Meet Bloxi, a startup on a mission to inspire curiosity
Founded by Nate Bernstein and Tom Emmons, Bloxi is a new social site designed to inspire curiosity through the development of knowledge, identity, and opinion blocks (quizzes).
“We made Bloxi to give people a place to go to have fun and connect with others who share common interests,” says Bernstein. “It’s fun, competitive, and social. You get sucked in by playing quizzes (we call them blocks), but the real fun starts when you create your own Blocks and see how much other people like them.”
The duo wants the site to become a place where people interact to share knowledge and opinions through the easy creation of shareable blocks. We caught up with Bloxi’s founders to learn more about their company and what it’s like to launch a tech-based startup in Eugene.
What inspired the idea for your company?
Tom Emmons (TE): Bloxi started when Nate and I were drinking whiskey in a midtown Manhattan bar. We were chatting about the countless ways to share things like pictures, videos, presentations, and journals online, which brought us to this question: How do you share a quiz? More importantly, how do you share your knowledge and creativity in a way that’s fun and engaging? And now, a year and a half later, we’ve got a solid answer to that question: Bloxi.
What’s your vision for the company?
TE: We want Bloxi to be a community that gives people a place to share their knowledge, opinions and insights. There are other sites out there that let you play quizzes, but Bloxi is a premier destination where users can expect a beautiful, yet intuitive interface that doesn’t bombard you with annoying ads.
How did your company get started? Where did your co-founders meet? What is your story?
Nate Bernstein (NB): Tom and I have been friends and business partners for years, and prior to Bloxi, we started Emberex Inc., a web solutions company in Eugene’s Silicon Shire. Emberex has been successful since its start in 2007 and continues to thrive as both a company and as the financial support for Bloxi. We formed a strong team to make Bloxi happen, and since its launch in March, we charged forward with the mission that anyone is capable of creating cool and viral content: all they need is a little curiosity.
What are your ties to Eugene? Are you natives to the city, transplants, or graduates of the UO?
NB: I’m an East Coast transplant with a master’s degree from the UO, and Tom’s family moved to Eugene when he was a child. Tom took classes at the UO business school and finished his Bachelors degree at Northwest Christian University since they offered evening classes that meshed with his work schedule. The Bloxi team is a half and half mix of new and lifetime Eugenians.
What do you like about the city? What makes it a good place for your company?
TE: We love the pride Eugene has for the city and its values. A lot of our employees bike to work, we love to play locally at Duck games and wineries, and you can’t beat the geographic location.
What makes working here difficult? What would you like to see in the city to make it easier to run your company?
NB: Eugene has been making some great headway as a tech-town, but it can be tough to find unattached developers here!
What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced? How have you overcome it?
TE: Understanding what our users want has been the biggest challenge. When you’re building something, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and start focusing on minute details that inevitably land you “in the weeds.” We’ve had to pause, take a step back, and seek feedback from our users to make purposeful strides towards what Bloxi has become and will continue to be.
If you were to map out your plans for the next year, what would they be? How are you planning on growing your company further?
NB: The next year is going to be focused on tweaking and highlighting our features and interface to be what our users want. Once we’ve really nailed that, we’ll work towards our monetization strategy.
Anything else we should know but didn’t ask about?
TE: We love hearing from our users! Please feel free to send us an email using the feedback button (it’s shaped like a question mark) on the left-hand side of Bloxi.
Curious? Give Bloxi a try today.