Sack, Entress, Liu, Patel, and Other Angel Investors Lure Twiistup to Seattle

4/6/10Follow @gthuang

Tired of Seattle-area tech startup events? Well, get ready for a whole new one. It’s coming April 26, and it has been a closely guarded secret until now.

The event is called Twiistup, and it was started in Los Angeles by AOL executive Mike Macadaan in 2007. Think of it as a tech conference with Hollywood flair—six-figure budgets, multi-day events, and massive parties—a bit like TED, with star speakers, albeit a heavier emphasis on entrepreneurial networking.

I recently learned that last year, a group of prominent Seattle-area tech investors, including Andy Sack, Geoff Entress, Andy Liu, John Cunningham, Bob Senoff, David Niu, and Neil Patel, bought Twiistup for an undisclosed price. That means they acquired the brand, the website, and, crucially, the e-mail list of participants. Now they are bringing a lower-key version of the event to Seattle, called “startup sessions,” beginning on the evening of April 26 at the Olive 8 hotel. It will start out as a monthly event, aimed at tech entrepreneurs and investors.

Patel, the Internet marketing whiz kid from Orange County, CA, is leading the effort. He has been living in Seattle for the past year, where he is involved in several startups, including BuddyTV, Cheezburger Network, WhitePages, and Liquid Planner. He’s also a limited partner in the seed-stage investment fund Founder’s Co-op, and has invested in about 10 companies overall (at the ripe age of 24).

“Our goal is to really educate” entrepreneurs, Patel says of Twiistup in Seattle. “We want to help different types of companies grow.” He adds, “The goal is to start doing bigger events all around the U.S., where there are strong communities that don’t have enough local events” that emphasize the networking and educational aspects of starting and running tech companies. (The networking should also help potential investors, including the new Twiistup owners, find promising people and companies.)

So far the group has backed two events in the LA area, and is also working on a New York event. I asked Patel what Twiistup can bring to Seattle, to go beyond what is already a crowded tech event field that includes the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, Washington Technology Industry Association, University of Washington, MIT Enterprise Forum, Seattle Tech Startups, Seattle 2.0, Lunch 2.0, nPost, and media organizations like TechFlash and Xconomy. (And add to that the new entrepreneur training sessions from Founder Institute and TechStars.)

“Seattle needs something more educational,” Patel says.

To that end, the April 26 event will feature Entress and Sack—two of the best-known tech investors in town—talking about the crucial steps in how to raise capital from angel investors. They will cover only the most important aspects—including how to get to know potential investors. (Patel says all the deals he has invested in have been either with people he already knew or through his friends.) Attendance is limited to about 90 people, and the event will have an hour-long networking reception with food and an open bar.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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