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Networking is essential to business in any industry. However, when traveling on business, meeting people in the same field can be difficult when you’re not familiar to an area. MeetingWave, an online service that helps business travelers connect, allows users to schedule public meetings in locations like hotel restaurants to which other users in those cities can request an invitation.

"Our target user is people who need to network for work," says John Boyd, founder and CEO of MeetingWave, including consultants, service providers, and retailers. A secondary goal would be social networkers, he says, including those networking with fellow alumni, trade associations, those who want to meet new people, are new to town, or traveling. There is a portal for those looking for romantic invitations, but those are usually only found through advanced searches.

Starting out as an associate lawyer at a small patent firm in New York City, Boyd recalls often going on business trips and staying in hotels in remote areas, where usually the hotel eatery was the only option for socializing. "In the hotel restaurant, you ate with 20 other people eating alone. I wondered who these people were. Related industry? Potential clients?" Thus, Boyd launched the web meeting service to encourage and facilitate easier networking.

MeetingWave has both Facebook and Bebo applications, and launched a mobile version of the site in June. The mobile app works on Blackberry, iPhone and other mobile browsers, and there are preliminary plans for a full-fledged iPhone app based on geographical location. "What we want to do is allow people to be notified in a certain radius of where you are," Boyd says, "We’ll notify the person when an invite of interest is posted."

Content is currently English only, and most invitations are located in the United States and the United Kingdom, in urban areas. "Most of our invites are being posted near people’s home or work," Boyd says. However, he adds that invites can be posted anywhere, citing a recent invite accepted in Bangladesh.

The networking site also re-launched their blog. "Our goal is to allow users to promote themselves," Boyd says, allowing members to submit testimonials, articles, and public invites. MeetingWave also has plans to debut a new widget, allowing a blogger to post invitations and events on their personal sites. In November, Boyd says they’re hoping to add some features to the site, including safe search and email alert features. "We want to make functionality as seamless as possible."