FounderDating Success Story: A Test of “Who Are You?”

Posted by Jessica Alter /July 18, 2013 / FD Success Stories, Reviews

Eugene Levin and Dave Ellery are members of FounderDating who successfully matched and co-founded Ulonova, a company that helps customers visualize product offerings in local businesses.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES.

Eugene – I’m a product guy and entrepreneur at heart. Previously, I was the Director of Growth Engineering at Elevate and Product Manager at Hotspex. I also founded SmartCandidates back in 2009.

David – I’m a Software Engineer and I’ve worked at VFM Leonardo, New Zealand Steel and Talgentra. I’m excited to continue building Ulonova.


WHY DID YOU APPLY TO FOUNDERDATING?

David – I had done Startup Weekend and as a developer was very popular there, but found it difficult to get to know people beyond their ideas. I was considering starting a business on my own, but it was overwhelming. I then heard about FounderDating at a tech talk from Eli and Mani,Toronto ManagingDirectors, and was convinced.

Eugene – I was a solo founder and didn’t want to do it alone. I liked that people were vetted and I also appreciated the quality of people and diversity of skill-sets. For me, the kickoff event was an awesome way to start! Mani and Eli did a really good job of connecting us with people who had similar interests to make the conversation meaningful.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR “DATING” PROCESS.
Eugene: We dated for a month and a half to feel each other out. I reached out to David via the site first because I thought we had complementary skills. After connecting online, we quickly took the conversation offline and met for Starbucks.

David – I am bombarded with ideas, so I wanted to get a feel for his personality first. Going in, I wanted to be able to answer the questions: Can I work with this person? Can we joke around? Will we be able to just talk smack?

Eugene – Yeah, like David, it was important to me that the right attitude was there. I wanted to make sure that he was hardworking and resilient. I didn’t want someone who wanted to be a co-founder because they thought it was sexy. Many people are misled by the Facebook movie.

AFTER YOU CHECKED EACH OTHER’S ATTITUDES, WHAT WAS NEXT?
Eugene – We met a number of times and emailed a lot. We began talking about the hypothetical future.
David – When it started to get serious, we took a moment to individually document our values. We then compared lists to see if they were aligned. Luckily, they were and that’s hugely important.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW HE WAS THE ONE?
Eugene – There wasn’t an “aha” moment per se. We just started working together. The other prerequisites were there. The next step was about getting to work.
David – I wanted to specifically get into tech situations and see how that worked. That was very important to me. When we were able to work through complicated situations and joke about it in the end, I knew I’d found my cofounder.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY
Ulonova is a platform that allows people to discover businesses. Current offerings don’t entice people to come in. Our product helps people to discover actual merchandise and products. We use high quality photos to visualize the products for people.

WHAT’S YOUR HOPE FOR THE COMPANY?
We believe this could be a great platform for businesses to reach out to consumers. It helps businesses build lasting relationships with consumers. Groupon was great for customer acquisition, but people didn’t come back. We want to grow our product to the point of helping businesses gain loyalty.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS REGARDING CO-FOUNDERS?
David – Be thorough.
Eugene – Be honest. Honesty is the hallmark of any relationship and business relationships are no different. Don’t try to be nice; it doesn’t work. Business isn’t a temporary endeavor and it shouldn’t be treated as such.


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