Having a unique startup idea and great timing are critical for startup success – but ideas will still fail to launch without the third key element: the right team. Finding co-founders and teammates can be very difficult, especially for student founders. A new initiative by SCET will help student founders connect on Y Combinator’s Co-Founder Matching Platform, which has already helped hundreds of co-founders find each other.
The University of California, Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, in partnership with Y Combinator, the premier global accelerator, is excited to announce that the Sutardja Center will be launching Y Combinator’s co-founder matching platform for Berkeley students this coming spring. Using Y Combinator’s platform, one of the largest co-founder matching networks in the world with more than 50,000 profiles already on the platform, students will be able to match with co-founders based on interests, skills, location, and more. Whether students have an established company, no idea at all, or are already working with a co-founder, this program is open to anyone who is seriously looking for co-founders. Y Combinator pre-screens founders to ensure a high-quality pool of potential matches. Students will be able to connect with other Berkeley students, as well as students and entrepreneurs from all across the globe.
“Finding the right co-founder(s) is one of, if not the most important factor for entrepreneurial success,” says Jen Nice, SCET Director of Industry and Alumni Relations. “We are excited to bring YC’s proven platform to Berkeley and provide this as a unique opportunity and resource for students in their entrepreneurial journey.”
To participate, simply create a profile and start connecting with people of interest once your profile is approved. To provide more information on the program and how Berkeley students can get involved, we have invited Catheryn Li, Product Engineering Lead @Y Combinator, who launched this platform, for a detailed Q&A.
Good luck with finding your co-founder! It is definitely worth the effort towards creating an innovative solution, and supporting your team with the necessary talent and skills for success.
Q&A with Cat Li from YC
How did the YC Co-Founder Matching Platform start?
YC’s core philosophy is to help founders. We believe that any successful startup needs two things: a great team and a great idea. We launched the co-founder matching platform about a year ago to help solve the first for future founders.
How does the platform work? Can anyone join?
Anyone who is serious about finding a co-founder can join the platform. You can tell us about yourself and what you’re looking for and we will find the most compatible profiles. Then you can reach out to anyone you’re interested in meeting and we will match you if they accept.
Have teams formed on the platform and later been accepted to YC?
Yes, in fact, we have funded 28 teams that met through the platform in just 18 months!
Who is the platform for? What stage should my idea/startup be in?
The platform is for a wide range of startup stages, from those who are “just passively interested” to those who have an idea they would like to work on or even a startup that already has funding and revenue. You can indicate your startup stage on your profile when you sign up.
What is your favorite story of co-founders finding each other on the platform?
My favorite story is about Sequin. Vrinda Gupta left her job as a PM at Visa after getting rejected from the Chase Sapphire Reserve – a credit card she helped launch. She wanted to work on a product to help women build credit, and was looking for a technical co-founder who was both mission driven and had experience in fintech. She met Mark Thomas on the platform; he had ten years of engineering experience at Paypal, spent six years as CTO of family-oriented startups, and wrote on his profile that he cared deeply about gender equity. They had an instant connection and met in person every day for the next week. Together they went through YC Summer 2021 and raised $5.7M.
Any other resources you’d recommend?
Yes! Divya Bhat, YC Visiting Group Partner, and I gave a talk this summer during Startup School 2022 titled “All About Co-Founders.” In it, we cover why having a co-founder is important, how to find one, how to split equity, and how to work together with one. I highly recommend checking it out.
The link to the YC co-founder program is provided again here for reference. We look forward to helping Berkeley students and the larger community of innovators find compatible co-founders and make an impact.
1. Where in the YC platform do I make my selection to match with Cal Founders only?
You can make this selection on the third page of your profile creation under “co-founder preferences.”
2. Can the user change their selection after initial choice is made? Where should the user change the selection?
Yes! You can always update this preference on the third page of your profile creation under “co-founder preferences.”
3. How do I access the UC Berkeley-specific co-founder matching?
Make sure you sign up with either your @berkeley.edu email address or an updated LinkedIn url.
4. Who should I talk to if I have questions or feedback?
Feel free to contact Cat from YC at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about using the platform and Jennifer Nice at email@example.com for questions about SCET.