Need Help? Resources to Find a Cofounder for a Startup

5 min read

Founding a startup is no easy feat. To succeed, you’ll need a great idea, team members who are smart and hard-working employees, and a bit of luck on your side.

But of all the factors you have to consider when starting a company, one could be the most important of all: how to find the perfect co-founder. Your choice of cofounder will affect everything from your product development to your fundraising—so it’s essential to find the right one.

If you’re currently searching for a co-founder (or thinking about starting the process), we’re here to help. Below, we’ll discuss how to find a cofounder for a startup, as well as how to evaluate your options and make the best choice for your business.

How many co-founders should a startup have?

Before you decide where to find the right co-founder, you’ll need to figure out how many cofounders you want to have. While there’s no single right answer, successful startups tend to have two or three cofounders. However, it’s possible to do well with more than this number, and it’s also possible to succeed as a solo founder.

Why do most people in the startup community say that you should limit the number of cofounders? Below are some potential issues with having many cofounders:

  • The old adage of “too many cooks in the kitchen” holds true in the world of business. Having multiple cofounders makes it more likely that you’ll encounter conflicts and disagreements when making important decisions.
  • With more people on your leadership team, you’re also assuming a greater amount of risk. For example, one of your cofounders could be the wrong fit for the position, or could depart the business at a crucial moment.
  • Cofounders deserve to be compensated fairly for their work. As a consequence, however, having too many cofounders will dilute your own equity stake when it’s time to plan your exit.

On the flip side, there are also potential issues with building a startup as a solo founder:

  • Investors are much more likely to take your business seriously if you have two or more people on your founding team. According to a joint NYU/Wharton study, startups with multiple founders raise more funding than solo ventures.
  • Having one or more cofounders on deck can help you fill in any gaps in your own knowledge and experience. Business-minded founders need a technical cofounder to oversee product development, while technical founders need business experts to help the company grow.

If you’ve already decided that you need to hire cofounders for your startup, the next step is to determine how and when to find a co-founder.

How do I choose a co-founder?

There’s no shortage of tech startup advice from founders about how to find the perfect business partner. Below are some of our own tips and tricks for how to find the right co-founder:

  • Look for complementary skills: Cofounders should have skill sets that complement each other well, making up for any of their own weaknesses. For example, if you couldn’t code your way out of a paper bag, your emphasis should be on finding a technical co-founder.
  • Find the right personality match: If all goes well, you’ll be working closely with your potential co-founders for months or years. Make sure that your cofounder has the type of personality that meshes with your own.
  • Share the same vision: Your choice of cofounder should agree with you when it comes to the most important aspects of your business. This includes sharing a vision and exit strategy for the company, as well as having the same core business values (e.g. integrity, innovation, or a customer-first mindset).

You’ll also need to work out some logistical questions when you hire a cofounder. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll have to decide the amount of equity each cofounder has in the business. Cofounders should receive a stake that adequately reflects their contribution. However, splitting equity 50/50 (or equally among all cofounders) can be risky—there’s no way to break ties if you have a fundamental disagreement.

Where can I find a cofounder for my startup?

We’ve discussed the factors to consider for how to find a co-founder. But where can you actually locate the most promising candidates?

  • “Founder dating” websites: The Tinder model isn’t just for romantic relationships anymore. A number of so-called “founder dating” websites have sprung up so you can match with potential cofounders and pitch your idea. These platforms include Founders Nation, CoFoundersLab, StartHawk,, and Y Combinator’s co-founder matching platform.
  • Social media: Websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent places for the startup community to meet people and connect. If you’re looking for a technical cofounder, Twitter has a number of communities where people organize around a particular technology, software, or programming language. LinkedIn is the most professional social network, and lets you search for people based on education, job history, skills, keywords, and other criteria. You can even place cofounder job ads on Facebook that target a specific audience (e.g. users interested in a certain technology or job skill).
  • Online communities: Besides social media, there are a number of online communities where like-minded entrepreneurs can network with each other. Platforms such as Reddit, Discord, and Slack let users organize around specific interests or topics. Reddit, for one, hosts “subreddits” such as r/startups, r/startupjobs, and r/cofounder where you can seek advice and look for business partners.
  • Startup events: In-person events in your local startup community are a great way to find people who might fit your cofounder criteria. For example, “Startup Weekends” are entrepreneurial hackathons in which teams compete to generate and execute a business idea within a particular topic. Many Startup Weekend participants go on to develop a full-fledged company after the competition. Other possibilities include local tech conferences, entrepreneurship talks, networking events, and courses on business and management.
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