I had three days to find a cofounder. This is what I did.

The Story

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last week, it’s two things.

  1. Ask questions.
  2. This startup thing is hard.

This is why:

It’s Wednesday afternoon of last week in Melbourne-town. I had just found out that I didn’t get an interview for AngelCube. Suffice to say – I really wanted an interview. So, I figured, “Why not, I’ll ask Adrian what’s up”.

He replied with a short answer: “You don’t have a co-founder. If you find one by Saturday, let me know.”

“Fair enough”, I said.

I gave Matt a call. “Hey, I need a co-founder, I think I should build a microsite, what should I call it? Ineeda.co/founder or something?”. “Nah”. “cofounderinternetdating.com?” “Too long”.

“Wait, this kind of sounds like a dating website, Anthony…” Matt Joked. “But I just had four girls in a row stand me up on me on OKCupid…” (this bit of information, unfortunately, wasn’t a joke)

“Wait, since this is a joke, what about OKCofounder.com?”. “I LOVE IT!!!111!!”

Great artists don’t copy…

And I begun the next phase of my experiment: building OKCofounder. This train of thought bounced through my head:

“Wait, I should answer some funny questions and maybe even rip off the OKCupid branding. This is turning into a funny joke.”

“Let’s submit it to Silicon Beach. Oh, why not, Hacker News as well”. A few minutes later, I started spamming a few friends on Facebook.

“Upvote plz”. “Dude, it’s on the front page.” “Oh, shit.”

And then it started. I had a barrage of responses – some from people who didn’t even read the site and pitched me their idea, some from a fellow solo founder to just say thanks. Some that I still need to reply to. A few people even came to the AngelCube speed dating night on the Thursday because of seeing the site. I had coffee with a few others. It was a kind of insane period. Some of my friends thought I had dropped off the face of the earth.

Data is sexy

A few people had emailed/tweeted me and asked me to quantify some of the data that I had from the microsite. So, here we go:

  • 8,840 visits from the 17th of April to tonight. Of those, 770 or 8.7% were from Australia, which was my target demographic.
  • 1,083 of those were from Twitter – the rest being from Hacker News or Facebook.
  • 27 “Interactions” on Facebook.
  • 39 direct links from Twitter.
  • From that spike of traffic, A total of 33 entries into my contact form. Some of the entries were hilarious and obviously didn’t pay attention to what I wanted.
  • Out of those, about 4-5 were actually quality responses.
  • A bump in my contact form conversion rate from 2.96% to 3.2%, which my understanding is going from a bit below average to average.
  • 295 views of my LinkedIn Profile.
  • An average CPC of $2.56 on an AdWords Campaign targeting “australian incubator, “adrian stone”, “angelcube”, and “startups melbourne”. There were 18 views in total.
  • 1 co-founder to pitch with.

The Vegas Wedding

From http://www.bigfoto.com/america/las-vegas/lv13_wedding_chapel.jpg

As far as finding a co-founder goes – I’m leaving his name out because I haven’t expressly asked for his permission yet, but it was a match. He’s working on something similar, lives in Melbourne, and we both have similar beliefs, a similar vision and a complimentary technical skillset. The ultimate test was assembling the IKEA table I had just bought for my apartment together. That was shit-hot.

Effectively, this match was pure luck.

But I had done what I thought was impossible – I had found a co-founder in three days.

Much like Gary Gaines in Friday Night Lights, we could get so far, but we didn’t get into the program. There’s a few things that we both thought could have done better, including working a bit more on our pitch to be able to explain what mattered.

The end game

Does the data I have, as suggested by a few of those in Hacker News, quantify the idea of building a co-founder dating website? I’m taking a few days to think about it and what I’m going to do next – whether to keep working on residen.se, work on this, work on something new, or perhaps dip back into agencyland for a little bit.

Maybe I should do something with the factory. Could a way to connect people who want to start businesses be it?

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