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July 20, 2016 | Tom Ballard

“GIGTANK 365” participant Mixtroz focused on improving networking at events

GIGTANK 365 - 2016(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in a seven-part series leading up to the “GIGTANK 365 Accelerator Pitch Night” July 27 in Chattanooga. To register, click here.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The dynamic, engaging mother and daughter team behind Mixtroz credits Cordell Carter of Chattanooga’s TechTown with recruiting them to this summer’s “GIGTANK 365” cohort.

Kerry Schrader, aka mom, spent her career in human resources, while Ashlee Ammons, aka daughter, was an event planner and coordinator. The latter recently moved back home to Franklin, TN from New York City.

“Neither of us have a tech background,” Ammons noted. Yet their start-up clearly embraces technology in ways that make it easier for individuals to meet like-minded people at networking events.

“We’re a tool to enhance your social network, not a social network,” Ammons explains. The tagline for Mixtroz readily describes their goal – “Helping you say hello.”

The genesis of the company started on November 9, 2014 when Ammons attended a conference with a goal of networking with as many people as possible. She did not achieve her goal, but an idea was born, and Mixtroz was officially founded on January 9, 2015. The secret sauce algorithm was developed on tax day of 2015, and Beta testing began in late 2015.

“We are a data-driven tech company that connects people,” Schrader says. “Our niche is events that are already happening,” Ammons adds.

They are targeting three verticals – colleges and universities, such as orientation sessions; conferences and conventions where networking is an important value-add for attendees; and larger employers that want to help quickly connect new employees.

How does it work?

Attendees are asked to download the Mixtroz app at an event, enter their name, take a selfie, and answer a series of about 10 questions customized for each event. Then, the algorithm finds the right connections for each attendee and sends the selfies of those connections.

“The person putting on the event has to really want people to network,” Ammons says. There’s a payoff, however. “The event host gets all the post-event analytics,” Schrader adds.

The app can work for events as small as 25 attendees or as large as 5,000.

We wondered about the name. It’s a hybrid combination of “mix” for mixer and “tro” for introduction with the “z” added.

Mixtroz will be seeking $1 million to develop a self-service version of the tool akin to MailChimp or Eventbrite.

The Mixtroz story was captured recently by Black Enterprise. You can read it here.

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