OPW INTERVIEW -- Dec 13 -- MIXTT has a spin on the traditional one-on-one date that appeals to the younger set. Group dating. I spoke with the CEO and Founder of MiXTT, Eve Peters. - Mark Brooks
What is your background Eve?
I studied Economics and Public Policy at Stanford, then worked at Accenture and two different law firms. Starting MIXTT was a major switch for me; I was gearing toward being a lawyer until I had the idea to start the company.
How did you come to found MIXTT.com?
I had used Match.com and JDate, and found that they weren't a good fit for my generation, nor for people who were relatively social. I think the one-on-one date is becoming a less and less frequent occurrence for people of younger generations. So I had this idea that there should be a group dating site. There should be a way to meet people without having to set up a romantic date as on Match.com or E-Harmony. There should be something more casual.
At that time I headed down to Argentina to live there for a year. It had been a dream of mine, and it was the right time in my life. I had plans for volunteering and other sorts of work with non-profit organizations while I was down there. What ended up happening, though, was that I serendipitously came across an ex-venture capitalist, a tech CEO and a young entrepreneur all within my first couple weeks there. The business idea came up in conversation randomly, and all three of them, from their various perspectives, were highly encouraging about actually pursuing it.
How does it work from a user perspective?
A user signs himself up and then invites his friends to join a group that he creates. So, the friend groups have a group profile together, and people have their individual profiles as well.
You don't have to have a group to sign up, you can sign up as an individual and find other people in your city that you might want to group up with. But the idea is that you go on there with different friends and you seek out another group of friends who are interested in meeting people.
How is the uptake with the groups so far?
Our growth isn't as exponential as we would like it to be. It's going slow and we're actually seeing more people who are more accustomed to the traditional models - just signing themselves up and not creating groups. But, we do find the ones who are creating groups tend to be more active on the site. They're communicating more with each other, sending messages and planning dates, etc. MIXTT is more friends meeting each other for play and for friendship, which can ultimately evolve into dating.
Is there any functionality within there to help people invite new people into the group?
Absolutely. There is a simple Invite to Group feature. So you can invite anyone that looks interesting. If you don't want them to be permanently a part of your group you just send them a message and clue them in on the plan. Also each group has a social calendar where they post what they're up to.
What happens when all 3 guys like a particular woman I wonder?
That's a good question and it comes up a lot. I think what happens in that scenario is what would happen in real life. It's no more magical then the way dating works in real life. In fact, it's supposed to emulate the way people go out and meet each other in real life. Luckily, with groups of friends, I find that typically we don't all go after the same guy. Everyone has his or her particular taste. So I'm sure that's bound to happen here and there, but people will deal with it the same way they would if they had met that group of 3 girls or 3 guys in a bar.
How do you make money?
Ha - we don't make money. Yet. We just launched in September, so our priority is really getting traction right now. Down the road the plan is threefold – ads, premium services, and affiliate programs. We have worked out programs with Open Table and Ticketmaster, so that when groups go to dinner, an event or a concert, they can do that right through the site, and we can capture a piece of each of those transactions.