Tom Gaffney, co-founder of Connect GO, is solving a problem that every business person has likely experienced at some point – the randomness and inefficiency of networking.
"Through networking for my prior software development business, I attended different networking events and always walked away feeling a bit frustrated by the overall experience because it’s a random process of who you wind up speaking to," he said. "I come from the world of software development where we search for the most efficient processes so I came up with the idea for an app that will tell you which people at the networking event need your products/services and help you meet those people. For example, if you provide software development, it will tell you there are five people at the networking event who need software development and help you meet them. On the flipside, you also broadcast to the group that you need for example an accountant and graphic designer. The fundamental concept is to improve networking efficiency and remove the randomness so you meet the best possible connections."
In the launch phase now in early 2017, Connect GO is working with a number of different event managers organizing events from 20 people to multi-day events with thousands of people.
"We provide valuable data and analytics to event managers and presenters," Gaffney explained. "We can tell them what number of new connections were established at the event, what the most popular networking times were, what location the most connections occurred in and we can also provide real time audience feedback for presenters."
Gaffney's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is threefold. "One, have a high degree of self awareness," he said. "One of my early faults was that I thought I could be everything to everyone. As I become more aware of my passions, my strengths and those areas I was not so strong in, I was better able to surround myself with people who complement those things I don’t do so well. Two, find your product/market fit as soon as possible. Get it in front of people as quickly and economically as you can because the market will help you shape what you need to do. Three, expect a grind. There are no shortcuts and no easy processes. Expect failure and rejection along the way, but also that if you ask for help, people will be willing it help you."