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LaunchKey Raises $3 Million

Who says you can’t get a startup funded in Las Vegas? TechCocktail just announced another $3 million in funding for Vegas Startup company, LaunchKey. Here’s the details of the new investment:

After previously raising $750,000 from the VegasTechFund, Kima Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and Prolific VC, LaunchKey announces that this venture round was led by Metamorphic Ventures with participation from ENIAC Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Pantera Capital, Rimrock Venture Partners, VegasTechFund, and others. LaunchKey has raised $4 million to date, and will use the new funding to expand its team and bring LaunchKey to market in 2015.

Congrats to the LaunchKey team! Always great to see more Las Vegas startup companies successfully raising money.

Best of luck to LaunchKey as they work to eliminate passwords.

December 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Vegas Tech Company, Wedgies, Raises $700k

A big congratulations to the Wedgies team! This brings Wedgies total funding to $1.2 million and adds Greycroft Partners, VegasTechFund, KBS+ Ventures, and Battle Born Venture to their list of investors. I’m excited to see Battle Born Venture investing locally in Vegas Tech. Plus, the Tech Cocktail article on the funding says in 2014 Wedgies has powered polling across 10 million pages and 2 million voters a month.

In case you’re wondering, Wedgies is hiring:

Plus, a post about the funding of Wedgies wouldn’t seem appropriate without embedding a Wedgie of our own:

December 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Startup Weekend Las Vegas “Family Portrait”

Nice work Rolf Juario capturing Startup Weekend Las Vegas. People don’t realize how much of a family has come together in #VegasTech thanks to Startup Weekend. Although, the thing I love most about this “Family Portrait” is that the family keeps getting bigger and bigger. There are new faces every time Startup Weekend Las Vegas is held. Nice work to all the organizers!

November 24, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

WordCamp Las Vegas, New Python User Group, and Other Meetups

As a blogger, I’m a big time user of WordPress. All of my blogs run on WordPress and it’s been an excellent platform for me to build my business. If you use WordPress in your business, you might want to check out WordCamp Las Vegas. It’s happening December 13-14 at the InNEVation Center. They’ve posted the lineup of speakers and registration is open, but will likely sell out. I’m honored to be speaking at this year’s event on the Next Generation Monetization Opportunities for WordPress bloggers. I’ll be talking about the shift towards sponsored content and how to offer an amazing integrated marketing package.

Yes, my presentation isn’t all WordPress, but this year WordCamp has created two tracks: developers and business. I’ve wanted them to do this for a while, so I’m glad they’re focusing the business track on the users of WordPress as opposed to just those who develop with it. Not that I have anything wrong with the developers of WordPress. I just always felt like WordCamp should cater to both audiences. Looks like it will be another great event.

I also got word of a new Python User Group that’s being organized by the people at Checkio. The first meetup is happening Dec 2nd at Work in Progress. Here are the details for the meetup (yes, they did say Beer and Pizza!):

Hi Vegas Pythonistas,

We’re organizing a first Las Vegas Python Meetup. We want to invite you to meet other cool coders, talk the talk and have some beer with pizza. It will be totally casual meetup to see how often we all want to keep having such events and what we want to do.

This first event will take place on December 2nd at Work in Progress (317 S 6th St, Las Vegas, NV 89101) at 6pm. Join us to meet other Python developers and hear the latest coding news :)

See more details and RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/lvpython/events/218691230/

It’s been really amazing to me to see the number of meetups and user groups explode over the last 4 years of doing this blog. What started with the Vegas Jelly every other week has led to more events than a single person can attend. Plus, the events have started to specialize which I think is a good thing.

If you want to see what I mean, check out the November InNEVation Center Meetup schedule and the Work in Progress Calendar to see just a few. Now the real challenge is choosing which events to attend. That’s a good problem to have and a real maturing of the Vegas Tech community.

November 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Vegas Tech Company, Full Spectrum Laser, Raises $10 million

The Buffalo News is reporting that Summer Street Capital has made a $10 million investment in Las Vegas tech Startup company, Full Spectrum Laster. Here’s the note from the article:

Summer Street Capital, a Buffalo-based private equity fund, has made a $10 million investment in Full Spectrum Laser, a Las Vegas, Nev.-based laser and 3D printer engineering and manufacturing company.

The company said it would accelerate development of its next-generation, affordable laser cutting/engraving and 3D printing platforms to capitalize on market demand.

