Twiistup has given the L.A. tech community a place to see what the up-and-comers have on the front burners in an informal mixer environment. It was a part-time venture by Mike Macadaan, who was working at AOL when he started it in 2007. Now the event? going pro.

On May 12, an unnamed investor bought the event from Macadaan for an undisclosed sum and announced plans to expand its format and start Twiistup-like events in other cities. The sixth Twiistup will be staged by the new owners in Los Angeles this July.

Twiistup was primarily a showcase for as many as 10 startups that would demo their products for investors, tech executives and other industry players. Companies showcased in previous Twiistups include Web sites Mint.com, covering personal finance, and TotSpot.com, for parents and families.

The first Twiistup in 2007 attracted a couple of hundred people, and it? grown quickly. Twiistup 5, in February, was staged in a hangar at Santa Monica Airport and drew more than 1,000 attendees.

Francisco Dao, a local entrepreneur who will now be Twiistup? producer, said he wants to build on the mixer format, while expanding Twiistup? length from one evening to a day and a half. He also wants to weave in a speaker or two ?but not the usual executives who turn up at tech conferences. He? like to lure bigger names and people from other fields, such as entertainment.

??e been to a lot of tech conferences, and they?e just so boring,?Dao said. ?hy do I really want to see the COO of unknown startup.com??p>Dao said he would also try to bring Twiistup to other cities, such as Seattle and Houston. He also said London, or somewhere else in Europe, might be a possible host location as well.

Macadaan, who is vice president of product design at Internet startup Tsavo Media in Santa Monica and will now be a consultant to Twiistup, said he was pleased to see the event acquired because he felt he could no longer give it the proper attention.

?f it had stayed with me I wouldn? have been able to do it justice,?he said.

Fly Me to the Moon

NASA? decision to set aside millions of dollars to fund private spaceships capable of carrying astronauts could boost business for one local company.

That company is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, an aerospace startup in Hawthorne founded by Paypal millionaire Elon Musk. SpaceX has built a fleet of rockets capable of launching satellites into space and the government recently awarded the company a contract worth $1.6 billion to build 12 rockets that would help ferry supplies to the International Space Station.

But Musk has long entertained ambitions of putting astronauts into space in his private craft, and now he may get his shot. The newest budget for NASA, released earlier this month, designates $150 million for what the agency calls ?he development of commercial crew launch capabilities.?That means the agency could put out to bid contracts to build spacecraft for manned missions.

SpaceX executives said the company already has such a craft under development: the Dragon space capsule. The Dragon, which is under construction at SpaceX? massive factory and headquarters near the Glen Anderson (105) Freeway, would be mounted on a SpaceX rocket and could carry up to seven astronauts. The capsule will be equipped with heat shields and parachutes for its return to Earth.

It? almost certain NASA will eventually need some sort of private company to carry people into space. The space shuttle is set to retire in 2010 and NASA? replacement craft, the Orion space capsule, isn? scheduled for launch until 2014. In the interim, NASA will either have to contract with Russia to use its rockets or turn to private companies. SpaceX claims it? the only company with a capsule suitable for manned space missions.

In a statement released to the Business Journal, SpaceX said it is ?ncouraged by NASA? commercial crewed services initiative and we look forward to continuing to assist NASA in all of its efforts.?p> Slogan Spat

Who knew?

Newegg Inc., a local online electronics retailer, isn? happy about Kohl? Corp.? new slogan.

Newegg has sued Kohl?, the nationwide retail chain, over the slogan ?he More You Know, the More You Kohl?.?Newegg claims it infringes on Newegg? copyrighted slogan, ?nce you know, you Newegg.?The lawsuit was filed May 18 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, according to a statement from the company.

The City of Industry company is the second-largest online electronics retailer in the country, surpassed only by Amazon.com, with more than $2 billion in annual sales. Kohl? is a publicly traded retail chain that sells everything from electronics to clothing.

Kohl?, which is based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Newegg is seeking monetary damages for lost revenue and is asking Kohl? to change its slogan.

Staff reporter Charles Proctor can be reached at cproctor@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230.

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