Happy Birthday, Mixolo Team! We're still here because of you. You're our type!
Please enjoy the annual love letter to our early adopters from Mixolo founder, Carolyn Walton Lynch. Maybe you aren't so early anymore? Mixolo is 3! Wait, are we still a startup?
Congratulations, Team Mixolo!
Look what you co-founded, early adopters. It's me, Carolyn, Mixolo's founder, coming to you first-person today for a long overdue "monthly" update and to wish you a Happy Mixolo Birthday!
A big welcome to new Mixoloists just joining the Mixolo startup team. We're not producing a product, but we are pioneering a movement. As a solo-preneur, building a community of adventurous solos (introverts, too!), I consider all of you the engine and the reason for Mixolo.
On February 14, 2017, with a splash page and a Facebook post, 39 of you signed for a virtual Valentine's Day launch party with a new IRL (in-real-life) social network called Mixolo. #noplusonerequired
Turns out many of us, regardless of relationship status, sometimes opt-out of social outings when we can't convince a plus-one. Mixolo wants to help you #justgosolo AND find your plus-some. With nearly 2000 open-minded Mixoloists who have subscribed so far, some pretty far from our Beta city, Baltimore, USA, and almost 80 hosts who have welcomed our adventurous solos, together, we've been making some changes around the way the unaccompanied guest is perceived and welcomed. It has not been easy, but it sure has been fun.Cheers!
Why launch on Valentine's Day?
What better day of the year to let people know (and later remind them) that Mixolo aims to connect solo adventurers who might want to find community when they step out alone.
Does a plus-one have to be a romantic partner? No, not everyone is with a plus-one on V-Day. Does it have to be your reluctant bestie who is not into eating sprinkles made with plant-based coloring sourced exclusively from a local farm and served in a Michelin starred restaurant 50 miles out of your city? Uh, no, it's cool to do things solo.
And for those times when you want to connect with other like-minded foodies open to eating cupcakes (WITH gluten) in a remote hipster barn turned restaurant any day of the year, Mixolo wants to be your concierge for solo-friendly fun.
Where is Mixolo now?
Fast forward three years with a journey of epic fails and wins building a community of absolutely beautiful people. No kidding. Mixolo people are amazing! Our ethos of inclusion and acceptance is flying against the trends in our society. I have hope for our humanity when I meet Mixolo people who come out for fun and enjoy the positive energy a connected community brings.
Some of Mixolo's earliest supporters may remember that super-hyped poolside reveal party in the Summer of 2017 for the first iteration of the app that bombed. Despite that humbling experience, Mixolo's Beta mobile app was eventually launched on Apple and Google Play in August 2018.
Mixolo is fundamentally about people and real-life connections. Our app is simply a tool to help you build a community of ready-to-go-out plus-ones. With the Mixolo app, there's no liking or swiping or advance viewing of profiles.
We left that to the dating/friend finder apps and Meetup. When you decide to go out with Mixolo, you only know that other unaccompanied guests want to see that same opera or try out that same craft brewery or plant-based mocktail bar you love or are curious about. You meet on common ground first.
If after that bike tour event, you fancy yourself among the worst cyclists in the group, you can follow up with your other new beginning biker connections in the app's MIXCHAT messaging platform and form your own pack.
Mixolo's Beta host events portal was released just last year to maximize efficiency in the curation of solo-friendly events. It's free for hosts! We're crowdsourcing now, team. Approved hosts anywhere in the US can build an event. We want to help match Mixoloists to more solo-friendly events and hosts.
Mixolo is now an open marketplace for solo-friendly events with a social networking option for building community around the things you want to do. We're like Airbnb Experiences with your community of fellow adventurers ready to go out with you!
The Stigma Enigma
Mixolo is a tall order. We've encountered resistance from many hosts (and curiously, their marketing and PR gatekeepers) who don't share our vision of accommodating the solo guest. Many see couples and related groups as more desirable patrons. We should note many of our members are in relationships but love the Mixolo option for activities their partners are not interested in pursuing.
Hospitality and entertainment venues are used to customer-in customer-out service and are sticking to ye olde banquet model for related groups - down payment, definitive count. They see Mixolo's host portal as unproven and yet another cumbersome tool for them to add to their arsenal of apps and systems from UberEats to OpenTable to their current third-party or proprietary ticketing platforms.
Social scientists are still working on cracking the code on stigma around identifying as solo or going out alone. Even with a rapidly changing population with singles overtaking the married population, and the rise of the solo consumer already being courted by Fortune 50 product makers and the travel industry, many still feel or project shame or trepidation when it comes to solo pursuits.
Contrary to popular belief, Valentine's Day is not a sell-out night for most restaurants. Each year more and more seats go empty because many are unwittingly ignoring millions of ready-to-go-out solos with their exclusionary marketing
.Our pioneering hosts have been so supportive and share our vision, but we also need our members to come out and support them and show other hosts that Mixolo is worth the time and is the future of filling seats in our quickly disappearing social spaces. There is still so much joy in doing the things that we love without hesitation. Mixolo eliminates that awkward feeling when you arrive alone. We don't clique, we click.
No one should be limiting themselves to societal norms around who is worthy of taking up space, even at a restaurant on Valentine's Day. Thanks to the brave hearts, hosts, and guests, who have ignored the chatter (inside or outside the brain) and made a conscious choice to embrace a new way of enjoying life with Mixolo.
Some Valentine's Day Tough Love
We wanted you to find us in your inbox, hence the post-Valentine's day message. This is NOT a breakup letter however, the time has come for Mixolo to scale or bail. It's been three years and Uncle Sam is about to classify Mixolo as a hobby! Did I mention I am a CPA? I know a few things...
One: We can't sustain the fun without revenue. Mixolo has begun charging a fee per ticket sold (like Eventbrite) to help cover the cost of our operations. It's a start.
I'll be pitching for venture capital and more strategic partners this year in hopes that we can offer a more robust and user-friendly platform that allows members to schedule their own Mixolo experiences directly with Mixolo hosts. And our hosts can enjoy a much easier way to integrate Mixolo into their arsenal of business growth tools. While rejection sucks, the right product-market fit is key, co-founders!
Mixolo is still moving forward underfunded, but I am overjoyed with the love and patience you all have given Mixolo from all over the globe. We're so glad we found our type.
If you have not responded IRL to Mixolo yet, now is the time. If we're scheduling events in your neighborhood and you're still on the fence, please get down from there and come out and have some fun with your new plus-some. Let's grow our network of ready-to-go-out solos so that we can attract more hosts and venues to work with Mixolo.
If you're not seeing events in your area, know that we must grow exponentially in order to attract more hosts. If you're waiting for us, help yourself and Mixolo by telling everyone you know and every experience purveyor and venue you love and frequent about Mixolo.
A thousand thanks for the love and many good wishes you've sent this way.
Love, peace, and fun,
Carolyn Walton Lynch