The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

L.A. tech event Twiistup sold to a private investor

May 11, 2009 | 11:59 pm


Twiistup is a big bash for L.A.'s tech community. Credit: Mike Macadaan via Flickr

It helped software developers find jobs, attracted investors to Los Angeles and once featured a giant talking pickle.

Now Twiistup, the event created by entrepreneur Mike Macadaan to showcase the L.A. tech community, has been sold to an undisclosed private investor so it can further expand. Tech communities in places such as Colorado, Florida and Switzerland have written Macadaan asking for his help in creating a Twiistup of their own.

“It’s really helped unify the community,” Macadaan said. “Now we want to expand the energy and excitement here to another level.”

Twiistup, which launched in February 2007, showcases promising start-ups at a twice-annual bash that has been a change from more conventional technology meet-up events. Each iteration attracted more people, eventually drawing visitors from San Francisco, New York and London. At one Twiistup, a giant pickle ran through the room as a surprise. At another, blogger Perez Hilton dropped in to say hello. Each event featured alcohol, music and, of course, networking.

“I hear all the time about people getting their dream jobs there, people meeting investors who would give them a round of funding,” Macadaan said.

It also united a growing Los Angeles tech community, drawing more attention to the entrepreneurial activity going on here. The investor hopes to tap into that excitement, Macadaan said. He declined to disclose the price.

"Other communities look to us as role models" for how to create a vibrant tech scene, said Nicole Jordan, a Twiistup community consultant. That's partially because of the grass-roots popularity of Twiistup, she said, which often sells out weeks in advance.

Twiistup showoffs, which are start-ups selected to set up booths at the event and talk about their companies, have included YellowBot, and Meebo. One, a company called Mint, later won a $50,000 award from tech blog TechCrunch for being the best presenting company at a start-up event.

Los Angeles entrepreneur Francisco Dao will now run day-to-day operations of Twiistup. Macadaan said he's planning to focus more on Tsavo Media, a Santa Monica start-up founded by MySpace's new chief operating officer, Mike Jones.

-- Alana Semuels