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Tech Cocktail

About Tech Cocktail

Tech Cocktail is a media company and events organization for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts. Since 2006, its goal has been to amplify local tech communities and give entrepreneurs a place to get informed, get connected, and get inspired. Tech Cocktail dedicates itself to covering news, how-to’s, up-and-coming startups, and industry trends online, and hosting events in over 20 cities in the US and abroad.

From a simple community-building event, Tech Cocktail has transformed into a full-fledged media company with thousands of fans, followers, and supporters across the globe. Tech Cocktail has hosted local mixers, breakfasts, conferences, festivals, and other events around the country that have attracted thousands of attendees, educating entrepreneurs as they showcase their latest achievements and the local technology communities they live in.

Working with Tech Cocktail has helped startups find employees, co-founders, funding, and even acquirers. Tech Cocktail has hosted events in Chicago, DC, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Boulder, Austin, and more. A better informed, recognized, and connected tech community is possible through Tech Cocktail. Check out the full schedule of upcoming Tech Cocktail events.


The company was co-founded in 2006 by former Tribune and AOL product strategist, long-time tech blogger, and new media pioneer Frank Gruber and early Feedburner employee Eric Olson as a way to better and amplify the local Chicago tech startup scene. In 2010, after over three years as a passion project, Eric moved on to take on new endeavors and Frank teamed up with the leadership of expert technology producer and longtime AOLer Jen Consalvo as the company was reborn into a full-time media company.

Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo of Tech Cocktail

Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo of Tech Cocktail

Interested in writing for Tech Cocktail?

Do you have a love for technology and all the latest innovations? Do you love startups, social media, mobile apps or new marketing and the tips and tricks of entrepreneurship? Are you a content producing machine with a strong and distinct voice? We are always looking for solid content creators, so if you think you have what it takes and want to be published in front of an audience of tens of thousands of people across the globe, contact us – here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tech Cocktail Team

Frank Gruber

Frank Gruber

Founder, CEO, Executive Editor

Frank Gruber grew up in the Midwest heartland and is an entrepreneur, new media journalist and investor. He is the author of Startup Mixology: Tech Cocktail’s Guide To Building, Growing and Celebrating Startup Success published by Wiley. He co-founded Tech Cocktail in 2006, which has grown into a hub for the creative class, offering tech startup focused news, events, and resources. Frank currently is the CEO of Tech Cocktail.

Previously, Frank built and launched products for the masses while at AOL, Tribune and Classified Ventures along with startup efforts like Thankfulfor, Splog Reporter and more. As a journalist his works have been featured in a number of top media publications like TechCrunch, Fortune, HuffPo, etc. He was named by Forbes as one of the most connected people in tech. His alma maters include Purdue and Northwestern respectively. While living the startup life, he also enjoys swimming, strumming his guitar and/or ukulele, warm weather, beaches and sports – especially Chicago and DC teams.

Frank currently lives in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. but travels a lot as he circles the globe speaking, hosting events and helping entrepreneurs, startups and technology communities amplify their local technology signal.

You can find Frank Gruber online and on Twitter @FrankGruber or contact him by email at: frank [at] tech dot co. If you are reaching out to send us your news or to be featured on Tech Cocktail please fill out this form. Please send all sponsorship, partnership and advertising requests here.

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Jen Consalvo

Jen Consalvo

co-founder, coo

Jen Consalvo is Co-Founder and COO of the tech-focused media company, Tech Cocktail, as well as the Founder of Thankfulfor, an online gratitude journal community. She has worked in product development for over a decade, leading large and small teams in a range of product areas such as digital imaging, community & social platforms and personalization. The majority of her career was at AOL, planning and building products used by millions of people globally.

Her deep network across the global technology community enabled her to introduce many entrepreneurs to AOL resulting in interesting new relationships and in some cases, multi-million dollar acquisitions. The most enjoyable part of her role was working together to find areas of potential partnership with these young companies.

Consalvo is also co-producer of Digital Capital Week (@DCWEEK), a week-long festival in Washington DC focused on technology, innovation and all things digital in our nation’s capital.

Jen was named a 2011 and 2013 Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine, was featured in DC Modern Luxury Magazine in “The Smart Set”, in the Washington Post cover story “Digital Nomads Choose Their Tribes” and also in the Huffington Post story “What is Work? Cutting Yourself Free With Heart“. Over the past few years, Jen’s products have been featured in such places as WashingtonPost, TechCrunch, CNET, Mashable and more.

Outside of the tech world, photography, travel and health are her passions.  Jen’s photography has been published in several publications and her book, Love Your Photos: A Simple Guide To Photographic Happiness is available for download.

You can find Jen on Twitter @noreaster or contact her by email at: jen [at] tech dot co. If you are reaching out to send us your news or to be featured on Tech Cocktail please fill out this form. Please send all sponsorship, partnership and advertising requests here.

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Julia ‘Labandz’ Fischer

Director of Events & Operations

Julia Labandz Fischer is a Chicago based events planner and designer; known as an artistic visionary for her passion and ability to create a truly memorable occasion. She began her career while living in San Diego, working for Fortune 500 company, Yahoo!, in the Search Marketing Sales Technology division, where she perfected her entrepreneurial skills and sales techniques in the professional world.  During her free time, she volunteered at Urban Kitchen Catering.  It was working there that cemented her love for event planning.  In 2007, Julia studied Food and Beverage Management at Kendall College and obtained in- depth industry knowledge concerning the most efficient ways to conceive, organize and execute special events, corporate receptions, lavish galas and charity functions.  She also acquired insight on maintaining event budgets, site transformation, menu proposals, and creating a custom designed event experience.

