Business development · 27 April 2016

Why your dream business partner could be waiting on Tinder

The firm status of entrepreneurs as the new rockstars makes it likely your matches will jump at the chance of adding “startup founder” to their profile

With the ubiquitous platform no longer just for dating, we looked at why Tinder could be the most effective way to make business-boosting contacts.

 Rumours that the dating is seeking to expand into a different type of matchmaking have been rife for years – but so far the platform’s business networking offering has been limited to the 2,000 members of Forbes influential 30 under 30 network.

But an increasing number of entrepreneurs are taking matters into their own hands. From the chef-on-demand app founder who used the platform to recruit cooks to the club promoters using the platform to fill their guestlists, the business potential of the app is vast.

Given that so many of the successful small business firms we’ve spoken to this year have emphasised the importance of not going it alone in business – not to mention the challenges of managing development if you don’t have a tech co-founder – you’d be mad not to have a shot at finding a partner in crime. Here’s why.

 (1) It’s a better use of your time than trying to find a date…

Long hours and lack of holidays are an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial life, so if you’re serious about growing a successful young company, you won’t have time for a relationship anyway. On the other hand, the ten hours a week that many employees spend commuting offer ample time for swiping and discussing business ideas – and the contacts will be much more use when you finally quit your job to pursue a startup idea.

(2) … and great pitching practice

 The space available on your profile is hardly conducive to lengthy bios, descriptions and meanderings, so will force you to narrow down your fledging idea into something that can be described in a sentence or two. What’s more, whatever you say will have to be attention-grabbing enough to attract the interest of someone who doesn’t necessarily have business on their mind – great practice for when you happen to run into a famous angel investor at the gym.

(3) You’ll find people who can sell

 If a potential business partner has something to say which makes you want to swipe right, and manages to hold your attention through the awkward small talk that will inevitably ensue when you get into a typed conversation on a small screen, then the chances are they’ll be able to sell your business vision to customers and bank managers too.

(4) Everyone on there is a something slash something

 The average age of a Tinder user is 27 – bang in the middle of the “slash generation” millennial age group, for whom digital skills, expensive house prices and low boredom thresholds mean one job is never enough. And if you manage to find someone who hasn’t embraced the portfolio career yet, the firm status of entrepreneurs as the new rockstars makes it likely they’ll jump at the chance of adding “startup founder” to their profile.

 (5) If you end up in a different sort of relationship, it’s hardly the end of the world

 Forget what you’ve heard about squabbles and infighting. Some of the most successful companies of the 21st century are run by couples. Silicon Valley unicorn Houzz was founded by a husband-and-wife team – while Fiji Water is owned by a couples who have been together for almost half a century. And if the romantic partnership goes sour, there are plenty of famous examples of ex-couples achieving great things: just look at twice-divorced Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

However you met your business partner, here’s how to set clear boundaries with them.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.