LinkedIn to Find a Co-Founder

Over the years a number of people have reached out to me asking for help finding a co-founder for their startup. Much like the challenge of recruiting great software engineers, finding a co-founder is even harder, especially when considering the importance of the co-founder complement. Last week, an entrepreneur mentioned that he found his co-founder through LinkedIn. Brilliant. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find employees. Sales reps use LinkedIn to find prospects. Entrepreneurs use LinkedIn to find co-founders.

Here are a few thoughts on using LinkedIn to find a co-founder:

  • Write out the desired personal and professional traits first, and then search for people that might have them (e.g. if you want a sales-oriented co-founder or an engineer-oriented co-founder as well as interests like sports or volunteering)
  • Seek out referrals through existing relationships (e.g. email your LinkedIn connections asking for help)
  • Allocate a serious amount of time to find the right person as it isn’t easy and doesn’t happen quickly
  • Building rapport and a trust-based relationship takes time, so don’t rush into things

I’ve only met one person that found his co-founder on LinkedIn, but I’m sure there are many more examples out there. Finding a business partner is hard and LinkedIn is a great network to start the process.

What else? What are some more thoughts on using LinkedIn to find a co-founder?

5 thoughts on “LinkedIn to Find a Co-Founder

  1. I think it is far fetched to assume you can find a cofounder of a new venture on LinkedIn. Maybe employees, maybe board members, maybe investors. Not a person that you basically live with and who shares your passion for the business.

  2. Hey David, if someone goes out and recruits a “co-founder”, how much founder equity should the new person receive? Any thoughts about ranges and ways to structure such a deal? Thanks again for all you are doing and best regards, Bob

  3. David,

    I have certainly seen some people find cofounders on LinkedIn, but I have actually seen more people find cofounders on social sites like Reddit and offline sites like Meetup. I like LinkedIn for keeping up to date with people, but I don’t often have conversations on the site. Conversations are always happening on Reddit, HackerNews, etc. which means you can learn much more about people on these sites.

    With something like Reddit you obviously have to be careful and ensure you’re covered legally speaking.

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