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How did you find your cofounder?
13 points by limeade 3518 days ago | hide | past | web | 32 comments | favorite
I'm a grad student at Stanford looking for a cofounder but haven't had any luck yet. All my friends are extremely busy working in lab. Should we organize some kind of a meetup?



I strongly recommend finding a friend you've known for a while who's willing to start a startup with you. You want to have more holding you together than just the company. Isn't there someone you know from college?


Or form school, in my case my co-founder is my neighbor, I know him since we were six, thats like 22 years ago.

The thing about close friends is that the friendship will help you a lot when discussing the business, there are a lot of business that break out because a bad relationship among founders.


Yeah, maybe I should give this a shot. The problem is that almost all of my college friends are also in grad school, so it would take some serious convincing....if only we didn't love science so much...


When we started Viaweb, I was done with grad school but Rtm and Trevor were still in it. That worked out ok. Grad student procrastination is actually quite a powerful force. It's ok if some founders are still in school, so long as (a) the ringleader isn't and (b) the ones still in school are willing to put a good deal of time into the startup.


You could wait a couple years, when it's a good bet that 90% of your college friends will want to leave grad school. They'll take much less convincing then.


In a couple of years that business idea will surely be done by someone else. I think that the best time for doing something is now.


On a related note, have you seen 'Startup.com'?


I found my cofounder (or more accurately, he found me) via weekly video game sessions in college. Since our startup deals with games, it seemed like a natural fit.

More broadly speaking, I suggest starting with "what kind of person do I need?" and go from there. For example, if your idea is to build a social networking site for environmentalists, I would see if I had any friends studying Environmental Science. Or if you're a business guy in need of a coder, I would hang around the Computer Science department.


Have you got a product idea? If so then start building something right-away and talking to people about it -- promote it, attend barcamps, democamps, etc.. Eventually you will find someone who believes in it and will want to work with you on it and refine it, i.e. a co-founder.

My present founding team consists of people I knew, trusted and was friends with prior to starting work on my product. But they did not start working with me at the same time I started out.


I would just focus on finding good friends who are hackers.

The co-founder relationship will form naturally when/if both of you are ready to start a company. You are in a great place to meet good hackers. Who knows, maybe some of the friends you are meeting now will become future business partners.

One of my co-founders was just a friend in school who I worked together with on projects. After school, we began working at the same company before starting to talk about leaving to do a startup. But if I would have asked him in school I'm sure he would have said "are you crazy".. Some people just need some convincing :)

Another co-founder is a cousin but we've been talking about this stuff for over 10 years so that choice was obvious.


In a chat room, eight years ago. Full story here: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2007/may.htm Cheers Sahar http://www.conceptualist.com


All I can say is Wow!!


I worked with Dinesh, my co-founder in RailsFactory, on two occassions and I used to be his boss.

I knew his technical skills, but he was more than that, a great guy and a family friend.

Though there were over 20 developers whom I managed, but he was the chosen one :)

only after a 2 year period, we went on to start our company.

my suggestion, get someone whom you dont mind meeting at anytime of the day, any place in the world, with whom you share many things in common.

startups are stressful, dont get someone who has financial and personal problems( more than you).someone who can commit minimum one year of his/her life for the Idea and you


On Craigslist. I put an ad up about my current company and that I was looking for a cofounder. I was contacted by two people. I contacted the first, but he never messaged me back. I corresponded with the second for a bit, and after a few emails we realized we had met before at a hacker party called Super Happy Dev House. We met for lunch, and the rest is history.

You should come to the next Devhouse http://superhappydevhouse.org/SuperHappyDevHouse21. It's on Nov 10th in SF.


I went to a small liberal arts college, so I knew my co-founders through class and other social circles. I had an idea, one co-founder said "I think it could be done." The other guy, we asked to join when we saw him walking back from class because we were talking about getting someone who was a good hacker.