Congrats to Full Spectrum Laser on the funding! It’s great having you as part of the Las Vegas tech startup community. We’re looking forward to seeing your success in the growing 3D printing space.

November 12, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

AWS re:Invent Marketing Meetup at Lavo

The big AWS re:Invent conference is coming to Las Vegas. As is often, the case, it’s a great opportunity for the Las Vegas tech startup community to connect with some of the leading tech businesses. Do you have any plans for AWS re:Invent?

I was also contacted by Laura Crow from JumpCloud about doing an evening meetup that was focused on tech marketers. I was so busy that I couldn’t help her in the planning, but like a true startup personality, Laura put together the AWS re:Invent Marketing Meetup at Lavo.

If you’re a marketing person at a tech startup company or a marketing minded CEO, you can join Laura and other marketing minded professionals to share marketing stories and talk about AWS re:Invent. Just sign up for the event on Meetup.

It looks like she’s still evaluating the exact time for the meetup (might be 6 PM, or later at 7:30). Laura will update the meetup with the final time. I’m going to try and make it as well.

November 9, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Take Part in Startup Weekend Vegas 2014

The following is a guest blog post by Claudia Perez, Organizer of Startup Weekend Las Vegas.

Startup Weekend Vegas 2014 (Nov. 21-23) at the Innevation Center is just three weeks away and it’s time you jumped in. Startup Weekend (SW) is a rare opportunity to try your hand at launching a startup in a supportive environment with other “hustlers, hackers, and hipsters”. If you’re thinking about registering, here are the top 5 reasons why you should be there:
 

1. Expand Your Network
Entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and marketers will be there and you’ll want to connect with them. Local tech and startup leaders will be at Startup Weekend as mentors and judges.  Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in Las Vegas.  Just look at our judging panel, it’s made up of four investors and two successful entrepreneurs. Plus, Startup Weekend is a great way to show off your skills and meet awesome talent in the community.

2. Re-Energize
Free your mind off the daily routine and feel inspired by working on a fast paced project or idea for the weekend. At Startup Weekend attendees are excited to participate, work, and to help others create something great.

3. Work Outside of Your Comfort
“If you’re curious to test the waters as a front-end or backend developer for apps or websites, or if you have a skill for sales communication that you’d like to sharpen, this is the perfect opportunity to dabble. Startup Weekend is a learning environment and there are always people of different skill levels in attendance. Those attending with more experience are happy to teach others and give advice.” -Jaclyn Hudak, Ready Maker Design @JaclynHudak

4. Challenge Yourself
Are you an expert in website design and want to learn app development? Is there an area of design that you wish you had more experience in? Whether it’s creating apps, websites, logos, or marketing, you can join a team who needs you to create something quickly; a great way to challenge yourself and build new skills without the pressure to be absolutely perfect.

5. Build A Business
“The bottom line is that Startup Weekend is the best place to launch a startup. If you’ve had an idea in your head but haven’t done anything about it, there’s no better event to get started. You’ll be surrounded by really smart and driven people who want to work together on building something from the ground up. Maybe you’ll work on your idea, or maybe someone else’s idea will pique your interest. Startup Weekend is the place to validate a business idea, build a product and launch a startup in just 54 hours.” – Mike Chan, Co-founder of Ribl @mikewchan

Buy your tickets now here: http://lasvegas.startupweekend.org

November 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Uber Starts Service in Las Vegas

Update: ABC News is reporting that a court has ordered Uber to stop offering rides. No doubt this is the start of a long fight between Uber and the Taxi Authority.

Back in April 2012, we were asked by Uber to post a few Uber Las Vegas job positions for them. It’s taken about 2.5 years for Uber to finally make the plunge and announce their Uber Las Vegas service which starts today. I believe this is great news for Las Vegas even if the Taxi Authority feels otherwise.

I think this quote from an RJ article describes well the demand for Uber in Las Vegas:

Justin Kintz, Uber’s head of public policy, said in the past 45 days, 50,000 people have opened the Uber app on their smartphones in Southern Nevada, an indication, he said, that the market is prime for the company that refers to itself as a technology company and not a transportation operation.

If I understand this correctly, in 45 days the Uber app was opened by 50,000 people who then had to find a different mode of transportation. That’s pretty amazing, but not really surprising. Uber is in over 200 cities and many of those users are coming to Las Vegas for conferences and want to have a similar Uber experience to what they have at home. No wonder the Taxi companies are so worried.

