Finding the right groups is key to good networking, said Judy Robinett, author of "How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits."
"If there's not people smarter in the room or (people who) have resources you can use, you're not going anywhere," she said. "It has to be focused on quality people."
For the first brunchwork speakers, Levy tapped his own well-established network, which he's developed in part through "Influencers," a dinner networking series he launched in 2009 to connect leaders from across industries. Past guests include Nobel Prize recipients, scientists and music artists.
In the year and a half since its launch, Levy's new venture, brunchwork, has hosted executives from Seamless, Hinge, and Casper.
The speakers also benefit from hearing the audience's ideas and watching attendees interact, especially if they're looking for new employees.
"It's really great to be in a room of people so interested in the start-up space because that's what I want to hire for," Lyft's Melnick said.