Tech Cocktail, the technology-focused media organization, announced today that it has raised $2.5 million in its first round of funding. Provided by the Downtown Project, a Las Vegas initiative started by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, the funds will be used to help grow its team as it seeks to expand its coverage across the US and internationally.
Started back in 2006 by Frank Gruber and Eric Olson in Chicago, Tech Cocktail has played host to many different startups through its events and media coverage. It has hosted events in cities like Washington, DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and Las Vegas, where startups would be offered an opportunity to demo their products.
Gruber said in a blog post that some of the startups that have graced its stage have included companies like Groupon (who demoed as The Point), AddThis (as Clearspring), Foodspotting (acquired by OpenTable), Blue Sky Factory (acquired by WhatCounts), Socialthing (acquired by AOL), and Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library.
This round of funding is the first time Tech Cocktail has received new capital. For the past seven years, it has been a bootstrapped company.
Tech Cocktail was originally started in Chicago and has had an office in Washington, DC. About a year ago, it changed cities again, this time Las Vegas. Gruber says that the move was done to support the efforts of Hsieh and the Downtown Project to build a technology community in the area. The initiative was set up by Hsieh as a means to revitalize and grow downtown Las Vegas and it has a fund to help lure companies away from cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles to set up shop there.
Gruber says that since it received funding, Tech Cocktail has made some enhancements to its team. It hired VegasTech organizer Gabriel Shepard to manage business development and sales. Former HelloWallet Community Manager Justin Thorp has also joined to do a similar role.
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