Interview with Oliver Bremer (Founder2be)
Founder2be is a co-founder finding service; a Match.com for co-founders.
I interviewed Oliver Bremer, Founder2be founder to find out more. This interview is the thirty third in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Oliver for the interview!
How would you describe Founder2be in under 50 words?
Founder2be is the match.com for finding a co-founder.
What inspired you to come up with the idea of Founder2be?
Originally, I had another idea for a start-up I wanted to start. Now, I honestly don’t remember what it even was. And that’s because I never even got started which was due to not being able to find a co-founder for it. This was how the idea for Founder2be came about. Fortunately, I found a co-founder for that.
Could you tell us about the Founder2be Global Alliance Program?
The Global Alliance Program comprises incubators and accelerators who are working to help entrepreneurs launch successful start-ups. One common experience seems to be that they receive many applications from single founder ‘teams’. Unfortunately, starting a successful start-up all alone is even more challenging than with a team of people. Rather than rejecting single team applicants, members of the program can now encourage applicants to find a co-founder first and apply again as a team. But Founder2be has advantages not only at the application stage; any start-up will reach the point when it is time to grow the team and Founder2be can help with that as well.
Congratulations on surpassing the $20m mark of co-founder funding! What co-founder success stories has Founder2be had so far?
Thanks! We don’t monitor the private interactions between co-founders on the site. So, we rely on people coming back to us and telling us ‘Hey, thanks so much! I found someone on your site and now we started working together.’ That has happened a few times which makes us very happy.
One thing we are seeing is that most of those who let us know after they found someone, prefer us not to say who they are or what they are working on. I think a preference for stealth mode is common, especially with first time entrepreneurs. It’s up to everyone to decide for themselves. Of course, we’d prefer if people would be more open as we could share more success stories then. Because latest when you launch you want all the attention and coverage in the world, right? So, why not start already earlier?
Anyways, one of the companies that came together with Founder2be and is already out in the open is Ziliot.com.
Users share their ideas for start-ups on Founder2Be. Are there any issues around protection of these ideas?
Founder2be takes no part in protecting ideas. We focus on bringing people together and matching them based on their skills and profiles.
My personal opinion is that ideas are just ideas. What matters is the team behind them and their ability to execute. Telling others about your idea can be the best way of finding a co-founder. If you don’t tell much, how can you expect anybody to want to join you? I see ideas is an extension to co-founder profile. What do you want to do and why.
The only reason when you do not want to share your ideas is when you think you have something that can be patented.
Do you have any new features for Founder2be in the pipeline?
Absolutely! We are doing a major revamp of our ideas section to allow co-founders to find each other even better based on what they want to do. We’ll introduce some very nice features to make the connections around the what much more engaging.
Has Founder2be got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
At the beginning, we really did not know what to expect. Before even we got started, a number of people told us that ‘finding a co-founder can never be done online’.
IMHO, if two people can meet online, go on dates, form a relationship and eventually get married, then it must be possible to also find a co-founder online. So, we did not listen and went ahead anyways.
Services like match.com and founder2be.com are very different especially in one way: dating is fun, you have butterflies in your stomach, etc. and then after a while reality settles in. Starting a start-up is very hard and reality slaps you in the face from day one.
Of course, you want growth to be faster always. It’s never enough. We are very pleased with our sign-ups going up every day. The most amazing thing is the feedback: People love Founder2be. They take the time to write to us to just say that, they offer their help, and this is just amazing. So, we are fully focused on delivering value to anyone who is looking for a co-founder to start a start-up with or to join one that has already gotten under way.
One thing that totally surprised us is the amount of money people can chip in to get things of the ground. With one or two co-founders, there is a good chance you’ll have as much cash as most of the famous incubator programs offer you (of course, they offer things as well; but then they take equity, too). And these are realistic figures if you look at age, country, previous successes, etc.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
People always ask us about LinkedIn. We’d be silly to compare ourselves to them. Everybody wants a job with a salary; very few people want to quit their jobs, live on Ramen noodles. So, it’s a totally different audience. Codacademy is interesting because they are about teaching programming to everyone, which is kind of competitive at least for those people who are looking for a programmer co-founder. And then there is Techcofounder which brings together people who are programmers and people who need programmers in a good old job posting type of fashion.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
The start-ups we will see in 2012 that nobody is even thinking about right now.
What are you most excited about for the future?
The prospects 2012 holds for everyone who is willing to take the leap into start-up life. Marc Andreessen predicts “SW is eating the world” and it has never been easier to launch a start-up in that area. Take those two together and 2012 can be very powerful.
Can you convince the reader to start using Founder2be in under 50 words?
Don’t start a start-up if you are happy and satisfied in your current job. But if you think you can do more, maybe even have an idea, then go find a co-founder and make it happen.
Finished reading? Check out Founder2be!