best platforms to find a cofounder

By Anastasia Nenova · Updated November 11, 2022

A startup isn't a venture for just one participant, it's a team effort requiring collaboration, and alliance. Out of everyone in the team, your co-founder will probably be the most important member of them all.

Often working long hours together, you and your co-founder are going to be scrapping it out in the trenches, battling to make a success of the business, depending on each other.

With that in mind, choosing the most suitable partner is paramount to the success of your business.

Through this article, we hope to answer any questions you might have regarding key aspects of this important role. How best to find one, for example, and how to arange the partnership in the first place.

Let's take a look at the various aspects involved, and help you find the perfect partner.

Personal channels

Your inner network 

Your close network is one of the best places to discover a co-founder. Take a look at your direct contacts, for example.

It could be someone you already know well, someone you know who works in the field, or any person who has the qualifications for the position.

Professional platforms

CoFoundersLab

CoFoundersLab

Overview

With over 600,000 potential co-founders, CoFoundersLab might be viewed as the Tinder dating site for finding co-founders. The platform is free, and offers a premium membership at just $29 per month.

CoFoundersLab uses AI to connect you with entrepreneurs. Further to that, the platform has regular webinars and a discussion forum to expand your network.

There's also a learning center to equip you with the necessary skills to become a successful founder. In 2016, CoFoundersLab acquired and merged Co-Founder Dating as part of their platform.

Top Features

  • CoFounder Smart-Search
  • Build your network through the discussion board and exclusive weekly events with advisors, mentors and associates
  • A curated 20 week program to take your business to the next level
  • Exclusive groups to keep founders focused with group accountability
  • Direct personalized mentoring to cater to your specific needs
  • Help you build the perfect pitch deck to raise capital to grow your business

Pricing

$0- $29/mo

CoFoundersLab Pricing

CoFoundersLab has one pricing plan: $29 billed monthly or $299 billed annually.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 14-day free trial of premium membership
  • Vast network of entrepreneurs
  • Links to social media platforms
  • You can filter by expertise and location
  • Mentors available, if needed
  • Their community forum lets entrepreneurs ask and answer startup-related questions
Cons
  • In order to cancel premium membership, you will be redirected to a form to submit a request which is inconvenientIt can get overwhelming as there are so many entrepreneurs listed (many are soliciting work rather than searching for a co-founder legitimately)
  • It's hard to navigate the site as a lot is going on (a new tab opens with every option you click onto)
  • The user experience is confusing and buggy

Product Rating Summary

CoFoundersLab offers a variety of features at a good and affordable price. However, it can be tedious to get in touch with customer service support and if you decide to cancel your premium membership. Also, the user experience isn't the greatest.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

StartHawk

StartHawk

Overview

StartHawk has a large network of entrepreneurs, with a platform that uses a search algorithm to find the ideal co-founder for you. Think of StartHawk as a dating app - one specifically created for entrepreneurs.

To start the process, create your profile on StartHawk and add details about your startup idea and yourself. You can find hundreds of entrepreneurs on the Find a Co-Founder Page.

For more relevant results, you can refine your search using filters. When you find an entrepreneur with co-founder potential, leave them a message or add them to your contacts.

Similarly, other entrepreneurs can find you and reach out if they're interested. There's even a forum called The Nest which is used to discuss startup problems and find solutions.

Top Features

  • Intuitive messaging system provides quick and easy communication
  • Filters that allow you to easily narrow down the type of co-founder you’re looking for
  • With the free plan, one conversation can be initiated per month. With the paid plan, there aren’t any limits on the number of messages you can send
  • Aims to connect entrepreneurs worldwide

Pricing

$0-$20/mo

StartHawk Pricing

StartHawk offers a free plan when you're just starting out. They also have a Pro plan which costs about $20 per month depending on your method of payment per month (3 months, 6 months, or 12 months).

The Pro Plan offers more visibility in search results, unlimited messaging, and partner discounts.

