Can POC Founders Find The Perfect Cofounder On A Matchmaking Platform?
Many startup cofounders have exciting stories to share about how they met.
From bonding as college roommates or former colleagues to surprise encounters leading to entrepreneurial adventures but for some, that perfect cofounder is found through a match-making platform.
Damilare Ogunleye is the co-founder and CEO of FoodLama.
He runs the Google-backed startup with his cofounder – 18-year-old Santiago Schmitt.
But how does the startup work? FoodLama is a free-to-install-and-use browser extension that simplifies online grocery shopping with preferences.
By taking into account your household’s individual allergies, preferences, and needs, FoodLama provides a personalized shopping experience as you scroll through your favorite grocer. So, you see the products to avoid as you shop and quickly discover the best alternative recommendations.
How did he connect with his first cofounder
“Most cofounder matchmaking sites follow the same format as online dating. You fill in your bio and quickly explain what you’re looking for.
“It was actually my future cofounder, Santiago Schmitt, who first found me and sent a direct message on StartHawk. In his message he told me that he was looking for a partner who could help bring his idea to change the face of grocery shopping to the world,” he wrote in Techcrunch.
StartHawk is a platform that “is here to make your co-founder search as easy and effective as possible” through its search algorithim.
Speaking about how the startup idea came about Ogunleye added: “The idea was simple, and his (Santiago Schmitt’s) story was persuasive.
“He had come from a family with a range of dietary preferences — he is allergic to corn and nuts himself. Online grocery shopping had always been a real challenge — from endless ingredient lists to broken shopping filters and poor product recommendations. Santiago wanted to build a product that would show users exactly what they could and couldn’t have as they scrolled through grocer sites (without having to click) and recommended the food best fit for their household. Even better: he already had a mockup.”
And the rest is history. Despite the age difference the two were able to find a common ground and similar interests.
So it’s clear matchmaking platforms can be good in the sense that one thing is certain – almost everyone on there is there because they want to be in business.
But there are a few downsides that we’ll explore later on.
What are some of these match-making platforms?
YC’s free online platform for finding a high-quality co-founder. Match with co-founders based on your preferences for interests, skills, and location.
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.
The website states: “Are you looking for a co-founder for your startup or to join a startup as a co-founder? Having trouble meeting people and finding opportunities during Covid, when there are only a few events? Join us for online socials and pitches and find the co-founder or startup that’s right for you.”
But…you still need to do your own vetting
Vetted or not vetted. It’s pretty easy to make an account on YC Combinator’s matching platform. You write a few things about yourself, what your looking for in a cofounder and then boom that’s pretty much it.
I’ve used the platform to test things out and what you find is that it’s doesn’t take away the labour of having to personally vet someone yourself.
You still have to ask for references because they aren’t asked to provide those when signing up and in some cases the people you think could be a great match on paper are absolutely awful in person.
There’s also the danger of ideas being stolen. Truthfully there’s no way to know someone’s intention – it may truly be to start a cofounder relationship, see the pitch deck and then jump onto the idea or it might be a way to get ideas and build it out themselves.
No idea is original.
Very rarely has something ‘never been done before’ no matter how much a founder likes to think.
But no one wants their deck stolen or copied.
Perhaps I’m just being skeptical but it’ll be interesting to see how these platforms advance in the future and what safety and vetting features they put place.
If I’ve missed any platforms or you’d be keen to share your own thoughts please drop me a DM on Twitter @abbiancamak