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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.

Tech Cocktail Celebrate

Tech Cocktail Celebrate
If you are part of the Las Vegas tech startup community and haven’t heard about the Tech Cocktail Celebrate event, then you’re missing out. It’s happening October 6th and 7th in Downtown Las Vegas and brings together an amazing set of entrepreneurs and investors from across the country. You can still get tickets to the event here.

For those of you who don’t want to spring for tickets to the event, Tech Cocktail is still looking for some volunteers to help out at the event as well. Here are the details:

Tech Cocktail is looking for volunteers for Celebrate Conference, a two day conference with hundred of attendees: industry leaders, innovative startups, creative technologists, investors, community builders and inspiring speakers.

Volunteers are needed October 6 & 7th with a variety of shifts available so you can also enjoy the show. Sign up today!

I look forward to seeing many of you at Celebrate!

September 30, 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.

Two Great Vegas Startup Events

We try not to cover all of the events happening in Las Vegas startup world, because if we did the whole blog would be about various events happening around town. However, I saw these two events today and thought they were worth highlighting for readers who might not know about them.

CommunityCation Luncheon ft. Andrew Citores of JusCollege – For those who don’t know, the InNEVation Center has been holding their monthly CommunityCation lunches. At first I wasn’t sure if they were open only to members of the InNEVation center, but I’ve learned that they’re open to everyone and anyone who wants to attend. Check it out. Plus, who can argue with free lunch. Not to mention JusCollege is a pretty cool company.

Startup Grind Las Vegas Summer BBQ with Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel (Fatal1ty Gaming Gear) – If you’ve never been to a Startup Grind, then you’re missing out as well. Michael Terpin and company do a good job putting together these events. Plus, Fatal1ty has some of the best stories. I first knew him as the first professional gamer and I’m happy that Wikipedia backs that up. Jonathan (or Fatal1ty) should be a great interview.

Check out these events. I’m looking to attend both of them as well. Always lots to do any lots of ways to connect.

August 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.

The Las Vegas Startup Community Growth

When Rick and I first met to talk about startup companies in Las Vegas, we could list about 20 startup companies that we knew of in the city. We figured there were at least double that number that just didn’t know about. Either way, we projected about 40 tech startup companies in Las Vegas. Turns out that there were more than 40, but no one knew each other. All of the companies were just working in there own separate silos. We even started a startup company list (which is now woefully outdated) to list the companies we found.

What’s happened over the last 3 years to what we now affectionately call the Vegas Tech community is phenomenal. At the time Zappos and Switch were doing very little to support the tech startup community. In fact, no one really was. Obviously that’s completely different today with The Downtown Project and the Innevation center.

Although, what’s even more interesting to me is that there are enough startup companies in Las Vegas today that the Las Vegas startup community is a really interesting place to visit. There’s a breadth, depth and variety of companies available that certainly weren’t here before. Plus, there are some amazing venues to meet as well.

I think this is an amazing and wonderful transition. I do wonder if Vegas Tech has grown so big that in many ways we’re headed back into the past where the startup companies work largely in their own silos and don’t get out and connect with others in the startup community. In the beginning there was a real excitement in the air and nobody knew anyone. This made for a great dynamic where intros were easy and exciting.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the Vegas Tech community needs to grow, mature, and develop some awesome companies that are the pillars of the future. Although, a part of me wonders how we can recreate the intimacy and connectivity that we saw and felt in the early days. Maybe it can’t.

August 5, 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.

Nodebots Day and Sumo Competition – July 26, 2014

I just got word of a great new event that Las Vegas’ own hardware hackers, Pawel and Susan, are putting together a great event that brings together programmers and hardware hackers called Nodebots Day Las Vegas. The event is happening on Saturday July 26th and every one that’s interested is welcome to attend. The event is being sponsored by and held at Polulu Robotics.

Check out the following description of the event:

Nodebots Day, on 26th July 2014, is a hack day for javascript developers to get together and learn about hardware and build awesome robots with friends over pizza. You will teach yourself how to talk to arduino over serial, build things with popsicle sticks, rubber bands, electronics and have a great time!