One thing is a little unfortunate. As part of the Uber Las Vegas roll out, Uber drivers will not be able to pick up customers on the Las Vegas strip hotels or at McCarran International Airport but will be able to drop off passengers at those locations. Uber is still trying to work out the logistics of pickup at these locations. I’ll be interested to see how this evolves.

I’m also interested to see Uber users react to surge pricing during major conferences like CES. Can you imagine how much you’ll have to pay for an Uber during CES which is chock full of Uber users? Although, we’ll see how much Uber can do during an event like CES. I’m pretty sure CES isn’t going to create a special Uber pickup and drop off line and traffic during CES is insane.

I’m excited to have Uber in Las Vegas. I know many in the Las Vegas tech startup community and those visiting us will love having the service available. Plus, Uber says that their rates are generally 10 percent to 20 percent below taxi rates.

If you’ve never tried Uber (in Las Vegas or another city), you can sign up and get your first ride free(up to $30).

October 24, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Where Are We At with Vegas Tech and Downtown Project?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few weeks, but work’s been busy. Yep. That’s right. There are a lot of people working at Las Vegas startup companies that are too busy to fret over some misguided reports about what’s happening (or not happening) with the Downtown Project and in many regards the larger Vegas Tech community. However, as someone who could live anywhere in the world, but has chose to make Las Vegas my home, I’m very interested in the discussion.

I won’t recap here all that went down. In case you missed the flare up, check out Mike Yoder’s nice summary and also the statement from Downtown Project. That should give you a pretty good summary. The facts are that Downtown Project laid off 30 people or about 10% of the Downtown project staff and Tony still has the same role he’s always had in Downtown Project. Layoffs are never fun at any company and is a huge deal for those 30 people. My heart goes out to those individuals, but it’s hardly a sign that Downtown Project is over/failing or whatever other verb you prefer.

First, Downtown Project scaled so quickly, that there’s little doubt that there were some bad hires, bad fits, or some hires that aren’t needed as the project evolves. This is especially true when you think of Downtown Project as a collection of over 300 companies and legal entities. Plus, none of those layoffs were from the 100+ (I lose track of their actual number) tech startup companies that come from the $50 million Vegas Tech Fund. All in all, there really isn’t that much of a story here. Downtown Project is still on the same trajectory it’s always been on. However, I can see how an outsider media member might not understand the entire context of what’s happening.

However, the thing the media people seem to miss is that there’s a whole lot more to the Las Vegas startup community than just the Downtown Project. Sure, Tony Hsieh is the only one in the Vegas Startup community that can get on 60 Minutes (and he should get whatever exposure for Vegas that he can get), but that’s not to say that there’s not a number of interesting companies and people with no real relationship to Downtown Project doing business in Las Vegas. In fact, I’d suggest that some of the most interesting companies in Las Vegas have no ties to Downtown Project. One day, the media will discover this as well.

Plus, it’s worth noting that Downtown Project together with a variety of other factors have literally brought together a startup community in Las Vegas from nothing. I know first hand since I quit my day job to start my first company back in 2010, a full 2 years before Downtown Project even existed. I’d done my Masters at UNLV. I’d been to all the local tech meetings. In 2010, there was no tech startup community for me to look to for my new company. There were a few tech startup companies, but literally no community.

In 2011 (6+ months before Downtown Project), Rick Duggan and I started this blog to try and do something to bring together the Las Vegas startup community. We knew of 20 startup companies and figured there had to be at least 20 more that we just didn’t yet know about. Boy were we wrong. We’ve now lost count of companies, but there are hundreds of tech startup companies in Las Vegas.

However, the number of companies really doesn’t matter. Maybe there have been hundreds of tech startup companies in Las Vegas all along. What we discovered was that none of these companies knew each other, supported each other or worked together. The first Startup Weekend Las Vegas (Side note: the 8th Startup Weekend Las Vegas is happening next month), the Vegas Jelly, and the #vegastech hashtag started bringing the tech startup community together in a really extraordinary way.

Now, hundreds of startup companies and thousands of startup company employees interact, support, and help each other. That didn’t exist in 2010 in Las Vegas, but it does now. Tony Hsieh’s $350 million Downtown Project has just thrown gas on the already burning fire. The Supernap’s InNEVation Center has contributed the same. Now the fire has spread and the Las Vegas Startup community isn’t dependent on either organization. However, I don’t expect either the Downtown Project or the InNEVation Center to stop what they’re doing anytime soon. They’ll both keep contributing in a big way.

