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Co-Founder Meetup #3 in Lagos

The second Founder2be event held in Lagos was a success but the third event on the 25th of May was even bigger. The event was overbooked by 200% - a noticeable increase in interest than the first and second events.

See more pictures from the amazing event on our Facebook page.


The format of the event was quite similar to the last event. Kicking off at 4PM at Function Room 1 of Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, there were short 15 min talks by some invited guest speakers coming from various backgrounds ranging from legal to information technology-but all partial to business creation. The speakers were:

Mr Tomi Davies, the MD/CEO of TechnoVision, a Tech services company based in Lagos. He sits on the board of various organizations including Slimtrader, Strika Entertainment and MBO capital. He is the Chairman of Mobile Monday Nigeria and the Convener of Lagos Angel Network, an exclusive network of angel investors focused on supporting early stage start-ups in Lagos. Tomi gave a talk on the Lagos StartUp Scene in 2014.

Mr Weyinmi Jemide, the Chief Client Officer of Weyinmi Jemide LLP. Through this entity, he influences organizations using coaching and training, and facilitates learning interactions across organization levels. He is a Certified Facilitator of The Leadership Challenge Workshops and a Certified Master Coach from the Behavioral Coaching Institute of Australia - the first Nigerian to attain both certifications. He spoke on 3 Questions for Entrepreneurial Minds.

Also in attendance were start-up founders, Raphael Afaedor and Nwachukwu Onyeaso, who sat on a panel to answer questions from attendees. Raphael is the co-founder and CEO of Supermart, a grocery delivery service based in Lagos. Prior to starting Supermart, Raphael co-founded Jumia in 2012 and led its tremendous growth in the capacity of co-Managing Director before resigning in 2014. Nwachukwu is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Pushandstart.com, Africa’s premier equity and debt-based crowdfunding platform.

The networking session however was the highlight of the event. Participants got to share their ideas with one another. As well as talk about their challenges and what they were looking for in a co-founder.

The event came to an end around 8:00PM with a vote of thanks delivered by a member of the Entarado team as the Founder2be ambassadors, however, many people stayed even longer afterwards and continued the networking.

The event was supported by Forbes Africa, who sent a representative and also handed out copies of Forbes Africa and Forbes Africa Woman Magazines to attendees. Other supporters included ServiceDesk.com.ng, TechCabal.com and the Lagos Angel Network.

If you’re still looking for a co-founder, then head on over to Founder2be and create your account for free today!

Filed under co-founders startup founders startup ideas lagos

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Co-Founders in Helsinki, Finland

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What a night! Yesterday, we had the very first co-founder finding event in Helsinki, Finland the place where Founder2be all started out. About time you could say. And right you are.

Founder2be now connects co-founders and entrepreneurs in over 100 countries with events on five continents in vibrant cities from New York, Shanghai, London, Perth, Beijing, Lagos, Montreal and many many more. And so it was that 50 energetic entrepreneurs thirsty for success squeezed into the cozy cellar restaurant of downtown Tex-Mex heaven Iguana, where Henri made sure nobody dehydrated. Check out the pictures.

Inspired by the talk from Jarno and Marko, the co-founders of Random, who shared their story of how they got started on an idea so ambitious that most people thought they’d need an army to make it happen, and Aniekan, the first entrepreneur who found his co-founder with Founder2be since its inception, everybody was stoked about getting started on the networking.

A great balance of people armed with ideas, mockups, prototypes and even functioning products looking for help (OmaKirja, TaganizeSalecan, etc. just to name a few), and those with skills curious about the startup world, what’s out there and who they might be able to join, made for an amazing evening. The demand for talent is high and everyone was competing for everyone’s else share of mind and skills: co-founder matching on steroids!

With lots of new connections made, the most die hard entrepreneurs went home 4h later, double the time we had planned. A big thank you to everyone who came. Sign-up at www.founder2be.com to continue meeting talented entrepreneurs 24/7. You’ll also be the first to be notified of our next event.

Filed under co-founders hackers design co-founder startup ideas startups helsinki

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Interview with founders of iOS App Random, which is backed by co-founder of Skype

Founder2be conducted an interview with Marko Anderson and Jarno Koponen, co-founders of Random, an exciting Helsinki-based startup that is reinventing how we surf the web. Random is backed by Janus Friis (co-founder of Skype) and they recently launched their iOS App globally. We asked them to share their story of how they got started, where they are today, and what they have planned next.

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Who are the co-founder(s) and what is everyone’s role?

Marko: 

Jarno and myself were the original co-founders. We are both product people – we are inspired by creating new user experiences. Jarno’s background is in design and the humanities, and my background is in product management and software business. We were responsible for the initial vision and product concept and funding. But we knew we couldn’t go very far on our own because to make the vision a reality, we needed to build very complex and innovative artificial intelligence that hadn’t been built before. So from very early, we put a lot of energy into finding the best possible data scientists and software people to join the team.