Sounds like a fun time and a great way for you to get started with hardware hacking and cool things like 3D printing. Plus, who doesn’t love a good robot sumo competition? If you’ve never seen one, YouTube it and you’ll see what I mean.

July 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.

Free Registration for CES 2015

Each year we try to remind those from Vegas Startup companies about the free registration period for the International CES event in Las Vegas. CES just released the CES 2015 registration page for those who want to register. The free CES registration is only available to those in the consumer electronics industry, but considering the vastness that is CES that includes almost everyone in the Vegas Startup community.

For those not familiar with CES, it brings together some of the top technology people from around the world. It always happens at the start of January each year and this year it’s happening Jan 6-9, 2015. The event takes up all of the Las Vegas Convention Center, The LVH (formerly Las Vegas Hilton), The Sands Convention Center, the Venetian, and this year they’ve added ARIA as the new home for the branding and creative communities. Yes, the event is enormous.

The local #vegastech community usually has a number of events as well that we’ll point out as we get closer to CES. For now, just enjoy the friendly reminder to get your Free CES registration through August 31.

July 8, 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 Startup Company, Shift, Lands $10 Million in Funding

Many people reading this might be asking themselves, there’s a company called Shift in Las Vegas? Well, along with getting $10 million in funding, the company formerly known as Project 100 is now called Shift. The funding and the name change were announced in a blog post by Zach Ware, CEO of Shift. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement that describes where they’re headed with the $10 million:

To our soon-to-be-members we aim to be incredibly simple while the complexity of what we do rests in the hands of our team, behind the scenes. In our core service area, first in Las Vegas and soon in other cities, we will enable people to be on their way riding, driving or biking within five minutes. We’re combining small city cars, larger sedans, shuttles, bikes and more into a single monthly membership designed to remove your thoughts about cost as a factor in whether or not you should go somewhere. By the end of the year we will not only replace your car, but we’ll deliver so much more than your car could ever deliver. And we’ll be far more affordable than you might think.

The blog post also says that the $10MM Series A round was led by Tony Hsieh and that the company now has a team of 22 people.

Best of luck to Zach and the team at Shift as they work to change the way we think about transportation.

May 15, 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.

TiE Las Vegas Chapter Inaugural Event at Inspire Theater

A new entrepreneurial organization called TiE is coming to Las Vegas. TiE is the largest entrepreneurial organization in the world and Sunny Tara, Founder of docBeat, has worked hard to bring a chapter of the organization to Las Vegas.

The event is happening Wednesday night at the Inspire Theater. You can register for the event on Ticket Cake. All the details for the event are below. I hope to see many of you out there for the inaugural TiE Las Vegas event.

Join 25 leading Indian Tech Founders as they share with VegasTech the challenges and opportunities of building a start-up ecosystem in India. Both India and VegasTech are still in the “building” phase of their respective ecosystems.

The Agenda is designed to ensure highly interactive sessions intermixed with rich networking opportunities throughout the evening. We will seek to avoid formality and tedious presentations and bias towards sessions that are more intimate, peer-to-peer oriented and foster a highly engaged discussion.

Place: Inspire Theater
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Wed May 14
Age: 21+
(Please RSVP limited Capacity)

Agenda:
6:00pm – 6:15 pm Introduction of Nevada – India Business Development Council – by Kristopher Sanchez, Director of International Trade, State of Nevada, Governor’s Office of Economic Development
6:15-7:15 Panel Discussion + Q&A. Topic : Growing the Ecosystem – Rise of the Rest – India and Las Vegas
The panel is a good mix of Entrepreneurs / Leaders/ Investors that will share their perspectives on what it would take to grow the ecosystem and create big exits in India and Las Vegas
7:15 – 9:00pm – Drinks and Networking (Private 2nd floor bar at Inspire Theater)

If you haven’t been to the new Inspire Theater, this is your chance. With its state-of-the-art performance space, Wayfarer Bar, New Café and Private second floor bar, Inspire is a new place to see and be seen on East Fremont.

May 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.

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