Is Finding a Startup Cofounder Difficult? Yes, but it Doesn’t Have to Be

Is finding a cofounder difficult? It’s an easy question to answer: yes!

Well, maybe not finding any old cofounder—but the real challenge is finding a good one, one who’s truly cut out to be an entrepreneur. And even with a cofounder or two, the odds of startup success are still underwhelming at best. While every entrepreneur I know is destined to be one of the successful 8%, here’s the deal for the other 92%.

Having cofounders is good. It’s good having cofounders with “skin” in the game: a shared vision, someone to bounce ideas around with, someone you know whose cooler with giving forgiveness rather than dealing with a beggar for permission when merde has to get done.

It’s good having cofounders listed on that investor-ready slide deck. It’s good knowing someone else still has room on their credit card limit to pick up that last round of drinks. It’s also really good knowing when that fear driven cold sweat bolts you awake at 3am, you’ve got a cofounder answering your phone call.

There are lots of reasons cofounders are good (I’ll save the evil stories for another day), and because they’re so good, and launching a startup is so hard (the only easy button is the on the stock room manager’s desk), great people are really hard to find. Exceptional cofounders aren’t listed in the Yellow Pages between coffins and comics.

But there are options in Vancouver to potentially make that connection. Finding Meetup groups where the back-slapping, card-case carrying, smooth-talking suit aren’t elusive. The same holds true for the business guy looking for the tech guy (insert stereotype here); there’s geek gatherings galore.

In reality, it’s rare finding these two “species” setting foot outside their natural Meetup habitats. I can see the Meetup reviews: “all that was left of him was his pocket protector” or “under a barrage of flying calculators the suit was seen fleeing.” 

Thankfully, there are safe watering holes where these different species can share ideas, share visions, and engage is various forms of mating dance rituals.

Join the Vancouver Pixel Crafters Meetup group for the always popular cofounder speed dating. The July 4th event at GrowLab is filling up. This same group also delivers the always packed and popular Startup Drinks on the last Thursday of every month. It’s worth taking note of Polyglot Vancouver. They are bringing together software engineers, computer scientists, system administrators, or whatever the title, and providing a single curated list of technical meetups. Tickets are still available for Vancouver Startup Weekend, a potential Mecca of co-founders gathering Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

But when you find yourself asking the bigger question, “what am I looking for in a cofounder?”—is it technical skills, business acumen, domain expertise, past experience?—it’s FounderDating that has many key answers.

Think of FounderDating as the “Kickstarter for people.” For what you’ll spend on beer in an evening at Startup Drinks, you’ll have the chance to connect with seriously talented and motived people.  There’s a challenge for the Vancouver startup community, in order to “unlock entrepreneurship” in our city, 50 people need to apply. 50 serious entrepreneurs need to apply by July 5! Imagine connecting with a bigger community; imagine connecting with exceptional people in other cities; imagine having a resource that’s high quality (members are carefully screened). Identities are confidential but the types of people in our network include founders or early employees of Stackmob, Snapfish, Asana, Zynga and hi5, just to name a few.

Imagine having a resource that’s Balanced: 50% engineering, 50% non-engineering talent. Imagine having an online/offline network where you can communicate and connect online with amazingly talented entrepreneurs in our city and around the world—think an invite-only LinkedIn for cofounders.

Apply to FounderDating by July 5. A committed community can make it happen—but remember: only the serious need to apply and only the awesome will be chosen.