Is there any evidence that this actually works to create a great founding team? Have you used it successfully?
Relatedly, might it be better to be a solo founder than to find a co-founder you don't already know well?
I was on FounderDating for at least a couple months last year actively looking. (I am speaking from a tech cofounder perspective.) During that time, a few emails were exchanged with a few prospects and a couple Skype chats were made too. But nothing came about from it.
Then instead of waiting any longer I decided to go ahead myself and just keep an eye out as I go. Soon afterward I serendipitously found another startup doing something similar to what I was trying. I contacted them just to exchange ideas. Turns out they were looking for a CTO. So here I am now.
My takeaway is that these are not magic bullets. They are one of many available channels in a co-founder search. The only thing that works is that you need to be "out there" looking. Both on- and offline.
I'm not really sure how you solve this problem, or if sites like CoFoundersLab can solve the problem. I've met up with a few people from these sites for drinks and coffee to bounce ideas around, but nothing really went further than that. IMO, The best thing to do for those actively looking for a cofounder is to constantly be "out there" as pointed out by quantisan. That means leveraging your network, going to meetups...etc and being active with it.
I think it might have to do with the approach that they're using. When someone comes here and posts an Ask HN about how to find a cofounder, people frequently mention how it's important to actually have a working relationship with the person you're starting a company with. A common piece of advice is to just start working on a side project with someone and see where it goes. CoFoundersLab profiles (and to a certain extent my interactions with people on the site) seems to focus on "here's what my background is, here's what I'm willing to invest, this is the industry I want to go in". It's less about "I have this idea, if anyone with background X thinks this is cool and wants to help me out, feel free to get in touch". Its a subtle difference, but I think it makes a big difference to not trying to 'force it'
You need a combination of wanting the same thing (to build a successful company) and being able to tolerate each other for the next few years, both through good and bad. Founder Dating is not a bad way to meet people (and, as an aside, I've seen lots of good founding teams meet at hackathons, too). But, really, get to know someone first. Do a side project or two with them. Hell, just try to become good friends.
Make sure that you know you can work with them when things are great and also work with them when you fuck up big time.
Network effects (friends of friends) are very powerful. A lot of people who want to find a co-founder need some way to get started. But you should expect that finding your co-founder will take months. You need to keep talking to people and you'll find developers, business partners, mentors, etc. and sometimes a co-founder.
* Attend action focused events like hackathons or startup wknd where you can get at least a little sense of how potential partners work.
* Minimize attendance at tech socials: they're mostly loud, biz-card waving, wastes of time, that get you no closer to getting a partner.
* Buy time at a big coworking space for a few months, where you can have meaningful 1-to-1 interactions with a large cross-section of people over time. A big space will include many people open to teaming up. Some founders I know met this way.
* You can start as a solo founder and if you're active about promotion (eg pitching/demoing at events), then you might stumble into someone who is free and interested in your particular space. When you do, attend a hackathon or work on long project together to test for fit.
* Maintain motivation - hard and the only thing that enables you to keep cycling through the possibilities.
I'm a Non-Technical co-founder and it's a little annoying when technical founders think and act like people like myself can't bring alot to the table, when we've had previous successful companies before.
If you'd just like a preview/synopsis of the book, there's a podcast of the author's talk at Stanford, which covers all the broad strokes and key points.
I am a business founder with slight knowledge about tech. Being a business founder, like mighter said again, it's hard to sell the idea to tech founder unless you prove yourself. Rather than wait for the right person to come, I decided that I bootstrap myself and launched the site.
I am still looking for that one CTO because I want to apply for incubator (ycomb, techstarts, 500 startups), but now having a fully 100% working site and some early traction, I hope I am able to attract a more credible CTO or other type founders.
If anyone here (CTO, CMO, etc) is interested to find out more, please email me at (there are 9 6's in the email)
As a side bonus (and unlike a date) you will have a longer runway with a small side income.
The various founder dating sites and events are a means to an end. A lot of it depends on your pitch and idea but it's good practice and networking never hurts.
I met one of my cofounders on Angellist.com and the other on CoFounderslab.com.
I had a decent wireframe of the site and how the database and interactions would work but the other cofounders helped to elevate the rough idea.
RoomPoll.com would not be possible without my cofounders.
I have heard mixed things about those trying to work with a cofounder remotely. Generally that only works if you have a previous working relationship. Such relationships are hard to establish remotely while also pursuing a new, risky venture.