find your ideal co-founder. 

As McDonnell put it,

“The people you meet and the conversations you have at events like LEAP, which are intersections for many disciplines, tend to be unexpected and help you to think outside of the box — which is essential for innovation everywhere.” 

And as well as enabling your innovative thought processes, LEAP is alive with energy, momentum, and drive. Events like this give you a unique opportunity to meet potential partners while they’re already feeling inspired and motivated – and that makes for a very good start. 

5. Startup incubators and accelerators 

If you already have a minimum viable product (MVP), you could apply for an accelerator program. They’re short, intense programs specifically designed to help founders grow their businesses fast – and they’re great for networking. 

But if you don’t have an MVP and your startup is still at the idea stage, you can still apply for incubator programs. They’re less competitive, and they’re geared at helping you in the very first stages of establishing your business – offering resources, networking opportunities, mentorship and key business services. 

You might meet another entrepreneur with an idea that can merge with yours to become a better idea. Or the incubator might be able to connect you with your ideal technical co-founder to enable the development of your product.

6. Matchmaking sites 

Sites like CoFoundersLab, StartHawk, and Y Combinator’s co-founder matching platform exist to solve exactly this problem: 

Like dating sites, they matchmake you with your perfect partners in business. You create a profile that details exactly what you’re searching for, and the platform’s algorithm offers up all potential matches. 

You reach out to those matches, have a chat, and take it from there. 

The key ingredient in a good co-founder: passion for your idea

McDonnell said,

“Our founding team has a deep appreciation for the power of single cell technologies, and saw an opportunity to combine underutilised tools to screen and identify antibodies from human immune systems.” 

Your future co-founder might never have had an idea like yours, but they’ve got to have good reason to care about it. They need to have a passion for the sector you want to launch into, or the problem you’re trying to solve. 

Technical skills are important, obviously. But people who have the skills but no passion for your idea aren’t going to want to invest their time and energy in the daunting task of growing a startup with you. 

So start your conversations with a clear focus on your vision – and look for signs that they share that vision in a meaningful way. 


Have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts.

Catch you next week,
Richard McKeon
Group Marketing Director

The dates for LEAP 2025 have been announced. Mark your calendars for 📅 10-13 February 2025. Register to attend.

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