The mealtime manager

meetup alex amusemi
Shapiro (far left) brunching at a February Meetup.
  • Meetup Group: Startup Lunch
  • Business: Amusemi

New York, NY

Alex Shapiro ran his startup from a co-working space, but found that community lunches were rare. In March 2011, he launched a Meetup group, Startup Lunch, to change that.

Soon, the group was gaining traction.

"Suddenly, it's a little chaotic and you can't do a typical venue," Shapiro recalled. "It becomes like a stand-up, sit-down format and I like the idea of people sitting around the table."

So, in early 2012, Shapiro launched Amusemi. The startup hosts small networking events throughout the city (ranging in price from $10 to $50, depending on the meal).

The site has 1,600 users -- all of whom have been pre-screened by Shapiro -- and has organized 72 events.

Shapiro still operates Startup Lunch, as well as another Meetup, Village Tech Breakfast. Amusemi is currently earning a very minimal profit (he works full-time running the first company he founded, TouchGraph). But Shapiro says he's in talks with investors to get funding to continue growing Amusemi.

First published June 27, 2014: 6:02 AM ET

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