Ali Hamed, co-founder of CoVenture, a firm that builds software for early-stage startups in exchange for equity, told Business Insider that his company plans to partner with and invest in twice as many companies in 2014 than it did this year.
In 2013, CoVenture worked with six startups, all of which managed to raise additional capital. They also gained revenues of around $US10 million, collectively, after working with Hamed and his team.
CoVenture seeks out non-technical founders with big ideas. It will build $US30,000 worth of software in exchange for 5% equity in each company. Hamed looks forward to partnering with 15 new companies in 2014, after sealing $US500,000 of its own funding in six weeks, instead of the six months that he expected.
But it was a wild ride for him to get here.
Hamed originally went to Cornell University to play baseball, but fractured his back trying to steal a home-run and had to quit sports. While his back was recovering from the injury, he taught himself to code and created a news summarization website. When that startup failed, he created CoVenture, moving nearly full-time to New York City. For seven months he was basically homeless when in New York City, alternating between couch-surfing with friends and living and sleeping in Starbucks or Union Square Park.
He’s now in his senior year at Cornell, but he still spends most of each week in New York City. (Thankfully, he’s made enough from CoVenture to now afford an apartment.)
“I think CoVenture makes a lot of sense for New York,” Hamed says. “There’s a lot of people who understand industries very well here, but there’s not as much technical talent.”