Scott Heiferman at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2010
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
|Known for||Founding Meetup|
Scott Heiferman is an American businessperson and internet entrepreneur. Heiferman co-founded Meetup and currently serves as the company's Chairman.
Heiferman was born in Homewood, Illinois in 1972. He had an interest in entrepreneurship and technology as a child. Heiferman earned a business degree from the University of Iowa in 1994. After graduating, he worked in marketing at Sony before starting a digital marketing agency called i-traffic. i-traffic was sold to Agency.com and Heiferman started Meetup a few years later, in 2002. By 2017, Meetup grew to 32 million members in 182 countries. It was acquired by WeWork that year.
Scott Heiferman was born in 1972 in Homewood, Illinois. Heiferman has four siblings, each of which are more than a decade older than him. He developed an interest in technology and entrepreneurship as a child. In his teens, Heiferman started learning computer programming on an Apple II. In High School, Heiferman sold coupon books for a nearby town, while attending Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
Heiferman earned enough money from coupon books to pay for his first year of college. He attended the University of Iowa. Initially Heiferman majored in engineering, but he changed his degree to business. While in college, Heiferman worked for a local radio station that was an early adopter of internet radio. Heiferman graduated with a business degree in 1994.
Scott Heiferman's first job out of college was in Montvale, New Jersey working for Sony. While there Heiferman helped develop their first corporate website. His job title was "Interactive Marketing Frontiersman." Heiferman worked at Sony from 1994 to 1995. Afterwards, he moved to New York City, where Heiferman started an online ad-agency called i-traffic. i-traffic grew to about 100 employees, when Agency.com acquired it in 1999 for $15 million. Heiferman sold the company just before the end of the dot-com bubble. He continued working for Agency.com for about a year.
In 2000, Heiferman left Agency.com and worked a short stint at McDonald's. According to Heiferman, the McDonalds job was to help him "get back in touch with the real world." After McDonalds, Heiferman took a two-year break, starting Meetup in 2002.
At the time of the September 11 attacks, Heiferman lived just a few miles from the Twin Towers. The attack caused him and his neighbors to meet each other for the first time, on the roof of his building. The experience made Heiferman interested in the idea of face-to-face interactions and community. Heiferman was influenced by the book Bowling Alone, which is about creating connections between strangers and the deterioration of community in American culture. He was also a fan of the band Luna and often went to their concerts alone, because he couldn't find other fans to go with.
These events caused Heiferman to start Meetup in 2002 with five co-founders and 10 employees. Around the same time, Heiferman also started a photo-sharing service called Fotolog, which he sold five years later for $90 million. During Howard Dean's 2004 Presidential campaign, Dean persuaded supporters to create or join local Meetup groups. In 2004, Meetup reached one million users and Heiferman was named "Innovator of the Year" by MIT Technology Review. Subsequently, then Presidential hopeful Barack Obama promised to attend any Meetup event of supporters that can get at least 100 attendees.
In 2005, Heiferman made the unexpected decision of charging users a fee to start and run Meetup groups, rather than using an advertising-based business model. Afterwards, the activity on Meetup dropped 95%, but rebounded over time. The company made a profit for the first time in 2009. By 2017, Meetup had 32 million members in 182 countries. That same year, Facebook invested in new features in a competing service called Facebook Groups. In response, Heiferman developed a plan to redesign Meetup to focus more on activities than groups. The re-design was also based on feedback from Meetup employees. In late 2017, Meetup was acquired by WeWork.
Scott Heiferman married Emily Krasnor on September 13, 2008. Krasnor is an officer of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Heiferman has a daughter and a son, born in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
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