Jarno:

Due to the complexity of the technology we needed to build, we knew we had to be very selective and only work with world-class software developers. It wasn’t easy, but we were persistent and patient and eventually connected with great people that shared a common vision and were a perfect fit. We are now seven people in total and no one has left since joining. Everyone is important and most have been with us since the very early days. In that sense, we view everyone as cofounder because we couldn’t be where we are are without them.

What area are you working on or what is the problem are you solving?

Marko:

Random is an app for finding the unexpected. The web is overflowing with wonderful things, but the whole discovery experience has become stale and repetitive. Its pretty absurd that while the possibilities available to us on the web are ever-expanding, the current tools we use actually narrow our experience and lead us to same old places.

Jarno:

Random wants to inspire curiosity and allow people to explore the web more independently and anonymously. The app has a fresh interface that allows you to choose from a selection of topics and go as deep as you want into associated content. The playful combination of relevancy and serendipity offers you positive surprises. It never shows you the same thing twice. And its machine learning algorithms adapt to your interests and patterns over time so it gets better the more you use it.

How did you guys meet?

Jarno:

I was presenting my Masters thesis at Aalto University Media Lab and Marko happened to be in the audience. The topic of my thesis work was ‘personal future simulation system’. I was exploring how our personal digital data could be used to create new predictive experiences and use cases.

Marko:

I was working at Nokia at the time, focusing on predictive analytics of smartphone data. I was really excited about how all this emerging mobile data could be used to make predictions and recommendations that would benefit people in new ways. Even though we hadn’t met, we were essentially exploring the same ideas in very different contexts.

How did you come up with the idea for Random?

Jarno:

Marko approached me when I got off-stage after my Media Lab presentation and we had a really long and deep conversation right then and there. It was immediately clear we both had a deep passion around the same topic so we agreed to meet again a couple days later. We just started bouncing ideas and getting to know each other over the next month or so. As we were discussing and sketching out possibilities, the actual product concept started to emerge and became more clear. It also became clear how our skills would compliment each other. So when we had the concept for the first prototype detailed out, we just decided we had to figure out a way to make it happen.

When did you start working on your startup and what were the most difficult first steps?

Marko:

I had just given my notice to quit Nokia because I needed a change - but I had no concrete plans of what I was going to do next. Jarno was in a similar mindset after just finishing at Media Lab. After we discussed for about a month and the energy felt good, we set a date (about 1 month ahead) when we would both ‘officially’ decide if this was just an interesting conversation or if we were going to fully commit to doing this together. I think that was a very important step as it gave us time to step-back and evaluate personal factors and other opportunities. Full commitment is so important, especially in the beginning, that we wanted to make it as clear as possible if we were committed to going “all-in”, or not. So we actually founded the company about 3 months after meeting. The fact that we didn’t know each other very well was probably the biggest risk in the beginning. Cofounding a company with someone is like a marriage and making that kind of commitment with someone you don’t know very well is a big decision. But you have to trust your instincts with people and its worked out very well for us.

Jarno:

Everything was difficult in the beginning. We had no money and we lacked the software capabilities we needed. We pretty much got laughed out of every meeting we had in our early days. The vision and product concept were very ambitious and experimental and not many people were able to fully grasp it. And those that understood it thought that it was impossible.

Marko:

We managed to scrape together the first protoype, start building a great team, and eventually did a real funding round. But nothing was easy. That’s the thing with startups, its up to entrepreneurs to pursue something they really believe in, and then just find a way to will it into existence. Nothing worthwhile comes easy – and that was certainly the case for us. 

What have you been doing since and what are the steps you have been taking? (hiring, funding, team…)

Jarno:

We have been totally focused on trying to build the best possible user experience. Our seed round allowed us grow the team and give us the runway to continuously iterate the app experience and underlying technology. But we have been careful to keep everything very lean in order to preserve runway, and also because we think focus is so important for early-stage startups – constraints help propel the creative process.

What is the current status and your plans for the rest of 2014?

Marko:

We recently launched our iOS app in the App Store globally. The response has been amazing. We couldn’t be happier about how much people are enjoying it. Also, we’ve got a lot of great feedback and suggestions and we’re working hard to continually make improvements. We’re also planning to launch the app on other platforms later this year. Overall, we’ve had a lot interest from investors and potential partners, and we’re growing the team so we can go faster and do more.

Anything else you want to share with our readers?

Jarno:

I really want to encourage everyone to try out the app, leave a review in the App Store, and contact us directly if you have any feedback. We really think there is a need for a fresh approach to web browsing that combines relevancy and serendipity. And we really want to hear what you think.

