The origin of the startup company Be Founders goes back a few years ago when Mason Dahl had an idea for another startup app.
“I don’t even remember exactly what the app was, because it’s been so long ago,” said Dahl, who is from Richmond and is a senior graphic design student at Virginia Commonwealth University.
What did stick with Dahl was how difficult it was to find a partner who could help him bring the idea to fruition.
“I am a designer, so I was looking for a iOS developer, an area I did not have a lot of experience in,” Dahl said. “A big challenge was finding someone who had the skill sets to develop it.”
While doing an internship with Capital One, Dahl met Willem Drescher, another intern who was a computer science student at VCU.
They started to discuss the problems that young entrepreneurs have in finding people who can join them in creating new businesses. The idea emerged to develop an online tool that would help link talented people with good ideas for new businesses.
The two have partnered to create Be Founders, an online platform designed to help entrepreneurs find the right partners to make their ideas into a reality.
The site is designed to help people “find the perfect co-founder for their startup,” Dahl said. “You can connect with other passionate entrepreneurs who either have a startup or want to partner with you on your big idea. Utilizing our network page, you can quickly filter users by status, role, industry, skill sets and location.”
The site, befounders.com, went live recently with a goal of reaching 1,000 members by January and growing from there into a global networking tool.
“It is free to sign up — no strings attached,” Drescher said. “You can sign in with your Google account and get started right away, and it is across the country.”
“I think we have had a decent response” so far, Drescher said. “But we are definitely looking to get the word out right now.”
Dahl pointed to research showing that more than 23% of startup businesses fail due to “team-related” issues, including not having the skill sets to accomplish the necessary goals, not being able to execute on an idea, and a “lack of passion” on the team for trying to solve the problem the startup was created to solve.
The site does collect information about members based on their skills and interests to make it easier to link people with compatible talents and similar goals.
“We want our users to be completely transparent and open about what they stand for and what they are working on,” he said. “We want people to easily find out what they are interested in.”
The primary target market for the online platform is young entrepreneurs.
“Older entrepreneurs have typically built up a network of connections,” Dahl said. “We see our network as being more suited to younger people like us who are either in school or have just graduated. We want to market this to universities and coworking spaces or other places where young entrepreneurs are going.”