The Five Steps To Find Your Startup Co-Founder

brett fox
5 min readJan 2, 2024

You have a great idea for a startup. The problem is you can’t execute your plan without a co-founder, and you don’t know who your co-founder should be. Worse yet, you don’t even know how to find your co-founder.

Picture: Depositphotos

I’ll walk you through the five-step process I followed to find my co-founders. I’ll explain why it worked, and how you can leverage this process to build your team.

The first step in the process is:

1. Build a list of every contact you know.

When I started my company, I knew that the most important person I needed to find was a CTO or VP Engineering. I wouldn’t be able to raise money without finding this person. And I wouldn’t be able to execute my plan without this person.

At the same time, I also knew that I was going to have recruit other people, primarily engineers, over time to build out my team. So, my thought process was to identify and recruit as many people as possible that could help my company, even if they wouldn’t be joining my company immediately.

In other words, you might only have one or two co-founders, but why not line up people that you will be hiring one year from now as well?

That’s why I started with a list of all the people I knew. The list contained friends, family, work colleagues, and LinkedIn contacts. This was everyone I knew, and the list was over 1,000 people.

This leads to the next step to take:

2. Sort your list & Prioritize your list.

Now that I had my list, I had to decide who I was going to contact, how I was going to contact them, and what type of meeting, if any, I wanted to suggest. I broke the list into two groups:

The first was high priority contacts. These were people that I felt had a realistic chance of helping me. In other words, they worked in and around my industry.

And, as I secondary sort, I had to make sure there was no one on this sub list that might have a conflict with the company I was started. The final list ended up being about one hundred people. My intention was to meet with as many of these people face to face as I could.

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brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at https://www.brettjfox.com