, a startup that matches business partners with one another, says it will close an angel investing round of about $500,000 next month and is expanding its reach in the U.S. and abroad.
Headquartered in Rockville and with extensive ties to Baltimore, CoFoundersLab connects entrepreneurs with one another and hosts targeted networking sessions to introduce founders to investors and partners. It is now adding 10 more US cities to the 20 in which it already has a presence. Internationally, it is launching in London, Tel Aviv, Singapore and Sao Paulo. CoFoundersLab is recruiting volunteer partners in its new domestic markets of Houston, Dallas, Detroit and Nashville, among others, as well as abroad.
CoFoundersLab already operates in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles. In New York City, for example, CoFoundersLab partners with a team at New York University’s Stern School of Business. In Baltimore, it regularly hosts events at Betamore and the Emerging Technology Center @ Canton and the University of Baltimore.
“We are looking for partners whose access to the community we can tap into,” says CEO Shahab Kaviani, co-founder with Culin Tate of a company that calls itself “matchmaking for entrepreneurs” in search of business partners.
Kaviani says the company’s partners are generally an accelerator or the coworking space of a university, where it hosts events that bring together entrepreneurs and investors/business partners. Its website also serves that purpose.
“The first challenge an entrepreneur has to overcome is finding the right business partner," Kaviani says. "In the past, you went to friends or networked. We are creating a large pool online."
CoFoundersLab began in 2010 as a part-time service to host events for start-up companies. In 2011, it launched its initial version of the online match-up website. In 2012, financed by The Fort Accelerator in Washington, D.C. and angel investors, it became a full-time service.
Kaviani isn’t sure of the number of match-ups for which CoFoundersLab can take credit. He believes it is in the low hundreds. “Some we hear about, others we don’t,” he says, pointing to Kithly
, an application company that was formerly housed in a Baltimore incubator and whose founder met his business partner through CoFoundersLab.
It is also in the process of reorganizing its website. Currently, the website is accessible for free but Kaviani says a paid membership, with advanced features, will be introduced this year. Membership prices haven’t been finalized.
Next month, too, CoFoundersLab will find out if it has been chosen to advance to the final round of the state-sponsored InvestMaryland Challenge
that culminates in April. It is currently one of 61 finalists in three categories for the $100,000 prize.
CoFoundersLab has a staff of five. It is hiring two staffers this summer, in marketing and technology development.
Source: Shahab Kaviani, CoFoundersLab
Writer: Barbara Pash