Best Networking Sites for Startup Founders
Everyone is aware of the failure rate of new startup companies in this country, and that means that the odds are stacked against you before you even get started in business. However, there are a number of steps you can take which will increase your likelihood of success, and of at least surviving those crucial first couple years which have such a high mortality rate.
Success for startup companies depends on a number of factors, especially with having strong business connections on your side. It can make all the difference to have well-established partners and investors, and to have a built-in audience of customers waiting to avail themselves of your products or services. It’s always a very exciting experience for a startup founder to embark on a new business, but as many entrepreneurs have already discovered, it can also be an experience which leaves you somewhat isolated.
That being the case, it’s important to reach out to as many groups and organizations as you can for support during that crucial time where your startup company is going through its infancy. A number of networking sites have been established for just this purpose, so as to provide support and assistance to entrepreneurs who need it.
Some of the support can be in the area of funding, some can mean increased visibility for your company, and some of it can be just to relieve the considerable tension involved with the whole process, and simply have a little fun with people who are in the same boat. Below are listed some of the most useful networking sites for entrepreneurs, and it would be well worth your while to take advantage of some of these sites to get whatever support and assistance you might need.
Team building websites
For websites which specialize in helping you build your team, there are several which are excellent, and which can help guide you through the process of assembling a competent group of individuals that will have your company’s best interests at heart. FounderDating requires a $50 annual membership fee, and for that fee, you will have the opportunity to network with pre-screened entrepreneurs, and to find an experienced advisor who can guide you through some of the pitfalls associated with startups.
CoFoundersLab will allow you to create your own profile and browse through more than 35,000 other profiles so that you can identify a compatible co-founder for your startup. You will also be able to use matching tools that will help you find partners with skills complementary to your own, and who have personalities which match up well with yours. The matching tools will also help you to identify individuals who have similar goals to yours, and who might make good partners.
StartupWeekend is a global network comprised of designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and marketers who share ideas between them, help each other with product development, and share thoughts on business startups. Through networking with individuals on this site, you could theoretically be able to launch a startup within 54 hours, which is a stated goal of the website.
Cofoundr is a website which has interviewed and hired a number of talented freelance developers, who are available to interact with startup founders, and may possibly be good candidates for becoming involved with your company. All these developers were selected from a pool of candidates that were pre-screened, which means they should be well-qualified and quite useful as employees.
Websites for support and advice
The networking websites in this category have the purpose of providing whatever support is possible, as well as advice from individuals who have been through the startup routine previously, which makes their recommendations all the more valid. Startups Anonymous provides an open community where business people can anonymously share their experiences and discuss all the ups and downs of startup life.
Micromentor is a free service which makes connections between startup entrepreneurs and mentors who have had experience with startups, and are volunteering their services to help others. TheFunded is a website which specializes in discussion about the fundraising process, especially with a view toward reviewing angel investors, and talking strategy about funding. There are more than 20,000 members of this community, all of whom have had experience with generating funds for small businesses.
Founders Network is a website which requires an annual membership fee of $499, but for which you get considerable value. Members will receive advisory board meetings from peers, as well as meetings which are coordinated with investors. Members also receive invitations to regular social events which are attended by a number of fellow founders. StartupNation has a number of active forums and groups, as well as a radio program which focuses on marketing, social media, crowdsourcing, and other topics of interest to startup founders.
Websites for networking
Websites in this category primarily focus on interactions with other startup founders and with business people who have enjoyed some level of success in their careers. Meetup is a site which has a presence in 1,500 cities around the world, and includes 8,000 groups which focus on various activities and events. There are startup boot camps, showcases, and even contests to keep members involved and engaged.
EFactor is a website which has an extensive knowledge base that can provide mentorship opportunities, business resources, and practical funding advice. You’ll also be able to connect with a number of other startup founders either online, or at real-life in-person events. YouNoodle is a website which facilitates the connection with larger corporations for the purpose of developing partnerships or acquisitions. It will help you to raise funds if necessary, and generate press for whatever event you have in mind.
LinkedIn who is a website has nearly 500,000 members who enjoy sharing their insights on marketing, recruiting, funding and other topics important to startup founders. All these websites can be extremely useful to startup founders, and even when you don’t make use of all the practical advice and services offered, it can be very helpful to simply connect and commiserate with others who have been through the process, and understand what you’re going through.