New Connections: Mightybell Debuts Group-Based Platforms

Even among the most fastidious users, social networks are often dominated by loud and unwelcome voices.
Competing directly with Facebook Groups and Google Groups, a number of software start-ups are trying to solve social media’s relevancy issue -- and connect brands with consumers in the process. Take Mightybell, which just opened its group-based platform to anyone interested in finding new connections rather than connecting with existing friends and family.
Mightybell connects users to others based on related interests and geographic locations. Among other potential uses, the model is perfect for brands hoping to reach consumers, according to cofounder and CEO Gina Bianchini.
“We’re opening up the platform so that any organization, brand or individual can have the ability to organize content or curricula, events and members … by different locations or topics,” Bianchini said on Friday. “We think this represents a unique opportunity for brands to engage their customers."
Prior to Mightybell, Bianchini cofounded Ning, another platform for creating smaller social networks.
In its beta phase, Mightybell ran tests with about 450 communities, including networks for American Express and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Another beta partner of note was Lean In, the women’s empowerment initiative led by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO.
Betting on a traditional software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, Mightybell is charging network hosts $2 per month per members after the first 100 members.  
The company is funded by Floodgate, First Round Capital, as well as a number of angel investors.

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