  • $19.99 per month for 3 months
  • $16.99 per month for 6 months
  • $14.99 per month for 12 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Have a solid advice section that answers essential questions for founders via their blog 
  • Their community forum "The Nest" allows founders to ask and answer questions, topics can also be upvoted by community members
  • Founders can be found from all industries and different parts of the world
Cons
  • The bio is very limited and you can't see which companies entreprenurs have worked at
  • It seems like anyone can sign up, which dilutes the quality of leads on the site
  • It's hard to know if profiles are up-to-date, so you can end up spending a lot of time filtering through hundreds of profiles

Product Rating Summary

Starthawk is a good platform, however there's no vetting process - so profiles might not be up to date. The platform is also quite limited in features unless you opt for the paid plan. The free plan is rather restrictive, so if going for Starthawk, make sure to choose the paid plan.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

Lunchclub

Lunchclub

Overview

Lunchclub launched in 2017 as a free to join platform. Some users have noted that they needed an invitation to join, while others have been able to sign up right away without an invitation.

This platform works by asking you questions based on your interests, background, professional goals, and then matches you with someone with similar resources or goals using AI.

An invitation is then received to meet with this said entrepreneur for a 45-minute, one-on-one meeting either in person or over video chat.

Top Features

  • Bespoke matching system based on several factors rather than just industry or location
  • Tangible ways to connect virtually and personally
  • Less overwhelming, as the number of connections is limited per week at the beginning
  • Less prone to spam
  • Prioritizes data

Pricing

It's free!

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • The platform is free to use
  • Large community 
  • Simple user interface 
Cons
  • Swiper quizzes between scheduling
  • Not as popular as other platforms, which could limit the types of founders that are part of the community 

Product Rating Summary

Thanks to its focus on machine learning, Lunchclub offers something different compared to the other platforms. The best part, however, is that Lunchclub is free.

At least for now, anyway. This is basically a worthwhile tool to consider along with additional professional networking. As Lunchclub requires you to answer some questions and link your Google account upon registration, it's only natural that some founders are reluctant to do so.

So, it may take some time for the platform to catch on and become more popular. In the meantime, even if you come across one person, they may be the right one to fuel that funding partnership you're looking for.

However, there are small quizzes and questionnaires that pop up between scheduling which can be a bit tedious.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

F6S

F6S

Overview

F6S is a platform that's free and has over 4 million members. You can connect with
investors, accelerators, funds, and more with F6S. Most importantly, they'll let you post your startup idea and requirements for people to get back to you.

Top Features

  • One of the largest startup communities in the world
  • Provide value-driven services, including networking with investors, corporate matchmaking, incubation, acceleration, soft-landing missions, mentoring, and piloting
  • FS6 innovations boosts scaling and growth by managing public funded programmes

Pricing

It's free!

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • It costs nothing
  • Customer service
  • Quality of community
Cons
  • It's somewhat difficult to navigate the platform's user interface

Product Rating Summary

FS6 offers quick and efficient customer support. The platform is useful to get benefits for early stage and new startups for free.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

YCombinator’s Startup School

YCombinator’s Startup School

Overview

YCombinator's Startup School offers a platform for founders and cofounders to get advice, learn from the startup curriculum, set their goals, and find potential business partners.

The YCombinator platform offers an eight-week course for startup founders. During the course a mentor is assigned to you, and you can attend group sessions for Q&As.

Top Features

  • Support from other founders
  • Joint problem solving with other founders and mentors
  • Large network 
  • Users are given access to Bookface channels and WhatsApp groups that reach specific communities

Pricing

Startup School is completely free.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy-to-use dashboard 
  • Immediate access to their curriculum of 22 videos
  • Access to hundreds of guides and videos in the YC Library
  • High-quality content
Cons
  • This platform isn't solely for finding co-founders, so active networking is essential to gain leads

Product Rating Summary

Startup School gives you the platform to find a co-founder, while providing you with the knowledge to enhance your search. They have an online curriculum of videos and a course.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

Indie Hackers

Indie Hackers

Overview

One of the most popular online communities among entrepreneurs is Indie Hackers. Indie Hackers also have a group called Looking to Partner Up, which aims at helping people find their co-founders.

Their group members are known to be searching for technical founders, so having technical expertise is a nice bonus. With over 16,000 members, the opportunity to find a business partner is endless.

