FounderDating Launches An Easier Way To Find And Sign-Up Startup Advisors

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A Modest Proposal

FounderDating, a selective network where entrepreneurs can find co-founders, is adding a new way to pick up advisors. Advisors, who are usually paid with a small cut of equity, can bring lessons learned from years of in-the-field experience. 

But Jessica Alter, FounderDating’s CEO, said that finding the right advisors is often difficult. How do you know where to find people with ultra-specific domain expertise?

“How do we connect with entrepreneurs with the most relevant people and the most relevant information in their heads?” she asked.

So she’s adding the ability to search for advisors by skill set and interest through the FounderDating network. The platform, which she started working on full-time about a year and a half ago, costs about $50 to join.

But it’s a highly curated network and Alter turns away about 60 percent of the people who want to join. She didn’t say how many members the network had.

“The people part remains exceedingly hard, even though it’s cheaper and easier to start something than it was five to eight years ago,” she said. “We’re the people network for entrepreneurs.”

Initially, she focused on connecting potential co-founders. The teams FounderDating has produced include Refresh.io, which just raised $10 million, Velo Labs, which is building some kind of Internet-of-Things device for bicycles, AvidTap, and ReferBright.

The next step is naturally advising, and some of the advisors in the network include Aaron Batalion, who co-founded LivingSocial, Josh Handy, a vice president of products at Method and Katherine Woo, who is chief product officer at Kiva.

To make it even easier, Alter also added streamlined paperwork with the help of law firms like Gunderson Dettmer and Orrick. So there’s an advisor agreement where most of the terms are pretty standard, but where the entrepreneur and advisor still have leeway to decide on equity.

Overall, FounderDating has raised a seed round from investors including SoftTech, 500 Startups, Greylock’s Discovery Fund, Steve Blank and Kapor Capital.

Alter said FounderDating sits in a slightly different place than other professionally focused networks like AngelList and LinkedIn do.

She said LinkedIn looks backwards into the past at a person’s resume, while FounderDating looks into the future.

“Many founders don’t want to do work in the last field they were in,” she said. “Maybe they were in music, but their last company got sold and now their real passion is in education.”

FounderDating is also not for recruiting, unlike AngelList, which moved into hiring and direct fundraising after starting off as a curated list of possible early-stage startup investments.