Here is a common problem plaguing many entrepreneurs today: I have a business idea, but I need to find someone with complimentary skills to help me start the company. In fact, yours truly has this problem currently. Since we know a big chunk of the success of a start-up is directly correlated to the number of founders, this is a big deal. Local tech functions like meet-ups, conferences and founder dating are all good ways to meet a co-founder but sometimes if just feels forced, ya know. Kinda like you’re looking for a one-night stand or something.
Enter Founder2be, a site which could be referred to the match.com for entrepreneurs.
From their website:
Do you think you need a lot of money first for your startup? You don’t. What you need is the right co-founder with the skills to get started. Everyone knows something, and nobody knows everything. Founder2be helps you find the co-founder you need to start up your business. Take the first step today!
I love the idea and have signed up for the service. When you sign up, you have the option to register or just connect via Facebook. Once connected, it walks you through a few basic questions:
1) I am looking for… (someone to help me with my idea or to join someone who has a good idea)
2) The type of co-founder I am looking for…
3) Expectations of co-founder availability
4) choice of where they live
And then you fill out some details about yourself and you are ready to go. The entire process took less than 5 minutes. Since I just signed up and starting using the service I cannot relay any results back to you yet, but I love the idea and would recommend any founder who needs to find the other piece of the puzzle to give it a shot.
I had a chance to recently connect with Oliver Bremer, co-founder of Founder2be. Interestingly, he was in the exact same situation when he realized there was a hole he could fill. “This got me thinking that I cannot possibly be the only person in the world to have this challenge. Although initially I had a different idea, I eventually decided to set out and solve the co-founder finding problem instead. And that’s how Founder2be came about. After some chicken and egg of finding a co-founder for that. Which was pure luck.”
I love it! Innovation is the mother of all necessity. Here is a brief interview with Oliver:
1. Describe and explain Founder2be in a few sentences.
Founder2be is a co-founder matching service. Everyone knows something, and nobody knows everything. Founder2be helps people find co-founders with complementary skill sets. After all, most successful start-ups get started by teams of two or three, not solo entrepreneurs.
With the Founder2be Global Alliance Program, we connect prospective entrepreneurs with incubators and other alliance partners to help them succeed by getting the help they need locally, whether it is mentoring, work space, pitch training, or access to funding.
2. How did you come up with the idea behind Founder2be?
After 10 years in corporate life, last year I finally had a great idea where I thought: ‘Now it’s my opportunity’ to start a start-up. Truth is: Now I can’t even remember what the idea was, and that is because I never got started. Why? Because I don’t know everything and I failed at the step of finding a co-founder. Thinking I can’t be the only person wanting to do a start-up with that problem, I decided to focus on the co-founder finding problem instead, and here is Founder2be.
3. The Founder2be team and background.
Founder2be was co-founded by myself and Frank Haubenschild. My background is M.Sc. in CS, worked for Nokia until 2007, then for Strands until end of last year. Then quit my job specifically to focus on Founder2be. Frank studied CS as well, and has been working as a SW Developer ever since, mostly in the automotive space.
We took on two interns for this summer as well who are helping us with outreach and community management and get credits for their course work.
4. Can’t Entrepreneurs just go to local events to meet people? How do you differentiate?
Absolutely, and we do want people to go to local events as well. We are not so naive to believe that you meet someone online, click on a button, and that’s all you need to start a great start-up. There is many more things. Exploring your options and finding a great co-founder is the first step, and that can be done online very well.
Think of it similar to online dating. Match.com does not replace bars. People don’t get married clicking ‘Yes, I do’. They go on a date and meet the other person in real life first – or at least I hope they do 😉 And that’s very similar for finding a co-founder.
And that’s why we launched the Global Alliance Program, where we connect the co-founders meeting each other, forming start-ups, to organizations supporting start-ups in the real world. The Global Alliance Program has partners on four continents now and we are looking to extend the network to more countries and expand within the countries where there is already partners.
5. What is Founder2be’s current status, and what are your immediate next steps?
We are now at the stage where over a thousand people have signed up, two companies have emerged from co-founders who met on Founder2be. One of them is Ziliot.com, the other one is still in stealth mode. The Global Alliance Program comprises around 20 partners from four continents.
Our ultimate goal for this year is to see 10 start-ups get started by co-founders who met on Founder2be. In order to do so we are focused on growing the user base, connect co-founders with each other, and build out the Global Alliance Program further.
In 3 months, over 1500 people have joined and one company has come out of it with a second one is in stealth mode. I would say, even if nothing else happens… history has been made. I am really excited to see how Founder2be expands to help many more partnerships come together.