One of the toughest challenges for entrepreneurs is finding the right co-founder. If you're a geeky engineering type you might be looking for someone with impressive business acumen. Or if coming up with killer ideas is more your thing, you might need to partner with someone who has the tech know-how to actually bring them to fruition.
FounderDating, which isn't really about dating at all, seeks to foster relationships between these kinds of people. It's an online network made up of an even balance of engineers and non-technical members with one thing in common: They're serious about launching a start-up.
Like LinkedIn, but Only for Entrepreneurs
FounderDating co-founder and CEO Jessica Alter says it's similar to LinkedIn, but designed for entrepreneurs. You can search for people by interest area, skill set, location, as well as their availability to get started on a project immediately.
"The information we have is different," Alter says. "On LinkedIn you can't tell intent... you have no idea if someone wants to start a company. LinkedIn knows what you used to do and what you do now. We know what you used to do, what you do now and what you want to do next, which is often different from what you used to do or what you do now."
The catch is not just anybody can get in. You have to apply, after which you are screened and vetted. If you're not a recruiter and "high quality" enough to earn an invitation you have to pay between $50 and $100 to get in the door, so to speak. You then have online access to the entire network in your locale and beyond as well as the opportunity to attend a kick-off event at which you can meet and talk with other new members.
Deadlines to Apply
These kickoffs--where small groups of people get to know others by discussing hot topics such as big data or the future of social media--are actually culminations of application rounds, which occur consecutively from city to city. If you'd like to apply, check out FounderDating's upcoming deadlines to apply in various cities. Friday, August 31 is the deadline to apply in Los Angeles and Detroit and September 4 is the last day to apply in Seattle.
While FounderDating is mostly focused on bringing people into its fold according to where they are located, it also just launched a partnership with the non-profit Teach for America so as to help connect entrepreneurs with an education focus. If that's you, you'll need to apply by Sept. 4.
"[Teach for America has] a ton of alumni that are entrepreneurial and... they told us the biggest question they get from them is, 'Where do I find complementary co-founders?'" Alter says.
No Idea Required
Whether you're interested in applying according to where you live or because of your interest in launching an education start-up, Alter says you don't need to have an idea to join but should just be ready to at least work on a serious side project.
FounderDating is currently connecting entrepreneurs in more than 15 cities across the U.S. and Canada and prioritizes which ones to "unlock" next depending on how many applications it receives from a particular city. The magic number for pushing one up on the list is 50.