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Founder Soup to allow entrepreneurs to pitch for co-founders

Monday, 30 January 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Stanford University and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz have launched a start-up generator titled Founder Soup, whereby entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in a bid to recruit co-founders.

 

Founded by serial entrepreneur Mike Dorsey, Founder Soup aims to help entrepreneurs recruit the right founding team to build their start-up, which can be a “painfully inefficient process”.

 

“Entrepreneurs pitch to VCs. And what do the VCs typically do? They give feedback on the idea and they want to meet the engineers who will actually be building the product,” Founder Soup says on its website.

 

“So what does the average idea person have to show for after these events? Not much. Certainly, this process doesn’t help us build teams or products.”

 

“Founder Soup’s going to turn this process on its head. Instead of pitching to VCs, why not meet the engineers you need to get your idea off the ground?”

 

“Founder Soup [allows you] to recruit the team of technical co-founders that will help build your idea into a lasting company.”

 

According to Dorsey, the program was inspired by his own experiences as a young entrepreneur.

 

“As a CS student and an MBA, I would constantly get questions from entrepreneurs to connect them to people with coding skills. I’d also get all these coders with great products who needed business co-founders,” Dorsey told TechCrunch.

 

At its first full-scale event last week, FounderSoup brought together 170 PhD, MBA and undergraduate students, pitching ideas across a range of industries including health technology and energy.

 

“We offered pitch practice sessions, with feedback, so that the ‘idea’ teams could get feedback on their presentation before hitting the big stage,” a Founder Soup spokesperson says.

 

“Each participant received a list of all teams presenting (with contact information) and submitted a scorecard (rating the top teams).”

 

“The contact information helps talent participants follow up with the teams they are interested in.

 

The scorecard allows us to get data on the best pitches to improve in the future.”

 

Ivan Lim, founder of Melbourne-based online retailer Vinspi, says finding a co-founder proved to be an impossible task when he started his business.

 

“When the business idea first came up, I did speak to a few interested parties but unfortunately things didn’t quite work out,” Lim told StartupSmart.

 

“After building Vinspi on my own, I realised how valuable having a colleague – who was equally invested into the business – could be.”

 

Sydney entrepreneur Haig Kayserian, CEO of New York-based Kayweb Angels, says while Australia is yet to see something similar to Founder Soup, the start-up scene is not missing out.

 

“In Australia, I saw some real activity in 2011 with Startmate, Pushstart and others launching incubator programs,” Kayserian says.

 

“I saw a couple of big tech exits and also some funding coming in for Australian start-ups.”

 

“I also met a number of Australian tech entrepreneurs working on project[s] when I was living in New York and travelling throughout the US. There is no reason why this will not continue.”