I have most of the skills required to lead a team and operate my business, however it is going to be difficult to get funding with only one founder. I need somebody with a recognized business background. I am currently living in a small rural area which would require finding somebody from outside my region and working with them remotely.
Finding the right co-founder is like a marriage. It's not a good idea to jump to bed with whoever comes along. Most investors and accelerators bet for the team that have a previous relationship before.
The best option is definitely to spend time in the geographical area you'd like your co-founder to be and start going to startup meetups and events. It takes time, but it's worth it when you find the right partner.
Although I don't recommend it, here are some websites that can match you with co-founders:
If you are currently living and working in a small rural area, then you might consider moving. Most investors are interested in "windshield money." They're going to invest in companies that are fairly close by. They want to be able to drive to meet you if they need to. Being in a small city will severely restrict the flow in your investor pipeline. I know this from experience. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee. As for a co-founder with a recognized business background, are you looking for a generalist or a specialist? Someone with deep logistics experience, or someone adept with financial modeling, culture, hiring, marketing, and sales? Know the exact skills you need to compliment your own. Then go get in the way of opportunity. Go to conferences, seminars, and meetups. Sounds like you'll need to travel to do that. Plumb your own network, and ask everybody you know if there's anybody. Spend ten hours on LinkedIn, and use something like Lucid Charts to create a mindmap of who know whom. Patterns will emerge. Likely candidates may start to jump out. Connect with them on Twitter. Set up a call to ask for advice. Offer to pay them for their time. I don't think there are any shortcuts here, and even if there were, you'd still be better of entering into this kind of relationship very, very slowly, despite the urgency your business may create. A bad management/founder fit can wreck your business faster than making no money. Worse, a bad fit can wreck your business WHILE you're making money. One last thing: for co-founders to not be co-located during the early stages will become a serious impediment. Despite Skype, Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Dropbox, Voxer, and every other collaboration tool you can work into the mix, working side-by-side can still be much, much more efficient. Just be prepared to follow the business wherever it grows.
If you want to discuss further, let me know.
Austin L. Church
There are three sources that I'd recommend for you. First, find your local Startup Grind in the nearest participating city (https://www.startupgrind.com/) - go to an event and network there for a co-founder. Second, take a look at advertising on AngelList (https://angel.co/) for your co-founder. Finally check out the National Venture Capital Association to see if there is a regional group that you can network into for a co-founder (http://nvca.org/ecosystem/regional-groups/). Good luck with your search. Feel free to set up a call if you'd like to brainstorm other solutions.
Before giving you the practical tips, it is important to first point out 3 things:
A) You should be 100% sure that you really need a co-founder (versus using a freelancer or employee which may be sufficient).
B) Investors usually take a deep look into the team and prefer founders that have worked together for some time and/or know each other for a minimum period (preferably those who’ve already experienced difficulties together before).
C) There is a reason that CBInsights found that the third most common reason cited for startup failure is “not the right team” and that the most common agreement that I draft as a startup lawyer/mentor is a ‘separation agreement’. The reason being that most co-founders eventually split – and not under nice terms.
In most cases, freelancers/employees can do what you need (perhaps the only exception is having a CTO when trying to raise capital from VC’s – and even this depends on the type of startup).
How to find a co-founder:
1. Go to networking events - some of which are dedicated to “co-founders dating/matching” - try www.meetup.com for this.
You can also try www.founderdating.com or www.cofounderslab.com or http://www.founders-nation.com or www.founder2be.com
2. Take part in chats in relevant forums (depending on the type of co-founder you’re looking for).
3. Consider joining accelerator/incubator programs for startups/entrepreneurs - some of them connect between founders.
4. Contact head of programs at universities and tell them what you’re looking for. Today, many universities and cities have startup programs with a lot of talented participants (or speakers) who might be the perfect co-founder for you.
5. Talk to friends and family and let them know that you’re looking. This helps expand your network. Post a message on www.LinkedIn.com .
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs. I'd be happy to help you. Good luck