How VenturePals Aims To Reduce the Failure Rate of Startups

How VenturePals aims to reduce the failure rate of startups

Working as an entrepreneur can be lonely, especially if you run an online business. VenturePals is an intriguing app that aims to reduce the failure rate of startups by connecting entrepreneurs with success partners to share goals and maintain accountability.

In this interview, co-founder Joël Wurtz explains why VenturePals exists and how it can profoundly impact entrepreneurs and startups.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • The current failure rate for startups is 90%
  • Having a success partner to share your goals with drastically increases your chances of success
  • VenturePals uses the freemium business model and has grown through networking and Reddit


Business Name: VenturePals B.V.
Website URL:
Founders: Joël Wurtz and Herman Palmgren
Business Location: The Netherlands
Year Started: 2023
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 0

Tell us about yourself and your business.

Hi, my name is Joël Wurtz, and together with my co-founder, Herman Palmgren, we created VenturePals, a platform dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and solopreneurs find their success partners. I’ll explain more about this in a moment.

Just last year, I completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. However, throughout my education, I knew I was going to pursue a career in business. Back in 2020, I decided to learn marketing skills and ultimately founded a company that assists businesses in the mechanical engineering sector with their marketing efforts. This venture allowed me to learn a great deal about entrepreneurship and significantly expand my network.

After approximately four years of experiencing the struggles of entrepreneurship, I began searching for solutions to the challenges I was facing, which included:

  •     Lack of motivation
  •     Distractions
  •     An unclear path
  •     Entrepreneurial loneliness
  •     Feeling overwhelmed

I came across a research article from the ASTD that stated the likelihood of achieving your goals is 10% when you have a clear goal, but this increases to 95% when you have an accountability partner with whom you regularly check-in.

That’s when I started looking for an accountability partner who was in the same boat as me. It turned out to be harder than I thought, and it took about two to three months before I finally found my partner.

How does your business make money?

We have developed an app available for both iOS and Android. It operates on a freemium model, allowing entrepreneurs to use the basic features and gain the core benefits of the app at no cost. However, additional features, which we plan to continuously expand, are exclusive to premium members.

VenturePals website

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

After I had finally found my business accountability partner (Herman Palmgren, my now co-founder), we began doing weekly check-ins. During these sessions, we discussed our achievements from the previous week and set goals and tasks for the week ahead.

Fast forward eight months, having witnessed the significant success that an accountability partnership brought us, we believed that such an opportunity should be readily available to every entrepreneur. This belief was especially strong given that the current startup failure rate stands at 90%, leading to the loss of many great ideas and inventions.

Together, we founded VenturePals. Following some user feedback indicating that the term “accountability partner” might carry a negative connotation, we decided to adopt the terms “success partners” and “venturepal.”

How and when did you launch the business?

In August, we launched our first MVP to validate the concept, despite it being an admittedly embarrassing version of the app. Encouraged by the significant positive feedback on the idea, we developed the current version, 1.0.0, for release in the various app stores.

We launched on Product Hunt in April and earned 4th place for Product of the Day.

Joel Wurtz
Photo courtesy of Herman Palmgren

Tell us about your team.

Currently, it’s just Herman Palmgren and me. We both work remotely, as I’m based in the Netherlands, and Herman is based in Sweden. 

How are you funded? 

We’re fully bootstrapped, with all expenses funded out of our own pockets. This approach grants us the freedom to develop the app in a less stressful environment, enabling us to more easily incorporate feedback from our early adopters!

My workplace:

Joel's workspace

Herman’s workplace:

Herman's workspace

How did you acquire your first customers?

Finding the first early adopter was focused on messaging entrepreneurs in our direct network. After we had some decent sign-ups, we started by doing different types of paid advertisements. Reddit seemed to work great for us as it was quite easy to target subreddits filled with entrepreneurs or solopreneurs.

Since we’re still in the very early stages of our development, we’re still exploring different ways to acquire new customers.

Tell us about your primary drivers for growth. What worked for you in the beginning? What’s working now?

At the start it was mainly through networking and word-to-word referrals. As we’re expanding Reddit seemed to work greatly as it’s quite an untouched marketing platform.

We’ve done several types of promotions through Reddit. The first one is paid ads. It’s very easy to target the right subreddits that have your audience.

The second one is a bit more difficult: organic advertising in the subreddits themselves. As most subreddits have strict policies about posting ads, it’s important to make the audience ask about your product or service.

For example, we have created several posts explaining the benefits of a success partner but didn’t promote or hint about our product in the post itself. 

Once people started asking about ways to get a success partner, we carefully chose the best-performing comments to post our links in. Keep in mind that you should only post links to your products and services where applicable!

The third one is probably more difficult than the second one, which is promoting in the comment sections of other Reddit posts. For this to be successful, the post must be about a problem they are facing that can be solved by your product or service. Not only is this sometimes difficult to find and requires constant monitoring of new posts, but you’ll also need to be there quickly, or your post will be buried among all the other posts. 

It’s hard work, but if done correctly the ROI is way better than paid ads.

Can you tell us about any upcoming developments we can look forward to?

We have quite a lot of features in the backlog, and we’re all for making fast iterations! For example, a couple of upcoming features will be video and audio calls to your success partner in the app on a weekly basis.

We’re researching ways to implement possible AI features, and we’ve been outlining possible events we could organize for the community.

How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?

We see successful partnerships becoming an industry standard for entrepreneurs. Our mission for VenturePals is to drastically lower the current startup failure rate, so in the next 5 years, we’d love to see that change happen.

What is your favorite quote?

“He who thinks the idea owns nothing. He who executes the idea owns everything.” – MJ DeMarco

How do you stay motivated during tough times?

With my success partner, of course! A success partner isn’t just someone who keeps you accountable in your business venture(s). You can both share knowledge with each other, support each other during tough times, and even lend a hand at times. There are endless possibilities!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Help people. Get paid. Help more people.” – Andy Black

Helping people is the most important part, some people start at wanting to get paid. Provide value first.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a founder/entrepreneur?

It has always been the ability to help others. The journey of entrepreneurship is not just about building a business; it’s about creating value that positively impacts lives. 

Seeing the direct effect our work has on entrepreneurs—seeing them thrive, overcome challenges, and achieve their goals—is an immeasurable feeling of success. It’s about more than just financial gains; it’s about contributing to a community, fostering innovation, and facilitating growth. 

This sense of accomplishment and purpose, knowing that we’ve played a part in someone else’s journey or success, is truly immeasurable. It’s a constant reminder of why we started in the first place.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Start looking for a success partner, even if it’s not on VenturePals. It’s a great way to improve the overall quality of your life and increase your chances of reaching your goals. Too many great ideas go wasted; don’t let yours be one of them.

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