Entrepreneurs seeking business partners -- Gazette.Net


This story was corrected on April 30, 2013. An explanation follows the story.

A successful business needs the right people, and one area company thinks that looking for them can be a little like looking for a date.

Rockville-based CoFoundersLab offers “matchmaking for entrepreneurs” to help aspiring business owners find the perfect marriage of ideas and skill sets.

CoFoundersLab got its start in 2010, when Shahab Kaviani, now the company’s co-founder and CEO, organized an informal meetup in Rockville. There, he met Culin Tate, who became his co-founder in the company. They realized their success in founding previous companies was due in part to finding the right business partner.

“The single biggest culprit of failed startups is co-founder-related issues,” Kaviani said.

He and Tate organized more meetups for aspiring business owners for a little more than a year.

“Before you knew it, people were coming in from other parts of the city and state,” Kaviani said.

In January 2012, Kaviani and Tate officially founded CoFoundersLab, which now organizes meetups around the country. Through those and an online match service that resembles an online dating site, Kaviani said the company has made more than 25,000 introductions, and hundreds of companies have been formed.

The company’s website, cofounderslab.com, includes profiles describing business ideas and the types of skills still needed to make them a reality. It also lists upcoming meetups in different cities, including one May 15 in Rockville.

Pete Oliver-Krueger used CoFoundersLab to speed up the process of finding a business partner.

“It seemed like a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time,” he said. “It’s hard to get a startup business going, and I learned after a year or so of trying to start one on my own that I couldn’t do it by myself.”

Oliver-Krueger runs a consulting company and community incubator in Wheaton called MillionMunkeys.net. He found two successful matches through CoFoundersLab and is working on launching two businesses with one of them, Michael Barrick of Deleware.

To find a business partner, entrepreneurs don’t just need other entrepreneurs, Oliver-Krueger said. They need to find someone interested in the same line of business who is actively looking to team up and who has skills they don’t have.

“You need an MBA type, a designer and marketing type, and a technical type, at the most basic form,” Oliver-Krueger said. “A few visits to CoFoundersLab gives you exposure to enough people to make the odds of finding the right people for your venture possible.”

Kaviani said a large percentage of the young generation of millennials — some statistics suggest more than half — want to be part of startup companies. The recent recession and the difficulty of finding jobs also has led more people to look into starting their own businesses, he said.

“We’re in the business of helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs get linked up with a co-founder,” Kaviani said.


An earlier version of this story had an incorrect suffix in the URL for MillionMunkeys.net.