Matchmaker-Turned Entrepreneur: How To Find A Co-Founder

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By Talia Goldstein (Co-Founder & CMO, Let's Do) Editor's note: Talia Goldstein is co-hosting Founder Friday Los Angeles on November 4, 2011. FREE RSVP for Founder Friday here. Picking the right co-founder is a lot like finding the perfect match. Prior to co-founding Let's Do, I co-founded a successful dating startup. I moonlighted as a matchmaker for the site (a founder needs multiple revenue streams) in between developing strategic partnerships and branding. I matched hundreds of people and got it down to a science.

Co-founders become your life partner (version 2.0). Just as there is a formula to successful dating, there is a formula to finding the Ms. (or Mr.) Right for your company. First, go out and meet as many people as possible -- head to conferences, hack-a-thons, founders dinners. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a co-founder. Once you have found a potential:

  1. Date. You should date your potential co-founder so you can gather information before committing. Before you take the plunge, you better make sure this is someone you get along with on every level. Are they a good balance for you? Do they motivate you? Do they have different skills then you do? How do they deal with conflict? Will they remember your Starbucks order for those 4am strategy sessions? Okay, maybe that last part is exaggerated, but you get what I'm saying. Spend time dating your potential co-founder and don't rush into a partnership.
  2. Commit. The most important thing to ask is whether you share a time commitment to building a great company. On a personal level, you should know your potential co-founder’s agenda. Are they planning to move out of state soon? Is entrepreneurship just a hobby? What is their motivation? Are they willing to put in 16 hour days and weekends? Make sure you are on the same page. The last thing you need is one founder resenting the other because he/she is more committed.
  3. Plan. Do you understand the potential of the product in the same way? Do you both have a commitment to putting forth the financial resources to make the product amazing? Do you have the same goals for world domination? Inevitably your plans will change, but you have to agree on the overarching direction.
  4. Pre-nup. When you’re finally to the stage of finding a perfect co-founder, your heart flutters. While this may seem like a match made in heaven, you still need to protect yourself and your company. Ensure you execute the proper formation documents. Nobody wants to go through a nasty divorce, especially when you put so much time, money and energy into a company.

The bottom line? Like dating, you should not settle. Make sure the co-founder is a perfect fit. Much like a relationship, you will spend countless hours together and make huge life decisions. This process is to be taken very seriously. Happy (Co-founder) Dating! Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Talia Goldstein is Co-Founder and CMO of Let's Do, a social discovery tool for people to find and book amazing things to do with friends or people with common interests. Previously, she co-founded Three Day Rule, an online-to-offline activities based singles site and city guide. Prior to that, she worked as a producer at E! Networks, VH1 and Country Line Productions, and as an Account Manager at TBWA. Follow her on Twitter at @taliagoldstein.