Marko:

As far as founding your own startup, I would just encourage you to pursue something that is really meaningful for you. Founding a startup is never easy and the only way to persevere through the toughest times is your belief in the importance of what your are doing. Then its just a matter of working hard, building a great team, trusting your instincts, and just never giving up.

Filed under iOS Interview Random Skype Founder Founders

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Co-founders in Shanghai #2

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We just had our second co-founder matching meetup in Shanghai, hosted by our awesome host Nik. Thank you!

About 20 awesome wantrepreneurs and serial entrepreneurs joined this exclusive event and shared their projects and experiences.

We met up at Jingan park, with the early birds having a walk in the park, after which we had ourselves some coffee at a shop nearby.

After a relaxed and laid-back meetup at the coffee shop where we all got the chance to know each other better, it was time for some serious brainstorming and professional discussions in the conference room.

The suggestions, connections and insider information we gained was priceless. Make sure not to miss our next meetup. And remember to signup online to find a co-founder 24/7 and be among the first to receive an invitation for our third matching event in Shanghai.

Filed under co-founders startups shanghai china

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How do you rationalize design choices to non-designers?

The other day I read this question on Quora and I felt like I should write an answer. So I took like 10 min to write an answer. Actually a very short answer but apparently it was well received. That’s why I decided to go a bit more into details about this here.

How do you rationalize design choices to non-designers?

The short answer is: simply explain what the benefit of the design/UX change will be. This is the essence. Why, you ask? Because by doing so you can give rationale, so that people will understand better.

It’s a bit similar to how you would (or should) treat children. They ask questions. They want to learn. You don’t help them by just giving them an annoyed ‘because it is like this’. Give rationale. ‘Why can’t I have dessert before dinner, daddy?’ - ‘Because then you would already be full and wouldn’t be able to eat the healthy part of the meal.’ See, easy.

It works like this with almost anything else. And design is no exception. So, for design rationales could be:

  • It takes less clicks for the user to reach his goal.
  • Benchmarking has shown that positioning element x at place y is common and the user therefore doesn’t need to learn new behavior.
  • A/B testing has shown better click-through rate.
  • User testing has proven that the change makes task n easier for the users.

What will often happen, is that somebody else - often a product guy or dev, or even another designer - will come with a counter proposal. And often - especially in a review meeting, etc. - they will simply say what solution comes to their mind in this very moment (yes, the first thought often is the right one but some well invested hours of thinking about something can go a long way and in the end… well, this is a topic for another blog post).

What I usually do is thinking the counter-proposal through - right in this moment. Just go through it in your mind, step by step. I also consider edge cases.

So, think it through, then point out flaws, which will lead to problems or user frustration. Show that their proposal is a worse solution for the problem at hand. Be diplomatic though - remember it’s about great UX, which will in the end make the user happy and your product more successful.

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2nd Co-Founder Meetup in Lagos

The first Founder2be event that was held in Lagos and Africa on the 11th of August 2013 was obviously a big hit as reflected in the response to the second event on the 24th of November. The first event was fully booked in 5 days, after 3 days, you couldn’t get a ticket for the second event. The first event was over booked by 100% and even though the capacity of the second event was increased by 40%, it was still overbooked by 120%. Those fortunate enough to get a ticket made for an amazing crowd as witnessed by in the event’s pictures.

So, how do you increase your chances of getting a ticket for the next event? Easy: just join the co-founder community online and be the first to get an invite next time.

Kicking off at 4PM at the Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, there were short 10 min talks by some invited guest speakers coming from various backgrounds ranging from legal to information technology-but all partial to business creation. The speakers were:

George Akomas jr, who amongst other things is a strategist, trainer, and entrepreneur partial to start-ups. He spoke on The Idea behind Ideas.

Dapo Adesanya, the Country Director, Innovation Institute (Nigeria), with over ten years experience in Business research, Innovation and Strategy, and having consulted across Europe, U.S. Singapore and Australia for some of the world’s top companies; including Virgin, Entrevo, Google, Coca-Cola, Tesco, IBM and UK Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, Dapo was a prize addition and spoke on Ideas, Strategy & Execution.

Akin Oyebode is a trained economist turned banking professional with a passion for social and economic development in Sub Saharan Africa. As Head SME Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank, he’s responsible for designing and implementing the value proposition to help SME customers run and grow their businesses. He was responsible for the introduction of the bank’s SME Quick Loan product, through which over $37 Million has been disbursed to 3,000 businesses that hitherto would not have been able to access finance from banks. He spoke on The Power of Failure.

Osita Nwoye is the co-founder of Fonenode.com, a tool that helps web and mobile applications to communicate with telephone networks. He did a product demo and answered question from attendees on finding and working with a co-founder.  

There was a surprise appearance by Tomi Davies, the convener of Lagos Angel Network -  an exclusive network of angel investors focused on supporting early stage start-ups in Lagos. He had emailed in that he wanted to come for this event and actually shared a few words before he left.

