When Be Great Partners founder and managing partner Lin Miao planted his incubator’s flag in Los Angeles a little more than two years ago, he had grand plans to turn it into a major player in the city’s burgeoning tech scene through a flurry of seed investments, glitzy networking parties and a string of co-working facilities.
But Miao hit a $150 million bump in the road a few months later when the Federal Trade Commission said the fortune he used to bankroll Be Great came as a result of a scam. Now, with its founder forced to liquidate his assets in the face of a massive judgment, Be Great has disappeared.
The company vacated its 21st-floor office at 5900 Wilshire Blvd. on Feb. 28, according to a spokeswoman for landlord Ratkovich Co. The Miracle Mile location housed its corporate office as well as a co-working facility that charged businesses $295 a month for workstations and other office amenities.
A second Be Great co-working space, on Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City, was even shorter-lived. After opening in December 2013 as the first of what was to be nine such facilities, Be Great vacated the site three months later, claiming it could no longer pay the rent.
One of Be Great’s stated goals was to bring Hollywood glamour and style to Silicon Beach, a community known for its casual and laid-back approach.
It frequently hosted lavish, open-bar parties that doubled as showcases for its startups and featured Hollywood club DJs, celebrities and entertainment industry investors. Many events took place at Be Great’s Wilshire office, while others were thrown on hotel rooftops, at a private mansion in the Hollywood Hills and on a yacht in Marina del Rey.
Yet despite launching a couple of well-regarded ventures, including Culver City’s Enplug and MeUndies as well as Oakland’s DealFlicks, Be Great was not around long enough to make much of an impact, and its apparent demise – its principals could not be reached for comment – was largely met with a shrug in the tech community.
Beyond parties, several Silicon Beach insiders said, Be Great brought little substance to the L.A. tech scene.
“Be Great was a great networking kind of organization,” said Dan Chen, managing director of tech investment banker Siemer & Associates in Santa Monica. “But as far as actually helping companies build startups, helping mentor them and nurture them, it was very lacking as a platform.”
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