Why You Should Stop Looking For a Technical Co-Founder

Mallory Merrill


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You’ve got a great basic idea for a web app, mobile app, or software service. Simply thinking about this idea keeps you up at night. You can’t wait to get it out into the world, but you don’t know what to do next.

A lot of founders who don’t have the technical chops to code an app from the ground up immediately start to search for a technical co-founder to help bring their app into the world. This does seem like the logical next step, but we believe this might be a waste of your valuable time.

Below we dive into a few reasons why you need to stop looking for a technical co-founder. A lot of the app creation process can be done by you, even without any technical knowledge.

Let’s get to it.

Why You Don’t Need a Technical Co-Founder


Photo via: Snappa.io

We all hear stories about massive tech companies, like Facebook or Apple, who began with technical co-founders, or at least teams that had someone with coding experience on board. However, times have changed since these companies rose to prominence.

Today, you need nothing more than a great idea (and some of the non-technical skills we highlight below) to turn your app, or software idea, into a full-fledged business.

1. Most Developers Aren’t Looking to Be a Co-Founder

When you first begin your search for a technical co-founder you might be surprised that they’re actually hard to come by. Most good developers today are seeking out great working environments that offer stellar pay and allow them to focus on coding instead of building a business. Great developers are rarely on the lookout for non-technical founders to partner with.

If you don’t have a long track record of success, then developers aren’t going to be jumping ship to start working with you. Your efforts are better spent elsewhere.

2. External Teams Can Handle Development for You

Today there are a plethora of development shops that will help make your dream into a full-fledged app or service. Often, they can create a working version of your app that will help you get additional feedback to refine the version you’re going to launch to the public.

As an added benefit, once you have a working version of your app it’ll be much easier for you to pitch your app to investors to receive additional funding.

3. You’d Hate to Compromise This Early on in the Process

Building a business is a long journey. In order to succeed in this competitive climate you need to be fueled by passion. When you’re spending all of your time pitching software engineers to come on board and build you app for you, you might end up compromising on your vision, just to get them to say yes.

As a business owner chances are you’ll want to retain control of the direction of your product, not dilute it down, or promise a controlling stake in your company to a developer you just met.

What You Should Be Doing Instead

Photo via: Snappa.io

Instead of pounding the pavement looking for the perfect technical co-founder to build your app, you should be focusing on building certain non-technical skills, and doing the early-stage development work that can be done without any coding.

Done early on, this will help you refine your idea, and uncover the exact problem that your app or service can solve in the marketplace. The quicker you have a niche web app that caters to a specific market up and running, the sooner you can refine and expand into a full-fledged business.

1. Simplifying Your Offering

Instead of creating an initial version of your app that solves dozens of problems for your potential market, try to narrow down your focus to one single problem you’re solving (at least in the beginning).

This will help make the app development process much easier, and will allow you to get an initial version of your software or app out the door. Once you have a working version it’ll be much easier to get feedback, refine the initial version, and get your ideal customer base to actually use your app.

The sooner you can get your idea validated the more likely it is your app will succeed in the market place. After all, there’s no point spending months and sinking a lot of money into development, if your app is only going to flop.

2. Selling and More Selling

More than any other skillset one of the main aspects of your job as a non-technical co-founder is going to be selling.

If you want to raise money, then you’re going to need to connect with investors who are used to hearing hundreds of pitches a week.

If you want to sell your product to customers, then you’re going to need to understand the hopes and dreams of your customers, so you can position your product towards these deep needs and desires.

If you want to hire top talent once your app is out in the world, then you’re going to need to connect with talented developers and explain to them why your company will be the best fit for their skills and goals.

Beyond the general skill of selling, a large amount of your time should be spent on pre-selling. During this phase you’ll be reaching out to potential customers and clients and asking them about their biggest frustrations.

You can then position your tool as being able to solve their biggest pain points, and get them on an interest list when your app is ready to launch. This will not only help to refine your product, but it will give you a list of potential customers to sell to once your app is ready to launch.

Not every company needs a technical co-founder in order to get off the ground. If you have an amazing idea for an app you can get started refining, selling, marketing, and even building your app with the help of an outsourced development team.

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