That’s not to say that the Las Vegas startup community is out of the woods. I’m not saying we couldn’t take a step back. We definitely will takes steps forward and backwards. There are cycles that we’re certain to see. Not to mention we could benefit from more outside investment. We could use some nice acquisitions from landmark companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, that are big enough that they leave the company in Las Vegas.

We’ve had a number of “singles” and “doubles” as far as exits, but the startup community will really benefit from some much larger exits that will fund the next generation of startup companies. We haven’t had that yet, but that will take some time to build. We also need to do a much better job engaging the wealth in the broader Las Vegas business community. Not to mention, we need to work to develop the entrepreneurial culture in our high schools and colleges. Although, those present tremendous opportunities considering we haven’t had their support and we’ve already made it this far.

Who knows if Downtown Project is going to be a success or a failure for Tony Hsieh and his other investors. It’s already 300 investments in including $200 million in real estate. I think they’ll turn out just fine. However, regardless of what happens to the Downtown Project, the Las Vegas tech startup community is 100 or maybe even 1000 times better today than it was before Downtown Project was started. Some of that was thanks to Downtown Project, but a lot of it happened totally separate.

Even if Downtown Project were to close its doors today (which it’s not even close to), the Las Vegas startup community would continue to thrive. Those who’ve only taken the Tony Hsieh tour of Las Vegas won’t understand that, but those of us who’ve lived the change know that a community is much more than an area of downtown and its most visible member.

The 20 year outlook for the Las Vegas startup community is very bright. I’m excited to be a part of it.

October 23, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

Rumgr Acquired by eBay – What’s It Mean for VegasTech?

This month we officially heard news that Vegas Tech startup company Rumgr had been acquired by eBay. This seems to be a really great outcome for Rumgr which started at the very first Startup Weekend Las Vegas. I still consider the first Startup Weekend Las Vegas as the kick off of what we now call #VegasTech. As one of the 4 organizers of the first startup weekend, I’m extremely happy that a company started at Startup Weekend Las Vegas was able to create enough value that they would be acquired by eBay. Props to Dylan Bathurst and Alex Coleman for making it happen.

At the recent Tech Cocktail Celebrate event, there was some discussion about whether Rumgr leaving Las Vegas to go and work at eBay was a bad sign for the Las Vegas startup community. People also like to point out companies like Romotive that have left Las Vegas to the valley as a bad sign for the Las Vegas startup community.

Personally, I think that acquisitions like what happened to Rumgr are fantastic for the Vegas Startup community long term. First, it shows that a startup company from Las Vegas can have a successful exit and is attractive to a silicon valley company. Second, when Rumgr’s employees are in the Valley, they’ll be evangelizing Las Vegas to everyone they meet. No doubt many they meet will ask them how a startup from Las Vegas had a successful exit to eBay when startup companies in the valley haven’t been able to get that exit. That’s a great thing for the Las Vegas startup community.

Plus, you can be sure that many startup companies in the valley will ask Rumgr what made Vegas unique for startups. What better for the Las Vegas startup community than to have Las Vegas startup community evangelists in the valley telling people about what’s happening here.

Not to mention, we shouldn’t be surprised if and when some of the Rumgr employees finish their earn outs and move back to Vegas. This is certainly not what the acquiring company wants to hear, but it’s natural for a startup company’s employees to do the earn out and then start something new. No doubt Rumgr employees will consider doing it again in Vegas. In fact, they’ll likely bring their new friends and colleagues from the Valley with them.

This is a great win for the Vegas Tech community in the long term. In the short term, yeah we’re going to miss having the Rumgr Founders and employees around the community. However, our short term loss is going to be a long term gain for the community. Congrats to Dylan, Alex and the whole Rumgr team!

October 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 electronic medical record and health IT blogs. He also founded the Pure TV Network of blogs. John recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. As part of the Las Vegas Tech startup community, John helped organize the highly successful inaugural Startup Weekend Las Vegas. He's also been a strong supporter of the Vegas Tech community including co-founding the VegasStartups.com blog. John is highly involved in social media, and can be found on Twitter: @techguy and Google Plus.

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