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When reading about how to find a technical co-founder, you tend to see some pretty consistent advice. Thou shalt go to networking events! Thou shalt first build an MVP! Etc etc. But do those strategies really work? And why is everyone talking in Old English?
I took this question to the streets, and here's what I found:
“Last June, I pretty much begged Harper (Reed), one of our advisers, to send me great candidates he didn’t hire for the Obama campaign technical team. A week later he calls me and says, “This guy Brantley turned me down. He’s a beast. You should hire him.” So I did. And he is indeed a programming beast. This January he came on as CTO and technical cofounder.” – Jason Goodrich, CEO of Shortlist
“Back in 2008, Craig Ulliott and I met at his travel startup, Where I’ve Been. He was the co-founder and CTO. I was the Social Media Manager. Soon after I started working there, we began dating! August 2010, I decided to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit and start SocialKaty. Craig loved the idea so much that he built the first version of the site AND became my co-founder. Let’s just say, I am one lucky gal!” – Katy Lynch, President of SocialKaty
“My co-founder Ryan is a fantastic developer and had been a good friend of mine for years, I would constantly come to him with business ideas, he would constantly shoot them all down. That is until I pitched him on Snapclass.” - Scott Mandel, CEO of Snapclass
“ My big secret was being in an incubator. And using Twitter. Our incubator tweeted that we needed a CTO. The fact that a top 10 incubator tweeted about it prequalified us in the applicants’ minds.” - Ariane Fisher, COO of Storymix
“I found my co-founder at a Chicago Social Dev Camp hackathon. After working on the product together and seeing how each other worked over 54 hours of high stress development, we knew we could work together and build something special.” -Imran Ahmed, CEO of Edit Huddle
“The MsTech group facilitated my introduction to the partners I had always dreamed of!!! From one amazing Stella Fayman to another amazing Marcy Capron and BOOM… PrettyQuick had the technical, design, and digital strategy horsepower it needed to finally get of the ground.” - Coco Meers, CEO of PrettyQuick
“George and I have known each other for 24 years. Kindergarten is how we found each other” – Will Del Genio, CTO at WeGather
And last but not least, Project Fixup, I met my co-founder after Starr Marcello at the Polsky Center introduced us because we were working on two somewhat similar startups. We had an amazing 2-hour coffee conversation and a few weeks later decided to ditch our old ideas to come together to transform dating.
So, there you have it. Not actually the most encouraging of news. Needing to have known someone for years and/or participating in an elite accelerator to find a technical co-founder is kind of like needing a billion dollars and an eccentric butler to become a superhero. Startup Weekend style events and friends of friends perhaps a bit more reasonable.
And who knows, I am sure there are some tales of serendipitously meeting at networking events out there. What’s your story of how you met your technical co-founder?
Sarah Press is co-founder of Project Fixup, perhaps the first dating startup ever with more girls than guys currently signed up. She also started a personal blog today called Project Sarah and is rather excited about it. Holler back at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime to grab coffee and chat.