How Jude from Student Develop found his co-founders on Founder2be.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to talk with Jude, founder of Student Develop, the career and project management portal connecting employers, students and universities locally and internationally.

Jude has been an active user of Founder2be almost since its inception. He ultimately connected successfully not only with one but two co-founders on Founder2be. This is how he did it. As usual, not everything happens according to plan.

Jude is a true entrepreneur who in addition to building his business wants to give back to the community. His advice is as follows:

  1. Build a prototype. Do whatever it takes. Hire a freelancer to help you get it done.
  2. Do not give up. We have all been there. Wanting to throw in the towel, because ‘nothing seems to work’. Jude says that as long as there is any positive feedback, no matter how little it may be, you just do not give up!
  3. Talk about your idea. Disclose as much as you possibly can. It may vary from person to person, but if you are tight-lipped and paranoid that someone will ‘steal’ your idea at every turn, you are not going to meet the people you need to make your idea a success.

Jude studied for his bachelor degree in computer science in Sweden, known to entrepreneurs and start-up enthusiasts as the home country of Spotify. While studying, he realized a lot of students’ course projects built from scratch were pretty good but did not progress beyond the course. As soon the course finished, projects remained in limbo. So, Jude set out to build Student Develop for students to showcase their projects to prospective clients or employers worldwide.

Looking for a co-founder, Jude started by contacting others. As to be expected, it is more difficult to find people looking to work for equity rather than cold, hard cash. Nevertheless, he had early success and found 2 candidates. However, these business relationships did not last for longer than a few weeks. Somehow, the interest was just not high enough to remain committed and they gradually started drifting away from the project.

Then something started happening which somewhat surprised Jude: more and more people began contacting Jude about his idea, which he always made sure was well described on Founder2be. As Jude says "It is a very positive signal any prospective co-founder should have in mind when finding partners online. The will power of someone approaching you for your idea seems valid enough than you recruiting partners where you contact them first."

So, he started having Skype calls with multiple co-founder candidates, reviewed their LinkedIn profiles, etc. before deciding who to work with as a co-founder.

Now, he is working together with Ryan from the U.S. who is taking care of the design and SEO and Pavel from the Ukraine who is responsible for the software development. Jude is now concentrating on the marketing, fund raising, user feedback, etc.

At Founder2be, we get asked a lot 'how do you make sure a co-founder is the right one' and how to take care of things in case they don’t develop as hoped. We are no lawyers. But Jude’s personal opinion is this:

Agree with your co-founder(s) on a shareholder agreement. Decide how to share equity in the company and on a time frame for it to vest, for example, 2 years of active participation for full vesting to take place. If a co-founder quits in less than 12 months after joining, no equity vests. And if he or she decides to leave after 12 months but before the two years are up, only 25% of the agreed equity vests. On top of that, Jude recommends to also clearly define what active participation means: x hours / week, regular participation in calls, daily reachable via email, etc.

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