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Cofounder Speed Date to match-make techies and non-techies

Friday, 3 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The founder of Sydney-based crowdfunding site Project PowerUp will host a speed dating event for tech start-ups later this month, designed to connect business founders with tech founders.


Project PowerUp founder Ryan Wardell, along with tech entrepreneur Navdeep Siani, will launch Cofounder Speed Date in Sydney on February 20. Wardell says the event will be held monthly.


“The idea is to connect business founders with tech founders… This is less about the business idea and more about meeting people with the skills you need,” Wardell says.


Wardell says he decided to set up Cofounder Speed Date after his own struggle to find a tech co-founder for his business.


“Sydney has a wonderful start-up ecosystem now, but nearly all of it requires you to already have the right team in place first,” he says.


“What was missing was a simple and efficient way to meet people with the skills you need, who want to work in a start-up.”


“Startmate had just announced that it would be taking eight companies out of the 164 that had applied. Mine was not one of them.”


“So I approached [Startmate co-founder] Niki Scevak about finding me a co-founder from one of the other Startmate rejects.”


“He told me he wasn’t going to do it for just one person, but if I put on an event he would promote it to his mailing list.”


Two weeks later, a small-scale trial event was held at Sydney co-working space Fishburners, with no more than 30 tickets for sale – 15 for tech co-founders and 15 for non-tech co-founders.


According to Wardell, the tickets were gone within four hours of announcing the event. He realised there was a huge demand for regular events connecting tech and non-tech entrepreneurs.


The first Cofounder Speed Date will be held over three hours, offering each participant the chance to meet 13 potential co-founders. You must purchase a ticker in order to attend.


It will cater for 52 people in total – 26 tech entrepreneurs and 26 non-tech entrepreneurs – who will be divided up into two tables.


“Upon arrival, participants will be welcomed and receive a rundown of how the event works. The tables will be set up in a horseshoe shape,” Wardell says.


“The tech guys sit on the inside [of the horseshoe] and the business guys sit on the outside. We’ll run it for eight minutes and then we’ll ring a bell, and the business guys move one seat over.”


“In the middle, we’ll have a break and there’ll be a quest speaker.”


“Because you only get to meet half of the potential co-founder candidates [as participants don’t change tables], that will hopefully serve as an incentive to come back for the next event.”