Entrepreneur Finder (www.EntrepreneurFinder.com) is a free interactive resource for entrepreneurs, skilled professionals, students and investors to find each other and designed to help startup companies grow. A startup looking for investment, mentorship, or specific talent to help grow your company? Check. A student looking for internship opportunities in a startup? Check. Or how about an angel investor scouring for a technology startup to invest in? Check.
The site offers two essential recruitment services: there’s a job board, in which users may post internship and employment opportunities, and there’s also an advanced search feature which makes it easy for skilled professionals looking to join a specific kind of startup company. On the other hand, the site will also advertise employment opportunities at companies (big or small) around the world. Entrepreneur Finder currently has over 4,500 investor groups (representing over 40,000 individual accredited investors) across 30 countries – making it one of the largest searchable collection of investor profiles online – and should just make it that much easier for startups to seek funding. As founder Luke Deering would say, it’s like a “virtual Silicon Valley at your fingertips”.
Using Entrepreneur Finder is easy. After creating a profile, users can contact other members for free and use the search-and-match features. Members also gain free access to the site’s public groups, private business and university groups, a Q&A section, news and other resources.
The idea for Entrepreneur Finder came to Deering from a pain point he suffered as an entrepreneur himself. In August last year, Deering was considering accepting funding for his athletic wear company from two potential investors. “We needed the money, but soon realized that they were not the right investors for us,” he remembers. At the same time, they were trying to recruit a marketing expert for the team who would be interested to work in a startup on a part-time or full-time basis, yet didn’t quite find any of the existing websites that served their needs.
By September, they reached a point where the company’s lack of funding and their inability to find the ideal marketing partner was really starting to hurt. The best way to overcome this? Why, to create the solution himself, of course. “I began developing Entrepreneur Finder to create the tools that were missing,” Deering says. “Over time, the site has grown from a simple tool built around my own needs, to a site that will help others expand their companies and create the jobs that our economy so badly needs.”
Historically, there have been two types of business networking sites – one aimed at recruiters and another aimed at entrepreneurs. The recruitment types – championed by sites like LinkedIn, Monster or CareerBuilder – is built to facilitate vertical interaction between recruiter and job seeker, while the entrepreneur versions are typically networking sites for entrepreneurs that facilitate interaction but has little other inherent purpose.
Deering believes the unique proposition for Entrepreneur Finder is that it offer the best of both these worlds on one single site. “We decided the best way to design Entrepreneur Finder would be by focusing on what motivates each key demographic to use a networking site. This way, we could create the right tools to encourage the kind of interaction that promotes company and individual growth. Then, we built these tools and made them free.”
“I don’t know of any other site besides Entrepreneur Finder that puts all the key ingredients needed by entrepreneurs and skilled individuals in one place, while at the same time, providing free tools that make it easy to find and interact with other members.”
Interestingly if someone asks Deering what his advice would be if they’d wanted to start out as an entrepreneur, his advice would be, “Get a job.” The reason, he says, is simple. For one, there’s a lack of jobs available for those graduating out of college. “(And) jobs create frustrations that inspire innovation and supply a source of income, so you don’t need to abuse your credit card or your parents,” he adds.
After all, the backbone of Entrepreneur Finder is to help create jobs, Deering points out. “We do this in several ways. First, we provide great tools for recruiters to manage the process of finding potential employees,” explains Deering. “Second, we provide a job board where employment opportunities are posted by members and third party resources. But, in the long run though, the site is designed to help entrepreneurs grow their companies so they can then create jobs and hire new employees.”
Deering believes that entrepreneurs face many, many challenges, but a major one that Entrepreneur Finder that is trying to address is that there is simply too much information and resources for entrepreneurs across too many platforms. “It’s great to have various resources of good information, but there also needs to be one simple, go-to place for all of it.” And he believes that by supporting entrepreneurship, addressing the needs of skilled individuals, and creating an environment where investors can find the next great company in search of funding, Entrepreneur Finder becomes that place.