FounderDating, the networking service that matches startup entrepreneurs with potential co-founders who have complementary skill-sets, has launched in London. The platform already spans 19 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, LA, New York, Boston, but London is only its second international city — the first being Tel Aviv in Israel.
FounderDating’s service acts as a private LinkedIn for entrepreneurs — being invite-only. Once a member is invited to join they can for a one-time $50 fee which gives access to the entire global network. All applicants are screened and referenced, with only invited members getting access. Half the network’s membership is engineers, a proportion FounderDating says it intentionally maintains to ensure balance.
London has earned its place in the network through FounderDating’s unlocking process, where it keeps a tally of the number of applicants it’s getting per city — with 75+ required before it will add a city to its network. Other cities that have recently been unlocked by applicants include Chicago, Boulder/Denver and Raleigh/Durham, while cities that are close to being unlocked include Atlanta, Miami and Bangalore — although the choice of when to extend to a new city ultimately rests with FounderDating.
After the unlocking process confirmed there was appetite for its service in London, FounderDating Founder and CEO, Jessica Alter, says it spent time talking to “influencers and entrepreneurs” from the scene to figure out how best to fit in with the existing community. “We put a lot of time into talking to influencers and entrepreneurs on the ground there (from Jon Bradford at TechStars to Sherry Cotou to the Google Campus folks). We wanted to ensure that this was something they felt the ecosystem needed and understand where the important differences may lie,” she tells TechCrunch.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to has been unbelievably positiive and agrees being able to connect people at that stage is a huge hole right now. We’ve already started screening and invited London members. In the future we’ll have local ManagingDirectors that will do that.”
Asked what makes London a good place to found a startup, Alter said: “London has really come up in the last few years and it seems to be a combination of top down and bottom up support coalescing at the same time. You have big companies and organizations making commitments there — Google and TechCity, etc. But you also have the emergence of real community organizing and a wealth of talent. The two coalescing simultaneously is really difficult to do and makes London a super exciting place.”
As well as getting access to FounderDating’s online network, members are invited to what it calls Kickoffs — offline networking events — on a quarterly basis. The first of those in London will take place on June 20th. To be considered for that the deadline to apply to join FounderDating is June 12th.
Where next in Europe might FounderDating expand to after London? “We haven’t announced anything yet and right now we’re letting the market lead us,” says Alter. “But we’re definitely looking closely at Europe. There is just a ton of interesting communities there.”