I had the chance to attend the Twiistup 3 event last Wednesday, which took place in Venice, CA at “Air Conditioned.” For those who are unfamiliar with Twiistup, it’s a quarterly event thrown at a nightclub to showcase prominent tech start-ups in southern California. The hip venue, dim lights and flowing drinks establish Twiistup as a step removed from shirt-and-tie networking events thrown at your local Marriott (see pics below). The feel on Wednesday night was more “Hollywood” than “board room,” which is what makes Twiistup unique. And just like a true Hollywood style event, this one wouldn’t have been complete without celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (perezhilton.com) in attendance.

Here are the nine companies that were showcased:

• Askmenow – Mobile and desktop search platform, creators of askwiki
• Docstoc – Professional document sharing community (disclosure: I’m interning at Docstoc)
• Magento – eCommerce platform
• OfficeZilla – Create and manage your own private intranet
• PeopleJam – Social community focused on personal goals and empowerment
• Rubicon – Connects websites with over 300 advertising networks
• SpeedDate – Web-cam speed dating
• ThemBid – Allows businesses to bid for local jobs
• Yellowbot – Local reviews and recommendations

Since I spent most of my time at the Docstoc booth, I didn’t get a chance to look at every single company. Although out of the ones I did check out, I liked SpeedDate a lot. Once you login and click ready, you are instantly matched with another SpeedDate user and thrown into a video chat. The initial chat only lasts 30 seconds, after which you can click ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If you both click yes, then the conversation continues for 3 minutes. After your time’s up, you are both matched up with new people and the process starts again. By the way, if anyone is still skeptical about online dating, don’t be. Take a look at these statistics from Mark Penn’s 2007 book Microtrends:

  • 61% of online Americans do not consider online dating “desperate”
  • 1 in 4 single Americans who are looking for a romantic partner (about 16 million people) use an online dating site
  • In 2004, online dating sites netted roughly $470 million, up from $40 million in 2001
  • 92% of married couples who met online describe their marriage as “happy”

Of the two people that were presenting at the SpeedDate booth, the woman I spoke to was a promoter contracted to do publicity by the company. I’m not sure about the other guy, but it would have been more informative if the actual owners or members from the development team showed up. Regardless, the product looked cool and they were giving away free webcams at their booth. Score.

Webcams weren’t all that were being given away at the event. Perez helped give away three Rock Band videogame packages, which I desperately tried to win. Those couldn’t compare to the grand prize, though. Each attendee to Twiistup 3 was given a token to hand to their favorite showcase company, and whichever company had the most tokens at the end of the night was presented with free web hosting from Media Temple, a $5000 search campaign from Yahoo! Search Marketing, and a 1 on 1 consultation from Clearstone Venture Partners. The winner? Rubicon. Coincidentally, the company won’t have much use for the Clearstone consultation, as the VC firm were the ones who funded Rubicon for $4 million in a Series A round in October ‘07.

All in all the event was a success and lots of fun. I’m looking forward to Twiistup 4 and will be sure to make a post here for our SoCal readers as soon as the next event’s details become available.

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