PartnerUp: The Fastest Way to Find Good Business Partners

It is tough to find good business partners. Starting a company takes a special type of person, and there aren't many people out there that want to work on something outside of the normal 9-5 workday, let alone do it for free for awhile. On top of all that, you still have to find people that have similar values, interests, and work styles in order for your startup to succeed. I've been through quite a few partners over the years – not because they were bad, just because we were a bad fit. A few months ago a company launched that aimed to ease that process –

I signed up for the site and tried it out at the request of Steve Nielsen, founder of Partnerup. I loved the idea, but wasn't sure if someone could really pull it off. When Steven told me the site had passed 10,000 members, I was pretty impressed, so I asked about success stories. He put me in touch with Andy Wilson. Andy is one of Partnerup's early success stories:

PartnerUp was a lifesaver for me. I've been a corporate employee/drone all of my life but have always had an entrepreneurial streak. I have absolutely zero selling and marketing experience, but I've been a web developer for years. About a year ago I came up with a kick-ass idea for a new web 2.0 travel site. I can't go into a lot of detail since we're still in stealth mode, but basically we are going to revolutionize the way that people and especially companies buy and manage air ticketing. I started tinkering around with making a prototype back when I first came up with the idea and at the same time I started looking for a business partner who could bring marketing and business development experience to the company. I spent like 9 months talking to everyone that I knew and attending practically every networking event that I heard of. I shook a lot of hands and met some nice people, but I wasn't able to find a single person with a marketing and business development background and knowledge of the travel industry.

Just as I was starting to think that I wouldn't be able to get this thing going, I heard about PartnerUp from a friend. So, I checked it out, posted the position that I was looking to fill, and started getting a a steady trickle of responses coming in. I kept getting a few inquiries every couple of days and a few weeks after posting on PartnerUp, I found someone who's personality and experience matched perfectly with what I was looking for. So, we chatted on the phone a few times, then hooked up for coffee here and chatted about it, and then got together a few more times to talk through ideas and put together a formal business plan. We just finished putting together the business plan and writing up our partnership agreement two weeks ago and he's now working on naming the company and building a brand while I'm working on getting an alpha version of the site fully built out.

Basically I found a business partner in a few weeks on PartnerUp, which is pretty cool considering that I wasn't able to find anyone in 9 months spent networking offline. I think that the guys at PartnerUp did a rockin job in developing a service that hit the nail on the head for entrepreneurs like me.

So there you have it. Partnerup is a fast and effective way to find people like you, looking for the same things. For finding business partners, it is much more efficient than offline networking. So if you are looking for someone to join you as you change the world, check out the site. It could save you a lot of time and trouble.

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  • Richard


    Thanks for posting this link. I have been looking for a site like this for some time now. From your networking experiences how likely are you to partner with a stranger meet through a service like this? I will enjoy this site but will be reluctant, even with due diligence, to go into business with a total stranger.

    What are your thoughts?

  • Rob

    I’m not sure how partnerup minimizes the chance that things don’t work out. I’ll see if Steve Nielsen, CEO, can answer this for you.

  • Our research has shown that partnerships with the highest chance of failing are those where the partners don’t bring a unique blend of skills and experience to the company. So, PartnerUp has designed our service such that it is easy to find a partner whose skills and experience complement yours and benefit the company.

    That being said, I still think that it is extremely important to get to know potential partners very well before going into business with them. I agree with Steve, in that I don’t see finding a business partner online to be all that different from finding a spouse. You want to build up a solid relationship before diving in with either a business partner, or a spouse.

    Steve gave a bunch of additional great advice about this very topic in a BusinessWeek interview/podcast a few weeks ago. If you’re interested, you can listen to it at:

  • Richard

    Thanks for your responses. I followed the advice of my mentor and “jumped in the deep end”. I signed up and added my resume over the weekend. Found an opportunity that interested me and sent an email to the owner. So far no response yet but time will tell.

  • raina

    Partnerup is only for US residents. Is there any website that provides similar service to other countries too?

  • Todd

    Hi All,

    For those interested in finding business partners or investors, as well as those looking to join dynamic new startups, please also check out

    ibovo unlike other sites works like eharmony. You create a profile for your business and the type of partners you’re looking for (their skills, experience, location, investment criteria, etc). Using a unique matching technology allows ibovo to continously and in real time evaluate, rank and return prospective partners and investors to you. The site employs similar technology to help skilled professionals find startups.

    Best regards,