Everyone wants a technical cofounder: Here’s what drives them away – StartupSmart

Finding a technical cofounder is one of the biggest issues in the startup community, where the number of developers can’t match those with the next big idea. But the constant deluge of pitches is fatiguing developers who are more often than not either working on their own thing, or stretched with current projects.


Web Directions founder John Allsop told StartupSmart any technical cofounder worth engaging should be sceptical of an entrepreneur at first.


“Anyone who is technically proficient enough to be a cofounder will have learned a lot of lessons,” he says. “Tech cofounders are not just your own coder, they’re going to need to be involved in hiring and growing teams.”


According to Allsop, the quickest way to make a potential tech cofounder bolt is to approach them claiming to have the next Facebook, which just needs a developer and with no mention of funding.


“It just shows no respect,” Allsop says. “There is a concern expressed generally by technical folk that non-technical folk are looking to get cheap labour. It’s not always true, but it does set off alarm bells. I do think it’s getting worse in the tech start-up bubble environment.”


The recent explosion of tech start-ups has created a developer’s market.


Pat Allen, coordinator of Melbourne’s Ruby on Rails meet-up, told StartupSmart no talented developer is without well-paying options so non-tech cofounders need to compete.


“We want to know what makes you so good we should go with you. It’s hard to communicate credentials across skill sets but you both need to know what you bring to the table.”


Wanting to address the issue, Startup Victoria is coordinating Co-founder Connect, a monthly event to bring aspiring tech and non-tech entrepreneurs together that will launch on Wednesday, April 2 at Melbourne coworking space Inspire9.


Event coordinator Scott Handsaker told StartupSmart the Melbourne startup community had almost doubled the number of non-tech founders to tech founders.


“It’s incredibly hard to find a tech cofounder. I reckon it is a billion dollar problem as it’s almost the biggest pain point in any ecosystem all over the world.”


Handsaker says aspiring startup founders should expect a 12 month timeframe for their hunt to find the perfect partner.


“Make sure you spend a few months on a side project. If you haven’t killed each by the end of that, maybe you’ll make good cofounders.”

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