Home Articles Cofounder dating scene hotting up as startup seeks out more partners

Cofounder dating scene hotting up as startup seeks out more partners


Cofounder Speed Date has come far in its mission to help entrepreneurs find equally passionate cofounders — a key bridge to success. But the startup — itself less than a year old — is now reaching out to more and more local partners in a bid to accelerate the process.

This month, it will run two events in partnership with two of Australia’s leading startup hubs — Fishburners in Sydney and York Butter Factory in Melbourne.

The Sydney event is scheduled for 20 May and the Melbourne one is set for 27 May. Cofounder Speed Date is offering a limited number of special discounts for Anthill readers. Use promo code “AHT512” for Tech Founder tickets; and “AHB512” for Business Founder tickets.

In March, Cofounder Speed Date ran a similar pair of events in Sydney and Melbourne, in partnership with AngelCube, an early-stage investor.

Cofounder Speed Date founders Ryan Wardell and Navdeep Saini believe their startup has the potential to be as big as StartUp Weekend, which has gained a global reach with its promise of setting up news startups in 54 hours flat.

“We’ve had confirmed matches from every event we’ve run. Nearly all our attendees walk away with at least two or three potential cofounders they want to follow up with. So the structure of the event definitely works,” says Wardell.

“Now we’re just figuring out how to scale it up — and that involves getting other people in other cities to run it. StartUp Weekend has done a great job of that, and we’re considering a similar model,” he adds.

The speed dating proceeds along these lines:

Attendees are split into two equal groups – tech founders (coders) and business founders. Each goes on a series of 8-minute “mini-dates” with 13 potential cofounders and discuss ideas and skills. Of course, people are unlikely to close a “deal” in eight minutes but it is long enough to arrange a follow-up meeting with select potential co-founders.

The secret to the event’s success, Wardell believes, is the emphasis on personal connections, rather than ideas.

“There are a lot of really talented, highly skilled people in the corporate world who hate their job and want to do a startup — they just don’t have any ideas or the right network to make it happen,” he says. “For those people, coming to an event like Cofounder Speed Date, meeting other entrepreneurs who are screaming out for their skills — it’s opening up a whole new world for them.”