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Looking for a Technical CoFounder
111 points by adennis4 on Mar 16, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments
I have a website that needs help getting to the next level. The site has been producing revenue since July 2010, although it is not yet profitable. I need a Technical Co-Founder to help with this push.

We are an online marketplace for spas and salons to list their slower appointment times, typically at a discount. We partner with spas, and when a client books through our site, we take a cut of the transaction. Currently, we work with spas in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle.

The site is built in Django. Once an appointment is booked an email is automatically sent and we utilize Twilio for automated phone calls to the spas. There are between 5 - 10 transactions per week, but this needs to be pushed to the next level.

One of the biggest challenges is just getting eyeballs to the site. Currently we get 50 - 100 daily visitors, 1/3 of which is from paid traffic. We are looking to increase organic traffic. Ideas on this front will likely be the biggest driver of site success.

Why I'm a good cofounder for you: I'm a business guy. I need a tech guy. But I'm not just a bum business guy. I've gone through Zed Shaw's Learn Python the Hard Way and Python Osmosis. I'm still not any good, but I really want to get to the point where I can contribute code as well. I will work hard to deliver as a business cofounder, while also learning the tech side.

I hustle. Hard. I went out and talked to hundreds of spas to get partnerships with them, I know the industry problems inside and out, and I have good connections with the businesses we work with. Further, I have managed contractors to build the site, to do some PR and marketing work, and to reach the spas. I raised money to finance the building of the site. I have a letter of intent for further investment once we hit higher revenue targets...access to more money.

What I'm looking for:

- Django and Python fluent

- SEO background

- Execute online marketing and email campaigns

- Grow our consumer side

- Location: Chicago preferred, but we can work it out with other locations

I'm not looking for a code monkey. I'm looking for a partner. I have a strong bias towards a local Chicago developer. Location, ultimately, isn't important because I will move to your city for the first couple of months to really get this thing going in the right direction. Working in the same room is very important to me.

Also, to be clear: I am NOT looking for someone who has a full-time job / freelance gigs, and wants to spend 10 hours a week on this with me as a cofounder. I'm fully committed to this and I want someone who is able to fully commit to it as well.

Why is this a great opportunity?: - I am offering 1/3 equity in the company (terms to be discussed) - The site is built, operational, and producing revenue - A chance to take a project and help mold it into a success - Proven to obtain funding and if necessary will secure more funding

Interested in talking more?? Contact me at andrew.dennis@spaciety.com and let's get the dialogue started.

I have worked with and known adennis4 for 4 years and want to vouch for him.

What he's leaving out is that he's incredibly motivated, hard working, and doesn't take no for an answer. He is one of the most outgoing and charismatic guys I know and I'd bet on him to succeed in his ventures through sheer force of will.

He isn't a programmer, but he's trying to learn the ropes. He's still no slouch. He is the "everything else" guy every startup should dream of having. If he doesn't know how to do it, he'll either find out how or find the person who does. This post is him trying to find the person who can propel him to the next level.

Not only is he a good startup bet, he's a guy you just want to be friends with. I cannot sing his praises enough. I would love to work with him, but I can't offer him what he needs. My best guess as a half-hacker is that he needs a guy somewhere between: http://abstractnonsense.com/life-at-a-startup/ and http://startup-marketing.com/where-are-all-the-growth-hacker... (or patio11. that would do nicely.)

Best of luck Andrew.

I'm honored to be mentioned, but am kinda busy at the moment. (There's another Twilio-using spa-helping revenue-generating app which wants my attention.)

This is the best "Looking for Tech CoFounder" I've seen in a while on HN! I've been commenting on the bad ones and giving them advice on how to word it correctly. Thanks to this post, I can just reply in the future with a link to this thread. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

I so wish I were in a position to help you - I would use this service in an instant and can tell that you will be wildly successful. Sadly, I have to work full-time to pay my bills and I'm a rails guy, not a django guy.

Someone is going to be very lucky to get involved with you. Please come back and let us know when you get that hockey stick curve - it WILL happen - I'm CERTAIN of that.

FYI - if you decide to expand your offering to Southern California, please let me know. My email is in my profile. My fiance can get the spa's signed up - this would be a dream job for her (not partner - just sales rep).

Thanks. It's been a tough road...always going up hill. I hope your prophetic words ring true. We'll get to SoCal eventually...I'll be sure to knock on your door when we do.

What I love about this pitch from a non-technical co-founder -- he tells us:

1. What he brings to the table, that he can/will hustle and is committed.

2. What he has already accomplished/shows that he can and will hustle. He is actively trying to learn more about the technical side.

3. He's very clear about what he's looking for.

4. He knows that he needs help and he's not shy about asking for it.

Good luck!

At last - a full, complete request for something concrete, outlining the whole deal. Kudos to you sir - I tips my hat.

I am not the droid[1] ahem person you're looking for, but I hope you find them, and subsequently (or otherwise!) success.

[1] Star Wars reference - I can see you're not looking for a droid.

Ha...yes...thanks for the footnote clarification.

