ASU students create app to enhance networking

EventKey provides a more efficient way to network at events

An ASU alum and an undergrad have created a new app to allow location-based connections between professionals. 

EventKey works in conjunction with LinkedIn to allow members to check in to specific networking events like conferences. 

Once checked into an event, people can see the name, picture, and job title of others at the event. Upon clicking on a person’s name, their LinkedIn profile pops up.

After the event, users have access to the names and LinkedIn profiles of event attendees via the app.  

This allows hosts to see who attended, avoiding the need for sign-in sheets. 

“No leads fall through the cracks," Rafael Testai, EventKey founder and 2014 ASU graduate, said. "That’s important in business."

The road to market lasted over a year, beginning with Testai’s idea for the app and a prototype.

Fifteen months after he developed the idea, ASU connected him to Perry Waxman, an engineering and Barrett student.

Waxman created a well-known app called ASU GO that provides students with directions around campus. Waxman’s success with that app made him a natural fit for Eventkey. 

”I was pretty excited when it first came out," Waxman said. "It got attraction pretty quickly and for me, when I see that I have over 20,000 downloads over time, it’s cool but I want to keep doing more — a million downloads is cooler.”

After three months of coding, EventKey was released on the App Store on October 5. That day, Testai and Waxman both used the app and spoke at the Tempe Public Library at a networking event for entrepreneurs. 

A week prior to the app going up on the App Store, Testai and Waxman experienced a rough patch in their journey.

Testai hosted an event with 300 attendees. He was supposed to use EventKey to check people into the event, but it was rejected by the App Store a few days before it took place. 

“Unfortunately we missed a big opportunity," Testai said. "But it’s okay, I still got on stage and presented in front of everyone." 

However, Waxman said the pair used the rejection as a teaching moment.

“That first rejection helped us learn that even though we thought that we thought of everything, we actually didn’t," he said. 

Even after making some tweaks Testai and Waxman were not fully confident that the updated app would be accepted. They restlessly awaited the decision. 

“It probably released at about 2 or 3 a.m., because I was refreshing the app store until about 2 o’clock," Waxman said. "It’s exciting to have this out there and have unknown people use the app, and have a real audience.”

Testai said they are hoping to find a niche within professionals at ASU. 

“We’re focusing on networking events for professionals, particularity speed networking (and) ASU professional organizations," he said.

Waxman and Testai also created a YouTube channel to market their app and help other professionals with networking and startup development. 

“We’re making a YouTube channel that’s going to have videos about obstacles that we’ve overcome that will be very useful for other startups beginning (at) ASU to learn from us, so they don’t make the same mistakes or they expedite the success process," Testai said. 

The pair added Wes Bennett, a graphic information technology sophomore, to the team to help with these videos. 

"Each video covers a different topic on how to manage a business and other things with EventKey," he said. 

The team carries high hopes for the app. 

"As ASU students, it's imperative for us to go to these events and network with as many people as possible," Bennett said. 

The EventKey team still has progress in mind.

“With EventKey, we want to get traction quickly and get as much feedback as possible and just keep building," Waxman said. "That’s something we always think about. Rafael and I, we’re focused and we just want to build, that’s all we want to do.”

Correction: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated the app's capabilities. It only directs them to the LinkedIn profiles of others at the event. It has now been updated.


Reach the reporter at madison.arnold.1@asu.edu or follow @madisonC_arnold on Twitter.

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