In this study, we examine the role of founders’ need to belong and tertius iungens orientation (i.e., the tendency of bringing people together and coordinating among others) in the context of new ventures. We propose and document evidence that a founder’s tendency to engage in tertius iungens oriented networking is positively associated with new venture performance. We also reveal that a founder’s need to belong is a significant motivational antecedent of the founder’s tertius iungens orientation. Further, the need to belong–networking orientation linkage is stronger for founders in new ventures at the early product development stage than those at the late product development stage. We tested our hypotheses using survey data collected with a two‐wave sample of new ventures in China. We discuss the theoretical significance of studying the need to belong and tertius iungens orientation for social networks and entrepreneurship literatures, as well as the practical implications for managing a successful new venture.