Kabir Hemrajani: 5 Tips for Finding a Technical Co-Founder

A major hurdle for bizdev folks interested in tech startups is connecting with technical people that share their vision and are able to execute. I've been extremely lucky to find an amazing developer to bring RiotVine to life and this is what I learned along the way:



5 Tips for Finding a Technical Co-Founder


1) Know what to look for.

Clearly define what you need. Don't look for a mobile developer. Look for a mobile developer with Objective C/Cocoa Touch experience with an app published in the App Store, and/or Android experience. You need to start with a real job description. 


2) Do your homework.

The best way to figure out that job description is talk to developers. Ask if it's okay to crash a local developer meetup and offer to buy a developer a beer for talking to you. Describe the work involved, ask what the best route to get it implemented is and take notes. Push yourself to get technical and learn as much as you can about different languages, backends, databases, hosting options and development platforms out there.


3) Focus on where to look.

Your ideal candidate is smart, engaged, loves their work and wants to create something fun, unique and potentially world changing. Does that sound like someone searching for a job on Craigslist? Try searching for meetups and online developer communities because many of those resources have job boards. A developer on Joel Spolsky's job board about software development will beat one you find on Monster any day.


4) Reach out.

Don't simply post what you're looking for online and expect someone to fall in your lap; you should be the one actively reaching out to developers to see if they're looking for new projects. Sell them on your ideas, understanding of the market and your passion if you want them to work for equity. 


5) Do they love to code?

Find out what they like to do in their free time. If it's code, then you're talking to the real deal. You need someone who is crazy about coding to be your co-founder.


For RiotVine, I wanted an open source development platform with a focus on scalability and fast iteration and a dedicated community of developers. From the devs I spoke to, Django seemed the best fit. Based on that, I googled "django development" and came across sites like djangoproject.comdjangosites.com and djangogigs.com. The last one has a number of firms that focus on Django development and I interviewed the hell out of every one of them.


If you put in the time, you can find a great developer. Just follow these tips and you'll not only have a much better chance of finding them, but you'll better understand the technical needs of your startup. 


Additional resources I'd recommend: http://venturehacks.com/articles/co-founder-interview. Got additional questions? Leave a note in the comments.



Kabir Hemrajani is the founder of RiotVine, a social event guide that helps you discover and share events with friends. You can follow him on Twitter @KabirH

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the other "non-technical"

the other "non-technical" founder has to have some complementary skills: sales, marketing, finance, fund raising, etc. whatever. otherwise, the technical guy is gonna think that you're asking for free work:





Additional Resources

Great article, Kabir!  Thanks for taking the time.

Here are some additional resources people may find useful:




Google Docs Co-Founder Wish List: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AgCvDTyBjHdOdDFfMENqeWVGNVFxTXdn...


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Jason Evanish
CEO / Co-Founder
Greenhorn Connect
Twitter: @Evanish


Excellent advice

I especially like the comment about Craig's List.  Has anyone out there found Craig's list useful?

Nail on the Head

Kudos to Kabir for this. Spot on, and concise. :)

Josh Bob