July 23, 2012
Polite nods, furtive glances around the room, the automatic exchange of business cards: you must be suffering through another networking event.
Almost everyone has felt the agony of networking, and startups are trying to relieve it: from general people discovery apps like Highlight and Sonar, to event networking apps like Double Dutch, CrowdCompass, and Beepmo.
Now, Boston-based Mixer Events is throwing its hat into the ring with a mobile app that helps you x-ray the room based on interests, industry, and mutual connections. When you find someone that won’t bore you out of your mind, you can send a message to get in touch.
Below, cofounder and CEO Andrew Grochal, who just got an MBA from Harvard, explains how the pain of networking became his obsession.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Mixer? What do you enjoy most about working on it?
Andrew Grochal: The founding team members have spent decades going to networking events, and we understand how important they are, but we all came to the realization that there has to be a better way for people to prioritize their time and connect at these events. The most enjoyable part of working on Mixer is seeing someone’s face light up the first time they log onto Mixer at an event and realize what this application can do for them. It’s a very rewarding feeling, the belief that what you are doing is important and can impact people’s lives in a meaningful way.
Tech Cocktail: What was one crucial decision for Mixer?
Grochal: One crucial decision we made early on was to focus on the networking element of events, and not try to be the solution to every single element of events. There are lots of companies out there doing a pretty good job with ticket sales, maps, agendas, etc., but we do not believe anyone has fixed the networking problem in a sufficient way quite yet. It’s always difficult to decide where to draw the line in terms of scope and features, but we believe that by focusing on one critical problem, we are better suited to delight our users and succeed in the market.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you and your team?
Grochal: We are a team of avid bikers. Between the four cofounders, we have multiple tandem bikes, several custom-made folding bikes, and one extremely cheap Target bike which I take a lot of flack for, but it gets the job done.
Mixer was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Boston mixer.
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