The term ‘networking’ does not come to any person’s mind when someone else mentions a bar crawl. Instead, it conjures up visuals of groups of friends drunkenly running in and out of multiple pubs within close proximity of each other.
A trio of brothers originally from Germany is working on changing this perception, at least for residents of Tampa Bay.
Markus, Thomas and Andreas Neuert moved to Florida in 1991 to attend high school, but after a year, the family decided to stay in the Sunshine State. Since then, they’ve lived in multiple cities around the world and worked in various industries, but two years ago, they decided to quit their jobs and develop an app.
They moved to Silicon Valley and began work on Kyngo, which is best described as a Snapchat-like platform for sharing pictures and videos that expire after a day. The difference is that Kyngo is for users to find and share information on local events, and has a maximum radius of 50 miles.
Last summer, when the app was finished and they were ready to launch it in a test market, they decided that Tampa would be the best city for this because of their Floridian connections and Andreas’ knowledge of the area from living there for several years.
“We made (the Downtown Crawlers) because we wanted to promote the app, and we wanted to promote businesses in downtown Tampa,” Andreas said. “We live down there, we work down there, we play down there. We talked to some bar owners and we said, ‘Hey, why don’t we create a bar crawl?’”
This was the beginning of the Downtown Crawlers, except at that point it was called the Fearsome 5 – Bar Pub Crawl.
Within 10 days, the first crawl was planned, and on August 27, about 40 people took part.
They didn’t expect the positive feedback they received. This led them to plan at least one crawl a month, theme the crawls and to name themselves the Downtown Crawlers.
There wasn’t a crawl in September, but the three they did host over the course of the rest of 2016 were all food-themed. In October, they celebrated the bacon pub crawl, November was dedicated to pumpkin spice, and in December, they drank to chocolate mint.
These themes allowed bartenders to have special drinks on the night of the event, such as Franklin Manor’s pumpkin spice martini in November.
Despite being around for less than a year, the crawl has already evolved. Because of its demographic of ages 21 to 50, some people have used it to professionally network in a more casual setting.
They are also considering introducing a USF-themed crawl that would include transportation to and from the university. They said if students are interested, they can suggest it on the contact section of their website to speed up the process.
Thomas recalled that on February’s crawl, there were two University of Tampa students who were a semester away from graduating and discussing their future plans. One was a journalism student and another was a photographer. On the same crawl was the owner of a local Tampa magazine, and by the end of the crawl, all three parties had exchanged contact information and were talking about possible employment.
This gave the brothers the idea of making the events more accessible to students, including those at USF who are not as close to downtown as those at the University of Tampa.
In the next few months, they are planning on rolling out a student discount program.
Tickets for a Downtown Crawlers pub crawl run from $10 for an early bird ticket, to $45, depending on the crawl. This covers a T-shirt, a free drink or two, discounts on drinks, transportation to all locations and a raffle ticket to more prizes.
The student discount promises not only less expensive event tickets, but also a few more extra advantages and prizes for students. The Neuert brothers are still in the process of fine-tuning the details.