There was a high level of interaction between the participants and when it was time to network, the place came alive. Participants were asked to talk about their ideas and what they were looking for in a co-founder with people in their tables and after 10 minutes, tables were reshuffled. There was a lot of contributing and positive feedback around the tables as people bounced their ideas off others present.

The event came to an end around 8:30PM with a vote of thanks delivered by a member of the Entarado team, our ambassadors for Founder2be, and a lot of requests as to when the next event would hold.

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Houston Co-Founder Meetup

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The first Founder2be co-founder meet-up in Houston kicked off with a special student edition. The event happened at RED Labs, a startup accelerator for the University of Houston community.

At 6 pm, the room was packed with college students of different majors. It was not difficult breaking the ice, interaction started right away and small groups were formed. Students introduced themselves to as many people as they could, grabbed some food and joined in small groups. The house activity for the night was the 1-minute pitching session. The format of the activity was to discuss a problem in 20 seconds, their solution in 30 seconds and what qualities they are looking for in their co-founder in the remainder of the time.

Many business ideas were presented and one of the best parts of the event was that many students agreed that they came up with ideas for a start-up at the event; once they saw the atmosphere, ideas started rushing in.

After that, everyone engaged in free casual pitching. As the night grew older, smaller groups were formed, common grounds were found and co-founders were matching.

Stay tuned. The next co-founder finding event in Houston will come soon. Until then, you can always find a co-founder for your startup idea also online.

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Co-Founder Meetup Tallinn, Estonia

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The first co-founder finding event by Founder2be in Estonia was a huge success. We had around 25 people at the Garage48Hub co-working space in Tallinn: a mix of developers, designers and business/marketing folks.

The evening kicked off with lessons learned from Riina Einberg, general manager of ZeroTurnaround and a true team building pro. At least half of the audience seemed touched by what Riina had to say about “lonely-wolf”-type people - this seemed like a topic worthy of a separate workshops.

About a third of participants then chose to do a 1-min slideless pitch on their startup idea: we had everything from hi-tech electronics to a platform connecting artists to the business world. And the evening continued with semi-moderated speed dating, where people in groups of 3 introduced themselves to each other in 1-minute sessions. This fluently turned into the main part of the evening: good old networking. This continued for more than an hour and a group of 8 ended up having late dinner together in a nearby pub.

It’s too early too tell how many new partnerships got started, but good many people appeared to have good many good chats. A successful evening, then.

Big thanks to everyone for coming, to Garage48Hub for hosting us, to Riina Einberg for sharing her observations, to Veinisõber for providing social lubrication, and to our MC Andrus who organized the entire event.

If the topic of referral marketing tickles your fancy, you should get in touch with Andrus about Recoworks. This kick-ass referral marketing platform is looking for a partner-in-crime.

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Teaming up with Startup Weekend

Finding the right team is one of the most important factors for any successful startup. That’s why every Startup Weekend begins with participants forming teams to work on the ideas being pitched for the next 54h.

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We are now teaming up with Startup Weekend in Helsinki to get even more participants to join what will be an amazing weekend from Nov 22nd to 24th and turn ideas into projects and startups.

Attending a Startup Weekend is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to or even just thinking whether to start or join a startup. It’s an event you should not miss.

And now you can start looking for designers, developers, marketers and many others already in advance right on the Startup Weekend Helsinki website. See someone you’d like to have on your team? Invite him or her to attend the event with you.

Several of the ideas that started out at Startup Weekends already turned into successful startups with team members we helped put together. Déjàmor, for example, reached six figure revenues in less than a year.

Register for Startup Weekend Helsinki today. And invite someone else to come along.

PS We are supporting startup events all around the world. Add co-founder matching to your own website, contact us.

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App Partner: Idea Growr

Good ideas can strike anywhere, not only when you are focused on trying to come up with a solution to a problem. The best ideas come to own problems whenever and wherever you encounter them. That’s why we decided to partner with Idea Growr.

Idea Growr is a great app for Android devices, which lets you quickly capture an idea wherever you are and jot down notes as you keep thinking about them. And as your idea matures, you might want to turn it into a project or even a startup.

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Based on our experience with literally thousands of ideas on Founder2be, we decided to contribute the “Idea To Startup” question pack to Idea Growr to help you consider some things you might want to think about as you develop your idea into a startup. The question pack is available for free inside the app. And since ideas often lead to wanting to team up with a co-founder, we are glad to be contributing co-founder matching to Idea Growr as well. Idea Growr is published by the Applits App Ideas Competition.

Become a Founder2be partner!
If you are providing a service that helps entrepreneurs, we’d love to hear from you. Apply to join Founder2be as a partner, reach the startup community and help co-founders and startups succeed.