Sounds like you've made some great steps already. A technical co-founder could really take you to the next level. I would however not rule out working with them part time before, as jumping head on in with a new technical cofounder is a bit like getting married after a first date. There should be a bit more of an exhaustive process gone through, which will payoff much better in the long run for you.

"One of the biggest challenges is just getting eyeballs to the site." -> maybe you need seo/marketing instead of a technical co-founder? (Or both)

2 things:

* Contact information? The "email" field in your profile is not publicly visible. How should people get in touch with you?

* San Francisco, not San Fransisco.

Really good post though, I hope you have luck finding the perfect person!

Noted. Edited. Updated.


I'm one of the two developers that got the site built at first (as a contractor gig). I can vouch for adennis being really awesome to work with and being a good hustler.

Yeah Rigo...I was wondering how long it was going to take you to speak up.

Good luck. I am in the same situation. I had a promising lead coming out of my submission (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2320490), but it did not work out due to conflict of schedules. I hope that you will be able to find someone. Best of luck.

Thanks. Yeah, we originally had somewhat of a technical cofounder who did great work for us. He, ultimately, had a lot of other stuff on his plate...so it didn't work out. It's a lot harder to move forward than I thought without one.

Someone good will always be in high demand. Edit: How about going to campuses around Chicago and posting an add for a co founder? There may be a Zukenburg type of a kid out there waiting for his potential to be discovered? Also, they may be willing to devote a lot of time to the project. Just have them sign an NDA...:P

Depending on your take on the situation, I'm thinking Zuckerberg is likely the last person you want as a co-founder.

I don't know, both the Winklebros twins and Saverin seemed to have done quite well (financially) out of 'co-founding' with Zuckerberg

How do you compete with Spafinder and spaemergency ?

SpaEmergency is a gift certificate website. A person goes there to purchase a gift for someone else. That person then has to call the spa to book an appointment. We are an online booking hub. Clients typically book for themselves or a significant other thru our site...no need to call the spa. We don't currently do gift certificates, but that's a big game...and something I would eventually like to offer.

SpaFinder is a huge name in the spa industry. There focus isn't (yet) on online booking. They offer it with their POS system (14 spas using in Chicago), which other POS companies do as well. Changing over from one POS to another is a pain, and a long process. They are a lot bigger in the gift certificate world as well.

To answer your question vaguely - (1.) I get a technical co-founder - (2.) I bust my ass

Great post! Finding a great technical co-founder may not be easy, but waiting for the right fit is key. I consider myself lucky to have found the perfect partner in the early days.

On the subject of SEO, one key thing you can do is to start a blog. There's got to be lots of content you can generate around different spa treatments and the like. When it comes to ranking well, this is probably the biggest thing you can do to influence it. You can "optimize" all you want, but without fresh content updated regularly, you will never rank well.

Jonathan AutoSlash.com http://www.autoslash.com

Man, I'm in almost the exact opposite position. I'm a technical sole founder, working hard on building a product. I have no clue what to do from a business/funding/sales perspective. I could really use a strong, non bullshitting business guy who knows enough tech to at least listen patiently while I talk through technical issues/roadblocks/brain farts, and who can handle the rest of the "stuff" that doesn't sound like fun to me.

Hey Andrew,

I think you need 2 people - one marketing person and one developer. It's going to be hard to find someone who has killer technical skills and also gets how to do the SEO/online marketing that you need. Plus 3-person founding teams are the strongest.

I wish you were looking for a concept (and wanted to be part of my team) rather than had your own ideas and were willing to come to DC. You sound like a great person to work with. Good luck!

Hey, I appreciate it. I know I need two people...that's why I want to find one really, really hungry developer.

You never know...we may work together one day in the future. I've still got loads to learn on my end, and whether this project is a success or not...I'm hoping it teaches me a lot. Best of luck to you and your ventures in DC.

A great Pitch ! I know you state you are looking for a full time co-founder but if you ever need help with Social media fan generation, community management and digital PR please get in touch and i would love to contribute some hours (although probably only around 10-15 hours per month).

Best of luck !

Aman Kumra amankumra.com hello@amankumra.com

This is definitely the best "Looking for a technical co-founder" post I have ever seen. While I can't help you (Rails guy, can't full time etc.), I wish you all the best. Something about your post tells me you will succeed :)

Please let us know if you find someone. If this post can't convince a technical cofounder to come on board, then no one else has a chance.

I've received a lot of positive feedback...already been in contact with several (seemingly) talented developers. On top of that, this hacker community has been so eager to reach out, introduce themselves, and offer advice, motivation, or to buy me a beer. This is truly a unique and very lucky community to be able to all work together and pull for one another. Glad that I've recently become a part of it.

Good luck dude! I am in Chicago - hope you can find someone local and keep some of the startup mojo around here!


What success or not have you had in going through the local Django/Python groups say meetup, etc?

Your choices:

1. Contractor that has built up savings for long-haul. 2. Contractor that has had one startup success already. 3. Current site attracting Incubator interest and low seed capital round.

VC wise it may be too niche..Lightbankk has a better place site called Betterfly(its also the startup name as LightBank is the incubator)..that is not niche based and seems to overlap your area.

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