Finding a technical co-founder is hard. Non-technical entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs ask me how to find one on a pretty regular basis. I usually name a few events in Boulder where developers show up and wish them luck. Recently, however, I decided to add a parting thought: having a hard time finding a technical co-founder may be a sign that you and your idea aren't compelling enough.
It's well known that technical talent is hard to come by. At Quick Left we're constantly on the hunt for the best developers and there just aren't enough to go around. In fact, our Careers page always has an opening. Always. Non-technical co-founders need to understand that the most talented developers have a lot of options: web development firms, existing startups, stable companies, independent contracting, and launching a startup without you.
In Boulder, there are a few places I recommend that people look for technical co-founders:
- CoFoundersLab, with Kent Riggs acting as ambassador (Kent and my friends at TechStars are hostingCoFounders Wanted of Boulder 1/30/13 at 7pm)
- Boulder Open Coffee Club, organized by Michael Sitarzewski and Doyle Albee
- Pitch to Developers, organized by Alon Katz
- Boulder Denver New Tech, organized by Robert Reich
Make the rounds, get to know some folks, and pitch, pitch pitch. Keep in mind that you're looking for a long term partner, not a one night stand, so slow down and get to know the person well. That said, if you're having a hard time finding anybody to show interest, it may be time to take a hard look at the team you already have in place and at the idea itself.
It may not be that there aren't enough candidates, but rather that the few available technical co-founders who are out there just aren't that impressed with what you're working on. Technical co-founders are picky. So are investors and customers. If you can't find a co-founder, take that as a sign that you've got some important work to do above and beyond tracking them down. Maybe it's your business model. Maybe it's you.
Look in the right places. Then look in the mirror.