Mirror, a startup in New York’s bustling flat iron district, has created something innovative and different bridging parts in a few different spaces. Mirror says that Facebook is what I like, and Mirror is what I’m like. With Facebook you talk about the things you do and like. With mirror, other people talk about what you’re actually like. It’s in essence bridging online personals, online dating, and people recommendation engines in a unique way.
Where California startup Recmnd.me is about people recommendation at a professional level, mirror is more personal, and more free flowing. For instance if you’re a really nice guy, and a great romanticist, people on Mirror can vouch for you or as the Mirror team calls it, people can give their “take” on you. If you’re a passionate entrepreneur that’s helped a bunch of folks, one of your takes can say that. Or to borrow an example from their website, if you’re a really great DJ, people can add that to their take on you.
Mirror bills themselves as real recommendations by real people. The platform can be used for dating, to find new business colleagues and to make new friends. They leverage real contacts and real opinions of someone rather than trying to build around a social graph or recommend people based on whether or not you like Mark Zuckerberg’s dog. The Mirror platform has real potential.
We got a chance to interview Dan Mattio, check out the interview below:
What is Mirror?
Mirror allows you to connect with others based on the qualities you value, for dating, social or professional purposes.
Facebook does a great job of connecting you with people you already know; you can chat with friends, share photos with family, etc. However, it does a very poor job of connecting you with people who you don’t know, but possess the qualities and interests that are important to you. For instance, let’s say you are single and want to find all of the guys in your area who are attractive, intelligent and loyal, not as told by them in an anonymous profile like you’d get on a Match.com or OkCupid, but by the people in their life who know them best. Or you are looking for a responsible roommate, a funny, motivated work-out partner, or a talented and respectful photographer, Mirror allows you to search by the qualities that interest you most and connect with the individual via SMS or email (double-blind of course) in a verified manner. There are no anonymous or fake profiles since every user is not only verified by SMS and email, but also has their interests and personality brought to life by those who know them best; their friends, co-workers, family, etc.
Here’s how it works:
– A user logs onto Mirror and creates a frame. A frame is a fun, short, 3-minute profile of who you are. It includes your real name, photos, verified phone number and email, as well as some of your interests and personality traits. You can select what you want to be connected for and how you want to be connected (SMS or e-mail, real-time or aggregated format).
– After creating a frame, you invite your friends via Facebook or email to give their take on you. A take is short snapshot of their relationship with you. It includes special moments from the relationship, some fun adlibs about you and is designed to bring out your unique personality. As we like to say around the Mirror offices, Facebook is “what I like”, Mirror is “what I’m like.”
– Once you have an approved frame and 2 takes, then you can browse for and connect with anyone you want on the site. Connections are free, quick and verified.
Mirror is revolutionizing two businesses which have not progressed much in over a decade; online people search and online dating. It is much more than a verified online dating site or social search engine. It’s a new form of web interaction. Mirror is the new social.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Daniel Mattio Founder and CEO
Dan’s background is a bit unorthodox for the start-up world. Prior to founding Mirror in late 2011, he worked for over a decade investing in global internet and consumer businesses at firms like Citadel Investment Group and Goldman, Sachs & Co. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2000 as valedictorian. He lives in Englewood, NJ with his wife and 3 daughters.
Dan has long been fascinated with the online dating marketplace. He met his wife on Jdate in 2003 and realizes that the mechanics of online dating haven’t changed much since the inception of the web. Sites like Match.com, Jdate, Eharmony, etc. are essentially the same sites they were when Dan was single in the early 2000’s! He has sought to change this by creating Mirror, a new form of web interaction that allows people to search for and connect with others based on the qualities and interest that they value, and do so in a quick, fun and verified manner.
“It’s a travesty that, in the age of Facebook and LinkedIn, that online dating sites, a $1.5 billion a year business, still exist in the world of anonymous and fake profiles. That will change and Mirror will be the driving force behind that change.” – Dan Mattio, Founder and CEO of Mirror“Facebook is “what I like”, Mirror is “what I’m like” – Dan Mattio, Founder and CEO of Mirror
“Mirror allows you to curate a mosaic of who you are, as told by those who know you best. And then use that mosaic to connect with people in a much more meaningful way. It’s the anti-Craigslist.” – Dan Mattio, Founder and CEO of Mirror
Froilan Mendoza Co-Founder and CTO
Froilan has 15 years of experience building technology start-ups in various industries. Prior to joining Dan in the founding of Mirror, he was CTO of two New York City-based start-ups, Frumster/Jwed (Jewish social media and dating sites) and StyleHop (fashion B2B). He also built the infrastructure of CAD Sciences, a software start-up acquired by iCAD (NASDAQ) in 2008. Froilan has a Master’s degree in Information Systems from NYU and is an Adjunct
Professor at Monroe College teaching UNIX/LINUX, Programming Logic in C++ and Operating Systems. Froilan lives in Jersey City, NJ with his wife and 2 children.
Where are you based?
Mirror offices are located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, the epicenter of New York’s tech community.
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
The start-up culture in New York is thriving. Outside of the famous, always sold-out, 1,000+ attendee NY Tech Meetup, there are almost nightly events for entrepreneurs, technologists and their supporters in New York. New York’s established financial and media community as well as the large base of skilled employees make it a great place to build a business.
What problem does Mirror solve?
The problem Mirror solves is simple: There is no way to search for people, whether it be for dating, social or professional purposes, who possess the qualities and interests they desire, and be able to connect with them in a quick, easy and verified manner. Your current options are 1) Facebook, which is a means of connecting with and sharing information with friends and friends of friends, 2) online dating sites, which are filled with oftentimes misleading or downright fake anonymous profiles, or 3) Craigslist (shudder). LinkedIn is a great site, but it is limited to the white-collar professional realm. Mirror is like LinkedIn for the next generation, a LinkedIn for cool people.
Another problem that Mirror solves is online reputation. Mirror allows users to curate their online reputation. This can come in handy for social and professional purposes. There are many businesses which enable an individual, for a hefty fee, to deemphasize bad items on them in the search ranking. Mirror functions in the opposite and more proactive manner. Mirror enables users to curate a mosaic of who they are as told by the people who know them best. You can invite your friends, co-workers or family to highlight your unique characteristics on Mirror.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Mirror is not a simple app or tweak to an existing product. It’s a new form of web interaction, that sits between social/professional networks, online dating sites and people search engines. It pushes the limits on privacy and connectivity. Thus, a huge challenge for the Mirror team was to make sure we built a product that was approachable and easy to use for our users. We have gone through countless focus groups, a very long beta test, and lots of redesign. We’ve been able to simultaneously perfect our product and acquire users in the interim. …and we’ve just begun!
Who are your mentors and role models?
I come from the investment world, where you take risk on a daily basis. However, I can truly say that I didn’t know the meaning of risk until I founded Mirror. Thus, I now look to other entrepreneurs as role models. Entrepreneurs who have built innovative, disruptive businesses from scratch. Ari Goldberg of Stylecaster and Mike Keriakos of EverydayHealth are two examples of founders who created great, first-to-market products and are recognized leaders in their industry.
What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?
We actually have several celebrities on Mirror! We don’t publicize them for obvious reasons, but Mirror’s a great tool to learn more about celebrities’ lives, as told by their own friends. It’s Entourage-online.
What’s next for your Mirror?
We’re always improving the product. We are launching a Facebook app in a couple of weeks, have a redesign scheduled for October 1st and, of course, the mobile application. We are in the midst of an angel round and are building relationships with well-known investors and venture capitalists.
Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more startup interviews from “everywhere else”
We sure could use your help, check out this link.