By Chelsea Keighley
The Tech Cofounder Community (TCC) serves as a platform for individuals interested in the tech cofounder role to gain insights and understanding. As a part of its mission, the TCC ran an event called ‘Find a Tech Cofounder’, this was shared with the members of the Fractional Consultant Community, which led to an interesting question and answer style post featuring its members.
Samuel Slade, aspiring CTO and member of the FCC, sought guidance and clarity on the risks involved in becoming a tech cofounder.
In this blog post, we delve into the experiences and perspectives of FCC and TCC members, offering valuable insights into the world of tech cofounders.
Weigh up the Financial Pros and Cons in Advance
Wisen Tanasa, Principal Consultant, acknowledges the diverse nature of tech cofounder roles depending on the stage of the startup. Tanasa advises, "The definition of 'tech cofounder' is quite nuanced depending on what stage the startup is in, which will lead to different risks." Understanding the specific context of each startup is vital in evaluating the risks involved. He goes on to say “If you come across a job ad for a tech co-founder, it wouldn't hurt to inquire about the startup's stage and whether they provide a salary. Most individuals seek a co-founder who demonstrates a higher commitment level, and as a result, they might offer you a larger equity share, which could lead to a reduction in salary.”.
Delving deeper into the financial aspect of becoming a tech cofounder, Arron Edwards, a longtime tech business owner, and present Head of Engineering for a startup, states “If you need a salary, a co-founder role is probably not what you’re after. Co-founder is typically code for “business owner” which means a certain level of risk (cash, time or both)”. Assessing your current circumstances, as well as projecting what the future may look like if you decide to commit to becoming a tech cofounder is incredibly important, Edwards advises to “Ask yourself if having the title or a salary is more important. You’ll find a quick answer”.
Choose the Right Partner and Ensure Overall Team Alignment
Caio Torres, Cofounder and CTO of Pin People, commented on the cruciality of choosing the right partner, stating “The very best advice for people wanting to become any kind of cofounder is to choose carefully the people you are going to partner with, that by itself can predict most of the outcome of your endeavor. Try to focus on people with complementary skills like financial and sales, networking and strategic and technical and operational, that can be a great starting point, also you guys must support each other, because it is not going to be an easy ride”.
Following on from Caio’s advice, Bruce Lewin, Director at Four Groups Ltd, spoke of the importance, and challenges, of working alongside a team of people, stating “I'd just say that it's mission critical to ensure that you and your co-founders/partners/employees/advisors are all on the same wavelength, and if you're not, the sooner you know the better”.
Tips for effectively choosing cofounders
Look for people who share your vision. It is important to find cofounders who are aligned with your vision for the company. This means finding people who believe in the same thing you do and who are committed to achieving the same goals.
Look for people who are hard workers. Starting a company is a lot of work, so you need to find cofounders who are willing to put in the long hours and the hard work.
Look for people who are supportive and reliable. You will need cofounders who you can trust and who will support you through the ups and downs of starting a company.
Tips to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength
Clear and concise communication. Everyone on the team should know what the goals and objectives of the company are, and they should understand their role in achieving those goals.
Regular check-ins. This is a chance for team members to discuss their progress, share their ideas, and identify any potential problems.
Create a culture of trust and respect. When team members feel like they can be open and honest with each other, it is much easier to build alignment.
Build Traction Before Building the Product
Norris Panton, Cofounder of Carousel Boxing, highlighted the importance of building traction when operating a startup. Traction refers to the early signs of success that indicate a company is on the right track. Panton states, “Traction at the early stage is engagement, it’s focus groups and surveys, it’s about building the audience well before you build the product. Traction is critical to success but you can achieve traction without spending money. Traction is not for investors. Traction is for founders to work out if they have a viable business proposition. If you don’t have traction, stick to your day job”.
Tips for achieving traction
Start with a clear vision and mission. What problem are you solving? Who is your target market? What are your goals? Having a clear vision and mission will help you stay focused and make decisions that are aligned with your goals.
Build a great product or service. Your product or service should be something that people want and need. It should be easy to use and solve a real problem.
Get the word out. You need to let people know about your product or service. This means creating a strong marketing and sales strategy.
Build relationships with key stakeholders. This includes investors, partners, and influencers. These relationships can help you to achieve traction and grow your business.
In conclusion, becoming a tech cofounder is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider, including the financial risks involved, the need for a salary, and the importance of choosing the right partner. However, if you are willing to put in the hard work and find the right people to work with, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Here are some key takeaways from the blog post:
The financial risks of becoming a tech cofounder can vary depending on the stage of the startup. It is important to understand the risks involved before making a decision.
Choosing the right partner is crucial for the success of any startup. Make sure to find people who share your vision, work ethic, and values.
It is important to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same wavelength. This can be done through clear communication, regular check-ins, and a culture of trust and respect.
Building traction is essential for the success of any startup. This means getting the word out about your product or service and building relationships with key stakeholder