Phoenix resident Gelie Akhenblit was looking for her next career move. While networking in the local business community, she saw a need for a calendar that would list networking events around the Valley.
She thought it would be fun to create the calendar and enlisted the help of her husband Erin-Michael Johnson, a software engineer, to create the website. He built it from scratch and they launched it in October 2008 with no expectations of turning it into a business. The next thing they knew, it was soaring to the top of search engines.
Akhenblit said NetworkingPhoenix.com is now in the top 1 percent of websites globally, with 500 to 600 events listed each month and almost 21,500 registered members.
“We have a birds eye view into the entire city,” she said.
The calendar includes color coding, various filters, list and map views, trending events and a search bar to help users narrow down the events.
But there’s more to the self-funded website than the calendar. Akhenblit describes it as a cross between LinkedIn and MeetUp. Users can create free accounts and fill out their information, and the website generates recommendations for events and users to connect with, creating a more customized user experience.
Members can submit events and access most of the website for free, but the site also offers a paid membership option. With the Networking Passport Membership, users can receive free admission to certain organizations’ paid events. The website lists about 40 to 50 Networking Passport eligible events each month.
NetworkingPhoenix.com hosts about three to four of its own events each year, attracting between 1,500 and 2,000 people to each event, and Akhenblit said the company is still growing.
“We’re working on expanding nationally,” she said. “We’ve had interest from various organizations locally, nationally and even internationally as far as creating potential partnerships to help us grow and get to the next phase.”
More about NetworkingPhoenix.com
# of employees: 5
Revenues: Not currently disclosing, but company is profitable and its revenues are growing
Founder: Gelie Akhenblit, Erin-Michael Johnson
Blog: Phoenix Industry Experts, Leaders and Entrepreneurs Blog
Headquarters: 7137 E. Rancho Vista Dr. Suite 108 Scottsdale, AZ 85251