Bhavin: This is my second startup. I started off at LeapFrog after graduation, where I worked in product and business development. In 2005, I started a venture-backed company to build massive multi-player games, which grew to 150 employees.
Paul: This is actually my fourth startup company. The first one was PreEmptive Solutions. I spent three years in infrastructure engineering at Google. I also have a website, mailinator.com.
WHY DID YOU APPLY TO FOUNDERDATING?
Bhavin: When I decided to start a new company, it was 6 years since I had spent time exploring new ideas and so I had to relearn everything. To re-educate myself, I entered a hackathon called StartupBus, which I ended up winning. That yielded a lot of great contacts and ideas, but I was still interested in spending time with equally experienced and like-minded entrepreneurs who were ready to start a company.
FounderDating.com was highly recommended because of its curated and targeted member base. I was assured I’d meet people based on my interests. I was skeptical because I’d been to about 50 meetups and most of them never had enough people I wanted to follow up with. With FounderDating it was different. They did the work of targeting and finding the best people for me. It was the best four hours of networking I’ve ever had!
Paul: The rest of the world was a crapshoot, but the people on FounderDating I’d heard of and could tell were high quality. It’s well curated.
WHAT WAS YOUR “DATING” PROCESS LIKE?
Bhavin: We met at a FounderDating kickoff event. After that, we exchanged emails about different startup ideas. It wasn’t forced, and when we talked about these different ideas we were super motivated by each other’s thinking. We build a friendship over the course of a year before coming together to start Refresh. It moved pretty rapidly after that. We started pitching and got a lot of support for the market and problem we wanted to solve.
TELL US ABOUT REFRESH.
Refresh is currently in limited beta. It’s an application that makes it easy to get to know the people you’re meeting by generating insights from social networks and bundling them together into one easy-to-browse dossier.
We’re backed by Foundation Capital and Charles Rivers Ventures. It’s been sixteen months now since we started and we’re really proud of the work we as a team have been doing.
WHAT’S YOUR HOPE FOR THE COMPANY?
Our mission at Refresh is to use the world’s information to bring people closer together. We’ve built a scalable solution that we believe will aid in building relationships for people meeting for the first time or strengthening the relationships of those meeting for the 100th time. In many ways, our company and product epitomize the same values and goals of FounderDating.com.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS REGARDING CO-FOUNDERS?
Paul: You need to find someone with the same big picture mindset. First, chase someone else’s dream. Screw it up and then chase your own.
Bhavin: Find someone who has had similar experiences. If you’ve started a company before, it’s easier to work with someone who has done the same. If you’ve haven’t started a company before and match with someone who has founded and funded a company, recognize that there will always be asymmetry in your relationship. Additionally, your expectations of success should be aligned. Ask yourselves, are we playing the long game or the short game? Understand what success is to each of you. Know how long each co-founder can go without getting paid. Discuss how long are each of you are willing to try for success before giving up.