NEWS: Founder of Networking App Accepted Into Startup Accelerator in Silicon Valley
If you’ve been to an OC Tech Happy Hour meetup event in the past few years, you’ve seen Jon Shower helping attendees check in with his iNK Digital Networking app.
Similar to LinkedIn, it lets event attendees know who else is at an event and enables them to network through the app afterword.
Shower, a former combat infantry soldier in the Marines, who served twice in Iraq, has been accepted into the Veteran Founder Lab, part of the Founder Institute, a pre-seed startup accelerator in Palo Alto.
Veteran Founder Lab is a fundraising program. Through this initiative, iNK will gain access to free programming and resources within the Founder Institute’s global network.
iNK will also receive hands-on acceleration support from Vet-Tech, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley that helps fund and scale veteran-led startups.
With Vet-Tech headquartered at the Plug and Play Tech Center, iNK will be at the intersection of two of the largest startup organizations in the world whose combined networks span more than 200 cities and 11,000 mentors.
iNK, with HQ at Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder incubator at the Cove in Irvine, has raised $320,000 to date from Shower, as well as friends and family. All of it is in equity. Applied Innovation is UCI’s innovation center.
Look for iNK to open a round soon to hire a team to help the company scale.
iNK’s app first launched in early 2017 to gain feedback.
Shower created the company based on his belief that most people spend too much time attending events where they don’t meet the people they want to, forget details of the ones they do meet and spend days filtering through business cards while trying to maintain relationships.
“Most small (event) organizers have an archaic and frustrating method for running an event and typically nothing that helps attendees interact in real-time,” Shower told OC Startups Now. “Basically, when it comes to the places we spend the most time for business, we are living in the stone age when we could make life so much easier and effective.”
It works by event attendees scanning their business cards into the app. Once they check in at an event, other attendees using the app can see that they’re at the venue and see their contact information.
Shower said the startup is intentionally in pre-revenue. Its MVP is in beta now.
With no sales or marketing yet, the user base has been growing about 30% month-over- month organically.
More than 8,000 connections have been made and, close to 20 organizations are currently using the app.
Shower said he located the business here in OC because it’s a business community that’s centrally located for testing the software