Indie Hackers also offers the option of creating your own post where you can talk about your ideal co-founder and the details of your startup.

Top Features

  • You have a good chance of finding a co-founder on this platform considering the number of active entrepreneurs on Indie Hackers
  • Supportive community
  • Excellent resources provided on their website, podcast, and social media platforms

Pricing

Free to use.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Large network
  • Have specific groups for entrepreneurs searching for co-founders
  • No cost involved
Cons
  • Most of the group members are technical founders

Product Rating Summary

Indie Hackers has a large community of active entrepreneurs, so the chances of finding a co-founder on this platform is high. It's also free to use.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

AngelList

AngelList

Overview

It’s one of the most well-known websites when it comes to acquiring new employees, and generally advertising your startup to many industries.

All things aside, this might also end up being your best bet for finding a co-founder who shares the same values as you. Think of AngelList as the LinkedIn for your startup.

Top Features

  • The platform features over 3 million job seekers and is aimed at global startup companies
  • AngelList offers unlimited free and paid job postings
  • 7-day free trial is offered with the paid Pro plan

Pricing

$0-$249

It's free, and thats always a good thing. If you want to go Pro, the price is a minimum of $249 per month- depending on your needs and requirements, you'll be quoted a.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Advanced search filters: search by industry and funding stage
  • Monitors industry data
  • Monitors industry data
  • Follows competitors 
Cons
  • Candidate views are limited with the free Starter Plan
  • Candidate matching isn't included
  • Only suitable if you're interested in tech startups
  • Cost is high
  • Interface isn't inspiring
  • Difficult to verify if the person reaching out to you is legitimate. The site is rife with phishing attempts, scammers, and hackers

Product Rating Summary

AngelList is a great platform to use. It comes with a free version and there's a paid Pro version available as well.

However, the Pro version can be quite costly. Some features are limited with the free version, so the platform leads you to use the paid Pro version.

There's a 7-day free trial available for the Pro version.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

YouNoodle

YouNoodle

Overview

YouNoodle uses contests and competitions to scout co-founders, mentors, and business partners. They are shortlisted for other opportunities if they perform well.

YouNoodle is also used by accelerators to review and evaluate applicants for funding opportunities. 

The basic version of YouNoodle is free. The premium version offers additional features, including extensive setup assistance, embedding application forms, custom styling and email templates.

Top Features

  • Easy to use and has an impressive user interface 
  • Available in multiple languages 
  • Support FAQ
  • The judging system is comprehensive
  • Application forms are customizable
  • Distributed evaluation, allowing you to engage and invite external experts in the evaluation process

Pricing

$0-$3999+

YouNoodle Pricing

YouNoodle has a lite plan, which is free to use. However, only 1 free application is included in this plan per year.

Their premium plan costs $3999 per program and offers additional features. They also have an advanced plan, which you need to inquire about in order to get a quote.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • The customer service is excellent. You get assigned a dedicated person
  • The user interface is attractive
  • The judging process is efficient
Cons
  • It can be difficult to set-up
  • Younoodle has no community, as startups aren't looking for Younoodle applications
  • Cost - it's a little on the expensive side. Only 1 free application is given per year. The 2nd application costs $2000

Product Rating Summary

If you have the budget, YouNoodle is for you. The free version is pretty restrictive when it comes to features, and you can only make 1 free application per year.

It's also quite costly in comparison to other platforms. However, they have high-quality customer service support and the overall process of finding a co-founder is efficient.

Ease of Use

Features

Support

Price

Social Media

LinkedIn groups

There are two ways to find entrepreneurs once you've been given permission to join the group.

  1. Starting threads on the discussion board in a similar manner to your news feed is the first way you can search for co-founders. Any visibility is beneficial since you're putting yourself out there.
  2. Messaging members of the group is the second strategy of finding a co-founder. This can be done by entering the members section, click where it says "Members" on the left, beneath the group name to begin your outreach.

Some examples of LinkedIn groups include:

Facebook groups

Find Facebook groups that are relevant to the individual you're looking for, or specific to your location. Become active their and reach out with messages to others who are doing the same..

Post who and what you're searching for as well as information about your startup once you have joined the group. You can also request recommendations.