As Tech Cocktail’s Event Coordinator, Julia assists in creating events that showcase the technological contributions from up and coming as well as established professionals; offering the latest in community- powered projects, technology news, events, and information. Julia’s devotion to harmonizing her extensive special events knowledge, impeccable style, and attention to detail, ensures that each event will be a successful and worry free affair.

You can contact Julia by email at: julia [at] techcocktail dot com. If you are looking for event promotions please contact us here. Please send all sponsorship, partnership and advertising requests here.

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Ann Diab

Editor and Community Marketing

Ann Diab is the Editor of Tech Cocktail. She is proud to call Las Vegas home, and has been involved in the launching and nurturing of startups and tech companies in Vegas for over 15 years.

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Kimberly Blackburn

Kimberly Blackburn

Events Coordinator
As the Event Coordinator for Tech Cocktail, Kimberly Blackburn fulfills her passion for entrepreneurship and desire to help connect and foster the entrepreneurship world through creating memorable and constructive networking events. Kimberly is based out of Washington DC and in addition to her role as event coordinator she likes to consider herself a permanent tourist.
Prior to her role as Events Coordinator at Tech Cocktail, Kimberly also worked as the Marketing and Training Coordinator for the Maryland Small Business Development Center. At the SBDC she coordinated over 100 training workshops a year for small businesses in the DC Metro area. She also has the opportunity to work as the Events Director for an angel investor group called the Washington DC Archangels, helping to plan their monthly meetings and workshops for companies all across the country.
Previously she was the Event Coordinator at Lendio, Inc., a financial services company in Salt Lake City, where she coordinated 80+ networking and pitching events for investors and entrepreneurs across the U.S. Kimberly is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BYU) with a Bachelors degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.  At BYU she helped found two successful businesses as well implement a sustainable business model for a local orphanage in Ghana.
Besides her passion for entrepreneurship, Kimberly loves trying new things in the kitchen, traveling pretty much anywhere and getting in touch with her crafty side. You can contact Kimberly by email at: kimblackburn [at] tech dot com. If you are looking for event promotions please contact us here. Please send all sponsorship, partnership and advertising requests here.

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Mollie Andrade

Office & Event Ninja

Mollie Andrade is Tech Cocktail’s Las Vegas Office and Event Ninja. She comes to us via California and Rhode Island. She has a BS degree in Communication Studies from New England College. Mollie has held positions as a veterinarian assistant and park ranger, which uniquely qualifies her for assisting with Tech Cocktail events. She is a fine artist who experiments in all media, with a current fondness for radical Instagram pictures. In between tending to Wolfgang, Jen and Frank, she is coordinator of Las Vegas Tech Cocktail events and can be found herding the faithful startup cats around Fremont Street.

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Kira M. Newman

Kira Newman

Senior Writer

Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in startups, innovation, and new trends. In 2012, she returned from a 6-month whirlwind tour of Asia, where she met tons of welcoming, inspiring, and infectiously passionate entrepreneurs. Follow her @kiramnewman.

Kira has been published in the Huffington Post,, The New Individualist, and She previously worked as an editor at the American Enterprise Institute in DC.

In college, Kira spent a semester in Paris, where she nurtured her love of the French language and baguettes. When she’s not discussing ideas over coffee, Kira can also be found swing dancing.

You can contact Kira at kira [at] techcocktail [dot] com. But if you are reaching out to send us your news or to be featured on Tech Cocktail please fill out this form.

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Marketing and Events Manager

Fran Rugo

Marketing and Events Manager

Fran Rugo is also a Chicago based Tech Cocktail Marketing and Events Manager. She shares a passion for the ultimate event experience from creative marketing to a unique event set-up, from start to finish, she loves it all. Fran attended DePaul University where she majored in Communication and Media Studies. At Tech Cocktail, Fran helps manage the planning and execution of events, event promotion and all marketing aspects, the ambassador program, industry event postings, and many other fun things! Fran’s love for events and marketing are always accompanied with a positive attitude and a big smile to ensure that everyone, including the Tech Cocktail team, the attendees, and the vendors all have a great experience!

Prior to Tech Cocktail, Fran worked at DePaul University’s Student Leadership Institute where she managed all office marketing, helped manage and mentor student leaders, created a Ted Talk Tuesday program for students and coordinated a leadership program for undergraduate students. Fran has had experience planning and marketing university-wide events that involved over 1,400 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. She was also involved in the planning of the first city-wide Chicago Public School and DePaul University Peace Rally where over 1,000 youth of Chicago and the DePaul community came together to promote peace and non-violence in Chicago.

In her free time she enjoys the practice of yoga, running, training for half marathons and triathlons, traveling, exploring all The Windy City (Chicago) has to offer, blogging, live music and brunch on Sundays. You can contact Fran by email at: fran [at] techcocktail dot com or follow her @FranRugo. If you are looking for event promotions please contact us here. Please send all sponsorship, partnership and advertising requests here.

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Camila Souza

Writer and Community Manager

Camila is a writer and community manager for Tech Cocktail in Miami. She has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she co-founded a communication strategy company called pFunk Media. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

Follow her @cfunk305

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Ronald Barba

Associate Writer, Reporter

Ronald Barba is an associate writer and reporter for Tech Cocktail. Formerly a DC native, he’s now based in New York City. He reports on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, looking at startup communities like Boston, Chicago, D.C., and NYC. He’s especially interested in venture capital, M&As, and tech/business trends.

Aside from startups, Ronald is interested in philosophy, cognitive science, politics, social justice, pop culture, and all things geek. He reads Murakami and Barthes, and alternates binge watch sessions of ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Mindy Project’.

Got something to say? Then email me (
Follow me on Twitter: @RonaldPBarba.
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