Muniz (right) with Squarespace VP Andrew Bartholomew (Photo courtesy of Startup Grind New Haven)
For Adam Muniz, working in New Haven was a special experience because of friendly and inquisitive people.
Muniz brought Startup Grind, an entrepreneurial network and monthly event series, to the Elm City in January 2015. After more than two years of leading the series, Muniz has resigned as director.
The Australia native established Startup Grind New Haven after attending the Google-powered series in San Francisco. A chance encounter with Startup Grind’s founder forged a new bond, eventually leading to the event’s inclusion in downtown New Haven.
It wasn’t until Muniz came to New Haven to study at Yale University’s School of Management (SOM) that he took the initiative to establish a new chapter in the city.
Once Startup Grind New Haven was in place, Muniz began securing interviews with notable entrepreneurs at The Grove and other local venues. The interviews would highlight the guest’s background and give advice for the budding entrepreneurs in attendance.
Muniz was surprised that nearly every entrepreneur he contacted was thrilled to speak at New Haven’s event. This elevated the networking events to new heights, he said.
Under Muniz’s leadership, the series started with Kyle Jensen, director of entrepreneurial programs and lecturer in entrepreneurship at Yale SOM, and ended with Tariq Farid, founder of Edible Arrangements.
According to Muniz, his favorite part of the events was not only chatting with the globally known business titans, but also speaking with attendees to answer questions about their startup ambitions.
“To see people enjoying the events was amazing,” he said. “People in New Haven have been amazing to share my time with them. It’s been fun for me.”
Now, Muniz is off to GLAMSQUAD, a glamour and fashion app, where he’ll serve as a general manager, developing new operations for the company in Washington, D.C. Looking for a new challenge, he said the managerial position at GLAMSQUAD reconnects his prior work in fashion.
With a desire to continue providing valuable insights and experiences to attendees, Muniz appointed Nick Caplan to fill his vacancy. Caplan was chosen, he says, because he could continue improving the speaking series and work with the local constituents.
“We aligned in mission, and we aligned in relationship and partnership,” Muniz said.
Caplan, 32, has lived between New York and New Haven since 2009 when he started the MBA program at the Yale SOM. He began his post-graduate years as an engineer before transitioning to work in finance and assisting several startup companies.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Caplan wanted to join New Haven’s local entrepreneurial scene. At Startup Grind New Haven, he forged new connections with attendees during regular events.
“It was great to have a home to see awesome speakers and interact with people you wouldn’t meet day-to-day,” he said.
While working part-time as the program’s director, Caplan will continue a new venture called Launch Island, a network teaching entrepreneurship to kids. His work will remain in New Haven, where Caplan plans to continue building a broader reach for Startup Grind.
“I was sort of stoked to help out in any way I could to keep Startup Grind going because I thought it was such a great part of building entrepreneurship in New Haven,” he said. “I’m really excited to get started doing this and host some awesome people.”