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🧠 How to find a Co-Founder

4 easy steps to build your team

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Hey IdeaHub Crew! 🎉

This one is for all the solo founders out there. Wave your single hands in the air if you just don’t care!! Today you should learn all you need to know about finding a co-founder.

Thank you to Motion for sponsoring this weeks edition. It’s a super tool that allows you to manage your creative campaigns in one place.

If your startup is running paid ads or thinking about it, you should subscribe to their newsletter and check them out 👍🏻

This week…

  • Why 2+ founder teams are more likely to succeed

  • How to build relationships with smart people

  • Advice on co-founder equity splits

Let’s get into it👇

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The Breakdown

4 Ways to Find a Co-Founder

It’s tough being single. You wake up alone. You code alone. You find customers alone. Everyday you get to work, alone.

  • When you have a problem, who do you ask?

  • When you have a question, who do you talk to?

  • When you have a bad day, who do you vent to?

I guess having a partner in life is very similar to having a business partner (co-founder). And.. Investors feel the same way.

Carta, the equity management platform used by Calendly, Trustpilot did a study across 18,000 of their startups.

They found that 26% of startups have a solo founder (see below).

The good news for any of your B2C SaaS or Enterprise SaaS builders is that 34% of founders in that space are solo. Which means it’s actually possible to build something great alone.

But do you have to make it difficult for yourself?

Finding a co-founder could take a huge weight off your shoulder.

So today, I want to give you four actionable steps to finding your co-founder.

Step #1: Build relationships with smart people

Choosing the right co-founder is akin to finding a long-term partner. It involves shared vision, values, complementary skills, personality compatibility, and trustworthiness.

In my job as a startup mentor, I see solo founders making a couple mistakes.

  • Looking for an easy win by posting a job looking for a “Co-Founder”

  • Sending a message into a slack channel “Looking for a Co-Founder, hit me up!”

Now, these channels may work. Honestly they probably have led to some great teams. But in general a good rule of thumb is to take it as a relationship building exercise.

How? Surround yourself with smart people

Step #2: Spotting the fakers

Start from a place of trust, in most cases.

If you get burned by someone take it as a small tax to pay for your future success.

So vetting potential is super important. Go beyond first impressions because crazy charisma or confidence can be a downside too.

Remember Elizabeth Holmes, Sam Bankman-Fried and Martin Shkreli?

Note to self: if they have made a Forbes 30 under 30 list, be cautious lol

Here are some actions you can take to avoid that happening:

  • Trial Projects

  • Meet for coffee

  • Reference Checks

  • Test decision making abilities by asking behavioural questions

Try to have deep conversations about their values, motivations and working style. Understand “what is in it for them” and make sure that aligns with your goals.

Most importantly, listen to your gut.

Step #3: Interview tips

Once you have a strong pipeline of candidates. The next step is to invite them to an interview.

👇🏻 Example of Interview Process 👇🏻


  1. Invite for a coffee to test culture fit: Read their resume beforehand and do your research on their portfolio.

  2. Technical Challenge: Keep it informal but present candidates with a technical challenge or problem relevant to your startup's needs.

  3. Behavioural Interviews: Conduct a deeper conversation to evaluate candidates' leadership style, decision-making processes, and ability to handle challenging situations.

  4. Meet the full team, investors and advisors.

  5. Reference checks and background: You can hire a company to do a background check on someone to prove they did in fact work at the companies on their resume. A better way is to hire from your network or a close referral so this is more informal.

“I would probably just try to talk through some of the key problems I was having right now and hear how they respond, which is guess is a test in a way but just less formal”

Charlie from IdeaHub

In general try to:

  • Hire for attitude AND technical skills.

  • Create a scorecard to grade them on

  • Establish your interview process

  • If you are a solo founder, ask an advisor to sit on the interview panel for a second opinion

Note: If you want our interview checklist for co-founders just reply to this email and ask - it’s free 🚀

Step #4: Establishing roles and equity split

Early-stage startups benefit from clear roles, titles, and equity distribution.

“Must be able to wear multiple hats”
“We all do a bit of everything”
“We all just hustle hard”

All phrases from unorganised startup teams

Open communication about leadership roles helps mitigate conflicts and fosters transparency. Equity distribution should reflect contributions, roles, and risks undertaken by each co-founder.

Determining Leadership Roles:

  • CEO: Strategic direction, vision, and external representation.

  • CTO: Technical strategy, product development, and innovation.

  • COO: Operational management and efficiency enhancement.

Equity Distribution:

  • Factors to Consider: Contributions, roles, and risks.

  • Equity Split Models: Consider tools like Carta’s Founder Studio for data-backed equity distribution recommendations.

    Reply back to this email with a question on finding your co-founder and myself or Charlie will be sure to answer 🚀


Past issues include: 

⚡The Barry Hott Ugly Ads Edition which revealed the science of getting past people’s subconscious ad blockers.

⚡ The Sarah Levinger Psychology-Based Creative Edition showing how to properly use emotion and brain science in your advertising.

⚡The Alex Cooper A-to-Z of Ad Production Edition giving teams a relentlessly practical guide to ideation and iteration. 

Plus, we’ve covered things like how HexClad's Head of Growth Connor Rolain runs his creative strategy flywheel, how to properly back into a MER goal, contribution margin tutorials, and advanced ad analysis techniques. 

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