Have you ever met someone and their energy and passion was so addictive that you were almost nervous to get to know them? Me too! (I may or may not have been accused of being that person once or twice too…).
When I met Ashlee at the Lady Project Conference in Providence in early 2016, she was telling everyone she met about this amazing app she was creating - to facilitate intentional networking. I had recently met the women behind the SocialMonarq app (a friend-dating app), given my first talk about intentional friendship*, and was considering writing a book about creating intentional friendships and connections.
Add to that the fact that I am a networking-junkie and still leave many conferences and events feeling like I did not meet the people I was meant to meet, and I was hooked! Between the concept and the energy that Ashlee and her co-founder (her mom!) had around it, I knew they were going to be successful. Based on where I was in my own life, we did not immediately connect again after that conference.
Over two years later, I read an article that was shared on LinkedIn about how this young black-women-founded startup in Birmingham had received $1M in VC funding. This was an amazing feat - they became 2 of only 40 black female founders to hit that milestone. But, when I read that it was Ashlee and Kerry and Mixtroz, I was not even a little bit surprised. This was exactly what was always meant to happen.
I reached out to Ashlee and explained that I had met her all those years ago and was so happy for her success and invited her to be featured here. Since that time, we’ve had a number of amazing conversations and both agree that our goals are too in sync to not work on something amazing together one day.
I’m pleased to share Ashlee and Mixtroz with you and hope that you find as much inspiration in their story as I did!
My takeaway: Do it even if other people say it can’t be done or statistics say you’ll never make it!
Although I’m not currently planning to write that book, you can read my perspectives on Intentional Friendship in this brand new post for Holl & Lane Magazine, Friendship Revisited.
Website: Mixtroz Instagram: @mixtroz
Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it?
Mixtroz is a catalyst for conversation, connection and community. We’ve created software that engages and improves events for our secondary customer (event attendees), while collecting data for our primary customer (event host/sponsors), resulting in a 360-degree ROI.
Users download the app, complete a virtual name tag, and answer a few questions. At a predetermined time, over lunch, for example, the app makes group matches and guides those persons to one another for a curated group networking experience IN REAL TIME!
The event host immediately gains the survey data collected from the interaction which can be used to drive future marketing and event programming decisions.
We’ve essentially used technology to improve the world’s oldest art, face-to-face connectivity, and in doing so we drive dollars to the bottom lines of our customers!
We started part-time in January of 2015 and went full time in June of 2016.
Why did you start your business?
Solving a very simple problem, People don’t “mix” at mixers.
We now know that this phenom is called “homophily,” but at the outset our goal was to improve the awkwardness that often accompanies networking.
What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you?
It means that Mixtroz is leaving every gathering we touch more connected than we found it.
What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?
We had a product roadmap think tank with our dev team in November. Seeing all of the data and feedback we've gathered over the years being turned into an actionable blueprint for the future of our business was like Nirvana.
We've worked so hard to make it to this stage and now that it’s here, we are ready to soar!
What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?
Making sure our value proposition is understood. Sometimes, customers see Mixtroz as a "feel good" tool only, and we must balance the feel good with the increase in engagement and data that we collect, which over time leads to more bottom-line profitability.
What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
1 yr: profitable scale.
5 yr: I want Mixtroz to become a noun, verb and adj.
Who are your business icons or mentors?
What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business?
Use what you have today to build what you want tomorrow.