Powderkeg Pitch Night at Downtown Speak EasyPOWDERKEG.COM
The ugly truth about a lot of networking events is they just don’t deliver the results they promise.
“These things aren’t bad because of acidic wine or rubbery chicken. They’re bad because you make the effort to leave your home, and then you don’t make any real connections that add value to your network,” said Ashlee Ammons, co-founder and COO of Mixtroz.
But attendees aren’t the only ones who suffer from poorly coordinated, awkward networking events. Event organizers and sponsors lose out if they aren’t collecting data about their attendees, which can be used to determine audience demographics and adjust marketing and planning for future events.
Ammons, who has a background as a New York-based events director, teamed up with her mother and former HR executive, Kerry Schrader, to create a tech solution that would make networking events more valuable for everyone involved. The Mixtroz mobile app uses short questionnaires to match attendees in small groups at events , acting as a social lubricant to get conversations started as well as a useful source of data for the host.
Watch Ammons’ pitch below to learn how this mother-daughter team is making networking events valuable again with a unique process they describe as “like LinkedIn, but live.”
Digital and Face-to-Face Networking, Combined
A big part of what makes Mixtroz work is the way it’s directly integrated into an event. When an attendee arrives at the event, they can download the app for free and answer up to ten multiple-choice questions that are preselected by the host or sponsor. When it’s time for the groups to assemble, the app tells everyone where and with whom they’ll be meeting.
The questionnaire can be used to match respondents on virtually any criteria—such as job title, professional interests, birthplace or hobbies—according to the organizer’s wishes. After the event is over, the organizer receives the contact information and responses of everyone who completed the survey, which can help them make important decisions about upcoming events.
Mixtroz surveys also have much higher completion rates than typical post-event surveys, making them a more reliable source of attendee information.
“We have 90% or higher user adoption in the enterprise business and university verticals,” Ammons said. “One of our great use cases is to do lunchtime seating. If you do it that way, it’s a key to proceed with the event, so people will end up doing it.”
The Path to Scaling Up
Mixtroz’s immediate obstacle to growth is gaining recognition. The app is unlike other networking solutions on the market, and although it has clear benefits for event attendees and organizers, neither group may be particularly aware they need it.
Awareness among hosting organizations is especially crucial since they’re the ones who arrange and pay to use Mixtroz at their event. Focused marketingefforts directed at these organizations could do wonders for the app’s adoption.
More dependable cash flow would also be a huge asset for the company. It’s currently bootstrapped, and the app is sold to conferences, conventions, universities and enterprise businesses as a one-time service. Ammons and Schrader are hoping to secure some seed funding and eventually shift the business toward a recurring revenue model to help increase revenues.
Building a Brighter Future for Event Hosts and Attendees
Mixtroz is making steady progress despite these concerns, which is especially impressive considering its co-founders have no previous tech experience. Last year, Ammons and Schrader completed GIGTANK 365, an accelerator program in Chattanooga, TN, and came away with a refined marketing strategy for Mixtroz.
The Nashville-based company has already secured a number of customers for the improved second version of its app, including the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Georgia Institute of Technology and Hospital Corporation of America. All profits are being reinvesting into the continued growth of the company and product.
Ammons reported that there are 1.8 million conferences in the U.S. each year, which translates to plenty of opportunity for Mixtroz, even excluding its other target markets. If the company can gain more exposure and raise funding to enable faster growth, its data-driven solution could help networking events everywhere deliver on their promises.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but we are trying to change the way it rolls. We’re the first to market in this space—the first to drive people from the digital space to the physical space, in real time, for purposes of networking,” Ammons said.