FounderDating, the pre-eminent co-founder matchmaking service and entrepreneur networking platform, is moving beyond the generalities of a “technology” focus to announce its first sector specific vertical. The company has partnered with Teach For America’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative in Launching FounderDating Education.
The interest driven network will foster business relationships among the growing number of entrepreneurs in the education sector. With the addition of Teach For America, FounderDating has created otherwise rare serendipity between those with subject matter expertise in education and learning and those with business and technology expertise.
“We saw bottom-up demand,” says FounderDating founder and CEO Jessica Alter. “There’s a lot of interest and excitement around Edtech and education entrepreneurship in general, but very little being done to help individuals at the earliest stage find the right people to get started. It’s a huge bonus that we’re helping entrepreneurs who are working on the biggest challenge of our time.”
Alter and her team developed the idea after noticing that applicants to the network were regularly listing “education” as an interest area on their profiles, despite it not being offered as an option on the site. “How and where to find complimentary cofounders is one of the most frequently asked questions from our alumni entrepreneurs,” says Teach For America managing director Chaula Gupta.
Teach For America attracts many of the brightest and well educated young Americans each year and has a mission is to recruit, train and support lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. The organization has an alumni network of more than 28,000 individuals, many of which are heavily entrepreneurial.
One of the leading ways they support this community of talented alumni is through offering ongoing leadership development. “How and where to find complimentary cofounders is one of the most frequently asked questions from our alumni entrepreneurs,” says Teach For America managing director Chaula Gupta.
FounderDating is an invite-only online network mandated to consist of a minimum of 50 percent engineers all times. In order to maintain this high quality and skillset balance, the company rigorously screens all applicants. The same will be true of education-focused members.
The entrepreneur network has been expanding to new geographic markets in recent months. Having been inundated with requests for live events and community support beyond traditional “tech cities” like San Francisco, New York, and Boston, the company launched an Unlock Your City program. Adopting a “put up or shut up” model, up and coming entrepreneurial hotbeds were challenged to attract there are at least 60 unique applications from within a community, after which FounderDating promised to install a city director and begin hosting online kickoff events.
With unexpected demand, the company has been expanding at a rate of nearly a new city each week since. “The exciting part is that while places you’d expect like New York and San Francisco are impressive, we’re also seeing strong demand across North America from Norfolk, Virginia to Las Vegas,” says Alter.
As proof that the model works, FounderDating points to recent success stories of Signature Labs in SF, Yabbly in Seattle, and VoxGift in Austin. Additional commonly cited examples include YC-backed Curebit and Sorced.
“We’re open to all entrepreneurs interested in creating education-focused companies,” says FounderDating Education managing director Jssie Arora. “And you do not need to have THE idea to apply, just be ready to get started on at least a serious side-project.”
FounderDating Education entrepreneurs will also be invited to an offline kickoff on September 20th in San Francisco. Interested applicants should apply here before September 4th.