Georgia Straight Geek Speak with Maura Rodgers

Maura Rodgers at LPV5 - photo by Tris HusseyThe Georgia Straight’s technology reporter, Stephen Hui, caught up with Maura via iPhone on all the exciting things going on with Bootup Labs & Strutta:

Maura Rodgers is an enthusiastic promoter of Vancouver’s technology sector. The 35-year-old entrepreneur is one of the founders of Launch Party Vancouver, a series of mixers organized by the Bootup Labs Entrepreneurial Society that showcases local Internet start-ups. She’s also the cofounder and chief executive officer of Strutta, a company that helps customers run on-line competitions.

Read Maura’s full “Geek Speak” interview at the Georgia Straight.

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Calling all Cofounders

We meet with a lot of early stage entrepreneurs and much of these meetings is about their needs. One of the most common needs they have is a co-founder. For example, just last week we met with two people who were at this stage.

The first one has an idea and the beginnings of a business model about how to make money from this idea, but he doesn’t have a technology background and isn’t capable of writing the code to implement the idea himself.

Now, it’s relatively easy for a budding entrepreneur in this circumstance to find and hire a contractor to do the work for him. This may seem attractive because it allows the entrepreneur to maintain control of development and complete ownership of the company, but the problem is this: when the contract is done, the entrepreneur may have legal ownership of the idea, but the contractor walks out the door with all the expertise and know how. What the entrepreneur really needs is a technical co-founder, who is as heavily invested in the idea and the enterprise as he is. Such people are much harder to find, but we believe that in this situation, finding a co-founder is critical to the success of the business.

In the other case last week, the would-be entrepreneur had the technical background to implement his idea, but knew nothing about sales, marketing or running a business. He too could solve his immediate problem by hiring a business consultant, but what he really needs a co-founder with business expertise.

There is also another argument in favour of bringing on a co-founder. Our experience and the experience of almost every entrepreneur that we know has been that building a startup is a large and difficult task and is simply more than one person can handle. Even if by some miracle you happen to have deep experience on both the technical and business side, there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything by yourself that’s necessary to get a startup off the ground.

As I mentioned earlier, finding a co-founder is a lot harder than finding a contractor or temporary help. So, how do you do it? As with all things people related, networking (off-line and on-line) is the answer. Yet, one of the biggest problems for early stage entrepreneurs, is that their social networks are small and local. We’ve been thinking about how we can help solve this problem (aside from manually introducing people we think might be a fit) and have come up with an idea: take all the early stage entrepreneurs who are looking for co-founders, put them in a room together, and give them a chance to “speed date” with as many potential co-founders as they can.

So, our first Co-founder Connections event is June 2nd at 4pm. We’re holding it right before the next Launch Party at the SteamWorks “Uber Lounge”.

So, if you’re looking for a co-founder, or are looking to join a startup as “employee #1”, join us. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Register for Launch Party Vancouver 7.
  2. Head over to the Launch Party Crowdvine networking site and create a profile – if you joined the Launch Party Vancouver 6 site, you can login with your existing profile.
  3. Browse the people looking for cofounders or the business vs. technical listings
  4. Show up on June 2nd with a fistful of business cards and participate in 5 – 10 speed dating sessions – pitch your idea, pitch yourself, and see if you can connect with someone