I also think you need to find someone that is as dedicated as you are, and if not they make it clear and you will be compensated appropriately... the worst thing is to find yourself working with someone that is not as enthusiastic or committed about the project as you are ... for instance, if you work full-time on the project and your partner decides that he needs to have a job and work part time with you, there would eventually be problems ...

Also try to find someone that can complement you, i.e. if you know your weaknesses then find someone that is strong at those (of course things that matter to your business)


Ever since that night we've been together.

Cofounders at first sight, incorporated forever.

It turned out so right,

For strangers in the night.


One of my co-founders and I have been friends since high school and later ended up working at Atari together. He ended up leaving Atari for another game development company where he met our third co-founder.


@limeade -- I don't live in SF ... but if everything makes sense I would move down there to work on something good ... I also have some ideas myself :) you can find my email address on my profile ...


limeade -- I'm a grad student at Stanford too. Drop me an email, I'd love to chat about this and other topics. My email address is on my user page.


I assume you've googled around a bit and found there is no simple answer to this question. I'd say posting site like this is your best bet. Do you know what you're looking for? I ran a successful startup/small company and this is my advise - YMMV.

1) you're looking for someone who has similar values yet contrasting /knowledge/skills/abilities (KSA) The similar values makes them a 'potential friend' and that's the best you can aim for. In the past I made the mistake like so many co-founder do, of connecting with ppl because of our common KSA. At first it's very easy to get along with someone who is equally passionate about, say, linux. Over time your conflicting philosophies will lead to a poopy_work_environment(tm)... at which point you'll mostly like start the "why I hate this person" list to help validate breaking apart the company. I assume it's very similar to a marriage/divorce.

2) Understand that nothing is more important than the 'who' The person/ppl you choose to build a company with will make you who you're going to become. If your values are similar you'll agree quickly on possible problems and get up into a high level of creativity when brainstorming solutions. The process will be rapid and you'll alter your ideas with nothing more than an "um" from the other person/co-founder... You'll know exactly what they're thinking. You're a product of your environment so nothing is more important to you than the 'who'.

3) filtering Let's say you get 100 ppl interested in working with you, how do you choose? I recommend tracking down someone who's studied Industrial and Organizational Psychology. I was lucky to find two post-grads from a local university (UW) here in Waterloo and they suggested I read the textbook "Human Resource Selection, 5th ed., by R.D. Gatewood and H.S. Field). They also assisted with a few filters. The best I'd say is to create a 'structured interview'. This will help you interpret a persons values.

4) pick a small 'what' Once you've gathered your 'potential friends', choose a small problem/project to work on -- even if it's for free. Make sure the project is meaty enough (6months?). The purpose is to alpha-test your startup. Especially watch how/if you all resolve conflict. I suggest agreeing before hand on the most pragmatic approach possible... something like, if we reach an impass than we'll flip a coin... watch how the person who didn't get his/her way responds (especially if that's you).

5) try find someone who has already run the race -- successfully! Imagine this 'potential friend' was someone like pg. Their insight will handicap your odds of success.

6) Do not rush it. At worst get a job at Burger King and wait.

I hope that's coherent. I apologize for the length of this post, it wasn't intended. If you have further questions, you can email me at dollarsignfoo@gmail.com -steve


I recommend homeless shelters. They're surprisingly good hackers and are willing to work for very little equity.


Is -8 a record?


Not even close: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=71155

Seems like we have a fairly prim audience here...


I wonder if it's not so much primness as a desire to steer threads away from the sort of boring/crude one-liners that reddit can often devolve into.


I am not in favor of huge downvotes. I think a 0 or a -1 is enough for someone to get the idea that people don't approve. Heaping on the votes is sort of pointless.


Probably partly. But readers here also seem to pounce on some comments that are politically incorrect.


Yes, I think poor juwo would agree with that statement.


I upmodded both of them


Looks like I have a new goal in life. -23, here I come.


there..I helped you tie the record





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