Best questions to ask/vet a potential technical co-founder

I am a non-technical founder. What do you think are the best questions to ask a potential technical co-founder(s) or any co-founder when deciding whether to partner with them?  I have a client order that needs to be fulfilled and identified potential future products so would like a longer term partner vs. using various development shops for each build.  I bring the business experience, sales, legal, finance, network of “experts” (it’s science based) and domain expertise (it’s an enterprise product).

I invested years in identifying the market, validated customers etc. and secured a sale based on a concept that had not been built (it had been built for another domain but it is not possible to get hold of this) and have more warm BD leads.  Once the client offered a large potential budget, my original technical co-founder (we were 50/50) decided he didn’t want to go forward on that basis and felt I should get zero equity. In hindsight, I realized that I had not educated myself enough on the engineering and product development so had felt he was the only one to do this.

I read and thought it was helpful.  I don’t want to be blindsided again and I want to be more clear on everyone’s abilities.  What’s everyone’s thoughts on the best questions to ask and also what questions they should have asked?

Thank you

  • After reading the link you included, I think you’ve probably got most of what you need.

    I’m a technical founder, which means I code daily, but I also worry about sales and spend a lot of time getting up to speed on marketing. I’ve met other technical founders who hire in “business types” so that they can close their door and code all day without any interruptions.

    I think you firstly need to sort out: is this person interested in running a business, or just handling the tech? Once that’s out of the way, you just need to have a very frank (and possibly very uncomfortable) discussion about roles, responsibilities, and ownership.

    If I met with someone who came out and said “I own sales and marketing. Hands off.” I’d run the other way, but I’d respect them and be very thankful.

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