Some examples of Facebook groups include:

Reddit

Reddit has a number of specialist groups where you can search for the ideal match for your business. Using this platform, you can:

  • Consult the specialist community for input on your startup idea.
  • Find partners to work with on your venture.
  • Connect with others who share your views.
  • Additionally, you can locate potential cofounders for your business on a number of subreddits, including r/cofounder and r/startups
  • You can also use Reddit's search function to locate other relevant subreddits where you can get in touch with prospective cofounders.

Some example of subreddits to find a cofounder include:

Messaging Apps

Utilizing co-founding threads is another beneficial method of getting closer to excellent professionals. Engineers typically use messaging apps like Discord and Slack for work, and they frequently join threads they're interested in.

The channels may be located using keywords, and you can join them as well. For instance, you could use the /r/startups channel in Discord and filter your search results by the hashtag #Cofounding or the search request "find CTO."

You can find a list of 400 Slack communities here.

Special Events

Startup Weekend

Marketers, developers, designers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts get together for 54 hours during Techstars Startup Weekend to share ideas, launch startups, and build teams.

Through the platform, you can look for upcoming events in your area or even start your own events.

These gatherings are excellent places to make new friends who share the same interests, discover cofounders for your startup, and get opinions on your ideas.

Meetup

Meetup.com is a website that lists events and encourages people to connect and meet in person.

Their platform can help you locate local networking or startup meetups that are relevant to your business. This is a fantastic method to network with possible startup cofounders and get input on your business idea.

Co-working spaces

Co-working spaces include places like Wework, Regus, Workbar (which has locations and partnerships all throughout Boston), and Worklodge (which is based in Houston).

At places like these, you might not even run into your future co-founder, but you will meet business owners with invaluable contacts and experience that can benefit you in your search.

Incubators

You'll meet a lot of individuals with that entrepreneurial spirit if you join an incubator. And if you're not quite there yet, several provide communities where entrepreneurs in the early stages can interact. Some of the best are listed here.

Hackathons (to find Technical Cofounders)

Major League Hacking (MLH)

The main objective of MLH, the recognized student hackathon league, is to empower hackers. To find hackathons in North America and Europe, visit their website and click the big yellow "Attend" button.

You need to be a current student or have recently graduated (in the past 12 months) to be able to attend MLH member activities. If not, there are other hackathons that aren't for students that you can go to.

Devpost

You can look up hackathons, explore hackathon projects, submit a project, and locate a hackathon team using Devpost.

You can search for hackathons online or in person, and you can filter by submission deadlines or prize amounts. In addition to North America and Europe, Devpost lists hackathons from all over the world.

You can register for the event and access detailed information, including an agenda, by clicking on a Devpost hackathon.

Hackalist

"A list of hackathons from around the world," claims Hackalist. With a description of the event and other important details, Hackalist provides a list of hackathons organized by date and cost.

You can use the filter to only display hackathons that have prizes, offer travel reimbursements, and/or are free.

HackEvents

The self-titled world's top hackathon search engine, HackEvents contains a variety of search possibilities. You can browse categories from Europe, the United States, Germany, and the rest of the world. In addition, you can select "See all upcoming hackathons" or alternatively search for hackathons by name or city.

Additional Ideas

Upwork

Finding co-founders with a wide range of abilities, budgets, and experience levels is made easy using a website like Upwork or Fiverr.

Linkedin Sales Navigator

LinkedIn's Sales Navigator is, in our opinion, good value at $79.99 per month (or $64.99 per month billed yearly). The Sales Navigator is quite helpful when filtering for possible co-founders, even though it was designed for sales teams. You can further filter results by location, years of experience, and so on.

Wrap Up

The truth is, you never know where you might find a co-founder. It could be through a platform as mentioned herein, or word of mouth, or through an acquaintance.

These suggestions offer a more curated approach, however, and should be considered a viable solution.

Either way, this is an important part of your startup journey and it is something you need to get right, without leaving anything to chance, so take your time, be methodical, and view this step with the upmost importance.

You will likely be spending more time with this person than your own family members, so be thorough and settle for nothing less than perfect!

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