A question I get a lot, and just heard again last week from a recent college grad, is “do I need a technical co-founder”? Everyone reads the same books and articles, and most of these say, “if you are not a developer yourself then you need a technical co-founder”. There is a perception that the big accelerator programs like Y Combinator won’t accept your startup without a technical co-founder.
My advice is usually a little different on this. Technology can often be effectively outsourced in the early days. Your company may still be trying to figure out what your product is and who your customers are. If you can get to a solid MVP without giving up a huge chunk of your company to a technical co-founder, that can often be the best way to get started.
I also encourage founders to think about what is most important for your company at that moment in time. What skillset is missing from the company that can move the needle today? If you have a basic product and really need an ace marketer, then finding someone with that skill set might be more important in a co-founder. Maybe you need a salesperson that has relationships with big companies you want to sell your product or services to, then that might be a better co-founder target.
My main advice is figure out what your personal strengths are and what you are missing, and don’t just assume you need a technical co-founder immediately. Also don’t underestimate the commitment you are making when you bring in a co-founder. From my personal experience, it is certainly like a marriage. You are going to be joined at the hip to this person for a long time. Don’t rush into it for the wrong reasons, but that will be a topic for another Founder’s Coach episode soon.
That’s it for today’s Founder Coach post, I hope this helps you with your own business.