A Guide to Matchmaking Sites for Co-Founders
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Business ideas may be a dime a dozen, but quality co-founders are worth their weight in gold.
Not only will they help shoulder the burden of launching a company, oftentimes a keen co-founder is vital for raising capital, as investors typically like to see strong teams plying their money most effectively. Plus, if you ever hope to scale or possibly pivot, it'll be good to have someone to bounce ideas off of and, again, help with any heavy lifting.
But how does one find this mythical beast who happens to also "get" your vision and complements your skill set? Sure, you could turn to family, friends, classmates, colleagues and endless meetup groups. But if that fails, you might consider taking a gander at some websites looking to help alleviate the daunting task of finding your perfect partner.
While cofounder websites are still a bit scarce, the below list can be a great starting point for connecting:
Started in 2011 by Culin Tate and Shahab Kaviani, CoFoundersLab is a free matchmaking service with a user base of 10,000. Just like an online dating site, CoFoundersLab asks subscribers to complete a thorough profile including what they are looking for in a co-founder and the industry your startup is in. It also asks about what you can bring to the table with details about your connections, cash investment and how much time you are willing to put into the startup.
For those looking to ramp up their co-founder finding efforts, users can upgrade to the $50 a month pro plan, which offers additional resources, filters, recommendations, among other perks.
Besides the online matchmaking tool, CoFoundersLab provides information about their upcoming local events and a guide to help your startup through various stages. And while the main emphasis is on finding a co-founder, the site is also a place for people looking to join a startup.
Calling itself the "exclusive networking and matchmaking service," FounderDating is an invite-only service for entrepreneurs. The site was launched in 2012 by Jessica Atler, as she wanted a platform that provided a network of like-minded individuals to allow "people to do what they really wanted to do in life."
Once accepted, users have access to a screened pool of potential co-founders, with 50 percent being engineers, access to entrepreneurs in other cities, quarterly offline kickoff events and a Quora for entrepreneurs discussion forum. But these resources come at a small price. The one-time membership fee will set you back $50.
In addition to focusing on the main startup ecosystems, like Silicon Valley and New York City, FounderDating's Unlock Your Program provides resources for other locations. If a city is not already in the FounderDating network, it can be added once 75 interested local startups submit an application. Once the minimum is met, FounderDating will assign a city director, which will help facilitate adding the location to FounderDating.
Bonus: If a young entrepreneur is looking to disrupt the education sector, FounderDating just launched FounderDating Education, a platform in conjunction with Teach for America that solely focuses on "reshaping education."
Related: 4 Tips to Avoid Co-Founder Conflict
Owned by CoFoundersLab, Techcofounder is further infiltrating the niche market of co-founders by focusing solely on tech partners. While it isn't as snazzy as CoFoundersLab it does provide a simple directory for entrepreneurs to seek out developers and engineers. Tech focused professionals can post their area of expertise for free, allowing founders to reach out them directly. Startups can upload ads seeking technical co-founders and job postings for a one-time fee of $99.
Founded by former Nokia employee Oliver Bremer and Frank Haubenschild in 2011, the Finnish startup has amassed a global presence of 14,000 members with co-founder matches in the U.S., Finland, Spain and Germany, to just name a few.
Similar to the other co-founder matchmaking websites, Founder2be requires users to create a profile providing details pertaining to location, skill set, time commitment, former projects and startups and background in fundraising.
Once an entrepreneur hits submit, a list of possible co-founder suitors is provided. If a startup is only in the conceptual stage, Founder2be allows entrepreneurs to post ideas and also rank and comment other ideas provided by various entrepreneurs.
Founder2be also goes beyond the scope of a website by partnering with Global Alliance Program, an association of organizations that support entrepreneurship and startups. By teaming up, Founder2be provides its matchmaking service at entrepreneurial functions like incubators, accelerators and student organizations.
What is your experience finding a co-founder? Let us know in the comments below.