By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
We have grown to appreciate the enthusiastic, positive attitude of the mother and daughter Co-Founders of Mixtroz, but Kerry Schrader was on a new high when we chatted with her recently about the progress the start-up made in 2018 and the outlook for 2019.
“Every day this week has gotten better than the day before,” the mom member of the team told us. Unfortunately for the Volunteer State, that success has come as a result of relocating from the Nashville area to Birmingham, a community that Schrader and Ashlee Ammons found more welcoming, more embracing, and more helpful.
“We are big fans of Innovation Depot,” Schrader says. “There’s a collection of large and small companies here. The larger ones are cheerleaders and users of our product. That’s the reason (early customers) we are here.”
We first met the dynamic duo when we wrote a series of articles about teams participating in CO.LAB’s 2016 “GIGTANK 365” accelerator. During that 45-minute interview, we were struck by their engaging personalities, complementary skills, and determination to succeed, so we have continued to follow their progress.
As previously noted in this post on teknovation.biz, the company with the app that helps people connect and engage at networking events capped a year of highs in November when it completed a $1 million seed round. Mixtroz had been selected earlier in the year to participate in the “Velocity Accelerator,” won $100,000 during the “Rise of the Rest Road Tour” stop in Birmingham in May, and appeared in an episode of A&E Network’s “Rooster & Butch” series.
Those highs came after a low point when Schrader says she and her daughter pondered the question, “Is it time to go back to work?” Now, with solid funding and a new SaaS-based product, the start-up is focused on growing.
“It’s our same core focus, but on a SaaS platform,” Schrader says of the product they launched in 2015. The investment they received as part of the “Velocity Accelerator” funded the additional software development.
In addition to the enhanced product, Mixtroz has grown from two people – Schrader and Ammons – to six with plans to add what Schrader calls “a big gun for sales” soon. The personnel growth is measured. “We’re very careful on hiring people in,” she says. “We’ve hired go-getters.”
Birmingham is also one of the Venture for America (VFA) cities, and Mixtroz has a VFA intern.
Customer acquisition is critically important, and Schrader says they have customer prospects with as many as 25,000 employees.
Mixtroz has also beaten its revenue performance metrics since the seed round was completed.
Schrader says she recently told her daughter, “Ashlee, I think we really have a company.”
That said, she also is reminded that growth and optimism do not negate the need to exercise some caution.
“We’re out of ICU, but we still have an IV and oxygen,” Schrader says.