July 6, 2020

This startup is trying to master networking by video conference

Virtual events are terrible for meeting people. Mixtroz is ready to fix that.

Ashlee Ammons likes to say that she built Mixtroz via “the University of Google.”

Ammons and her cofounder, Kerry Schrader — who also happens to be her mom — weren’t versed in the mechanics of starting a business. “Everything we learned about Mixtroz was via Google searches,” she says.

They first hit on the idea for their business in 2014, when they realized that business networking was broken. It was too awkward, too unnatural.

The solution: Mixtroz brings like-minded people together algorithmically. Download the app, enter your event code, answer a set of 10 questions, and the algorithm pairs users up into small groups.

In 2018, the company topped $1m+ in pre-seed funding — making the duo one of only a few dozen Black women founders to reach that milestone.

Then, this March, the pandemic made in-person networking events disappear overnight. So Ammons threw herself into remaking Mixtroz for the video-conference era.

In just 45 days, Ammons and her team of contract engineers built their own video platform using open-source code.

Within minutes, Mixtroz Virtual will take your 500-person event and split everyone into groups of 5.

Then you’re sent into a private room. Customizable ice breakers make starting a conversation a little easier.

It’s a lot more bearable than a giant meeting on Zoom.

  • Founders: Ashlee Ammons and Kerry Schrader
  • Employees: 2
  • Cost to launch: $200k
  • Funding methods: Friends/family contributions

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