Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him on Google+.
There’s no shortage of places online for people to connect with each other and share ideas, micro-blogging service Twitter facilitates millions of one-on-one connections every day. However, there aren’t many websites that connect entrepreneurs with sole intention of sharing files and discussing ideas.
New UK startup Fowndr aims to provide just this – a safe place for entrepreneurs to connect with each other, share ideas and thoughts, ask questions and post files. Launching invite-only, content is focused around startups and business, ensuring that members joining are trusted by those already present on the network.
Founder (or should it be Fowndr) Stu Green has already seen huge growth on the network, utilising the invite system to control the number of members to ensure content is focused and to identify and fix any bugs or usability problems should they arise. In the coming weeks, Green expects to “open [Fowndr’s] doors up slowly, but it will always remain invite only”.
When a member is granted access to Fowndr, they are able to fill in a small profile, set their notification preferences and then look to share their own thoughts on the service or engage in another user’s thread. Users are asked to share Questions, Links, Files and Thoughts, all of which are added to a central wall of content that link-minded individuals are encouraged to engage with.
Members are immediately notified of replies to their posts, voting up responses to rank them in order of relevancy. Fowndr also incorporates its own gaming mechanism, awarding users “Kudos Points” for sharing good quality or engaging posts – all of which are lightly moderated by a small team of staff members.
Responses subscribe a user to a thread, but a member can also track topics that interest them by following the discussion manually. Green says that Fowndr needs to be a place for “founders to share their good experiences but also the tough lessons they have learnt too and have discussions around them – it’s a place for startups to grow”.
You could say that the service sounds very similar to Q&A website Quora. Instead of waiting for a group of power users to answer questions, like on Quora, Fowndr operates as a private network, leaving responses untouched – after all a founder of one startup could have a different opinion to another founder. Unlike Quora, the service allows users to share thoughts and files, not just questions.
Moving forward, Green hopes to keep Fowndr in a closed beta for the coming months, ironing out bugs and adding new ways to ensure user engagement is “perfected”. Numbers will remain limited until the service exits beta, slated for the Summer. The founder hopes to include additional event listings, improved networking features and options to connect angel investors and VCs with new startups seeking funding.
Premium accounts could also be a possibility, with the ability to promote posts. An API is in the works, possibly allowing Fowndr users to connect CRMs but also social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Invites to the service are scarce – each new member gets one invite to share with someone they believe would benefit from it. If you want a place for valued feedback and inspiring founder stories, Fowndr might be the site you are looking for.
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