Career Development

How to find a co-founder for a startup in 2024?

60% of startups fail because of conflict between co-founders. This edifying statistic demonstrates the importance of surrounding yourself well when launching into entrepreneurship.

What is a co-founder, how does it differ from an employee?

Recruiting a co-founder differs from traditional recruitment of an employee:

  • The commitment is stronger because we are looking for someone who will own shares in the company
  • The person will arrive in a project at its beginnings, in creation or in development
  • At the start of a project, the remuneration will be very low or even non-existent compared to the market for startup salaries

Why do you want to find a partner?

Several reasons can push a startup founder to look for a partner:

  • It is easier to undertake with two or three people than alone
  • An associate can represent valuable moral support, in an adventure which can sometimes be difficult.
  • Adding a co-founder means adding skills, expertise, experiences, a network…
  • An associate initially present in the adventure leaves, and he must now be replaced

All of these reasons may push you to look for a new partner and entrepreneur.

How to recruit a co-founder and where to find them?

Use your network

The most frequently used way to build a team of startup co-founders is through your network. Many startups and scale-ups were launched by childhood friends, school friends, or former work colleagues.

Indeed, starting a business with someone you know can provide strong certainty about the ability to work together in the long term. Be careful, however, to distinguish between a friendly relationship and a professional relationship. You can get along very well with someone in everyday life but have great difficulty interacting in a professional environment.

In this context, founding a start-up with a work colleague is a good compromise, because it allows us to launch an entrepreneurial adventure with a person we have already worked with in a professional environment during our career.

So, do not hesitate to:

  • Talk as much as possible about your project to those around you. If this is not your direct network, perhaps friends of friends will be your future associates
  • Relay your research on the networks by asking those around you to share your request as widely as possible

Post an ad or job offer

It is possible to find an associate by posting an ad. Although it is not the most common way, it would be a shame to deprive yourself of this means which can be effective in finding your future co-founder.

Where to post your ad? Specialized job boards around the world of startups, entrepreneurship and Tech exist (Licorne Society, Welcome To The Jungle, etc.)

Go through specialized platforms

Some sites specialize in recruiting co-founders in France. This is particularly true for technical co-founder profiles (Lead Developer, Fullstack developer, CTO).

We can notably cite the site which offers to find a Tech / CTO co-founder.

The site also has a “Co-founder announcements” section which allows companies to relay their job offers.

Request a specialist startup recruitment firm

Some startup recruitment firms can support young startups who are looking for their first recruitment, as an Associate or Late Founder.

This is particularly the case of the recruitment platform Licorne Society, which has already supported numerous startups who were looking for a co-founder.

Some examples of recruitment missions carried out by Licorne Society:

The criteria for recruiting a co-founder

The human fit between the founders

You will spend more time with your partner than with your family or friends for the next four years. Once this sentence, which is quite close to reality, is integrated, it is obvious that it is a question of getting along well with your associates!

Some tips to ensure that the fit is there:

  • Increase discussions during the recruitment and selection process
  • Meet the associate in person

A period of mutual testing may be necessary to reassure all stakeholders of the ability to work and collaborate together over the long term.

Complementarity of skills and experiences

Beyond additional work capacity, looking for an associate also means looking for specific skills or experience. For example :

  • “I have a Business profile, I’m looking for a Tech profile”
  • “I have a Tech/Product profile, I am looking for a Business/Marketing profile”
  • “I have experience in the sector in question, am I looking for someone who has already worked in a startup or scale-up?”

Depending on the case, many options are possible. The key will be to ensure that you find the candidate who meets the criteria of skills and experience set.

A vision close to entrepreneurship

The objective and mission of the company must unite the partners towards a common goal. It is therefore a question of aligning ourselves with the reasons which push the co-founders to undertake:

  • Is it with the aim of having a project with a positive impact on society?
  • Are the co-founders looking for an entrepreneurial adventure?
  • Is the objective to exit and resell the company in the medium/long term?

Stakeholders must be on the same page regarding the vision of the business and society.

What are the terms of association once the profile is recruited?

Once the profile has been identified, the idea is to offer them an association offer.

This will be available according to the terms below:

  • A percentage of the company’s shares (this could reach 50% of the shares in the case of a very young project)
  • The price at which the partner will have to buy back the company’s shares (often the par value of the shares for young startups)
  • The vesting period. The co-founder can own all of his shares from the start, but he can also gradually release them over 3 to 4 years in general.
  • The monthly salary of the co-founder

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