So I`ve recently hit Craigslist to find a Seattle-local web and database developer who is willing to partner with me and develop a prototype of my project for equity. It hasn`t taken me long to develop hits and generate some genuine interest. But I want to know how I should be screening these individuals. I`ve asked for resumes and examples of previous work, and at some point I`d like to be able to interview the more promising applicants, but what should I be concerned with in bringing on a partner into my project? How is bringing in a partner different from bringing in an employee? (Not that I have any experience hiring employees; this is my first real venture.)
I`m not looking for an even partnership; I have a well-developed business plan with several fundraising milestones in place, and I know roughly how much equity I`m willing to let go. I feel mostly prepared, but I really would appreciate some pointers.
I think you should, 1, consider the drawbacks of hiring someone based on equity. They will obviously be doing this job on the side because they will need to have a "day job" to make money, so you may end up slowing the project down because you are their last priority. I think that the speed of the project with only one developer can be slow as well, if it is programming intensive. If you are determined to get this to market faster, you should consider getting funding to find some capital to hire out a team.
2, do be thorough in who you hire. Hiring locally may or may not limit you in your applicant pool. References are important but it`s hard to get good references because everyone is worried about legality. Peer and supervisor references are important. See their full portfolio, etc.
3, for someone on a partnership level, make sure it`s someone you mesh well with personally. You`re going to be spending a lot of time with this person and you want someone who you can get along with.
Thanks, nhgnikole. The problem I`ve had with finding funding first is that everyone wants to see a prototype before committing; family included. I want to get it moving as quickly as possible, but at the rate I`m going, I`m simply walking in place. Are there ever development firms that might be willing to work for equity, or at least some combination of equity and cash payment? Also, even if the development is outsourced to another company, I still feel like I need someone on my team who has the expertise to ensure that everything runs properly in the future, and who can help plot the course for further development.