By Sophie-Charlotte Moatti (SF Organizer, FounderDating)
In the summer of 2009, FounderDating co-founder Jessica Alter was having coffee with long-time friend and venture capitalist Saar Gur. She was thinking of starting her own company and looking for a co-founder, someone just as brilliant as her but with a technical skillset. Jessica and Saar both were keenly aware that the best founding teams share the same goals and passion, and that they have very complementary skills.
“The challenge? We tend to hang out with people who are just like us,” Jessica says. “And when we branch out, it’s hard to evaluate who’s a rock star at something we’re not an expert at.”
FounderDating was created to do just this: bring together super talented, handpicked entrepreneurs with different backgrounds and skill sets who want to start companies. It comes in at the very beginning of the value-creation cycle with the mission to be the best at connecting like-minded people and help them get started.
Jessica and Saar initially threw up a simple web page asking that people email them if they wanted to come. The response was immediately overwhelming, with hundreds of people applying online to be invited to one of the exclusive events in San Francisco/Bay Area. Rah co-founder Nichiketa Choudhary for example, met her co-founder at a FounderDating event in San Francisco last year. Six months later, they incorporated and began working on it full time.
“What differentiates FounderDating is the extreme quality of its members,” says Jessica. “They excel at what they do, are passionate about innovation, and are committed to starting a new company in the very short-term. It’s a truly unique group of people.”
Fast forward two years to a website and more tools built to connect people. The service recently expanded to Seattle and will be rolled to other cities later this year.
“Critical to our members is to maintain parity of people with technical vs. business expertise,” says Sophie-Charlotte Moatti who recently started running the SF/Bay Area chapter. “That’s not easy in Silicon Valley these days, where for each engineer applying, we get two business applications.”
Demand in Silicon Valley has grown so quickly that the team is looking at ways to serve the founders’ community with online tools that could supplement the events.
The next FounderDating event is April 27 in San Francisco – Apply for your spot by April 15!
About the guest blogger: Sophie-Charlotte Moatti runs the SF/Bay Area chapter at FounderDating. She loves helping fellow entrepreneurs find their soulmate to go change the world. She’s currently working with great partners on a couple of exciting stealth ventures. Prior, she launched digital products, communities, and services at startups and leading software firms such as Electronic Arts, Yahoo!, and Nokia.