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Vegas Startup of the Year and The Mill Applications

I wish we had more time to write about what’s happening in the Las Vegas startup community. Sadly, Rick and I have both been heads down in our own startups. Needless to say, there are a lot of great things happening in Las Vegas that we just haven’t had time to cover. Hopefully you’re all watching the #vegastech hashtag to see most of the latest news.

With that disclaimer, we did want to make the community aware of two deadlines coming up in July. First, if you want to participate in Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Competition, Las Vegas startups can apply today for the Las Vegas Startup of the Year competition on July 23rd. See the tweet below for more details:

Also, The Mill, a Las Vegas startup accelerator, is accepting applications for their Fall Cohort until July 6th. Find the details in the tweet below:

July 1, 2015 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.

My Guide to Visiting the #VegasTech Startup Community

One of the most common questions we get here at Vegas Startups goes something like this “I’m coming to Las Vegas, can you connect me to what’s happening in the Vegas Startup Community.” Sometimes they have variations like asking us to introduce them to startup companies or startup founders, but the concept is generally the same. They’re in Las Vegas, and they want to check out/hang out with/learn about the Las Vegas startups and the Las Vegas startup community while they’re here.

With this in mind, I thought I’d create what I consider my guide to getting to know the Las Vegas startup community. Plus, I had a couple guys from Brazil that I promised I’d help get to know the Vegas Startup community since they were planning a visit. So, this is inspired by my Brazilian startup friends (or soon to be friends).

There are two main centers of startup activity in Las Vegas: Downtown Las Vegas (Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project is the core of this) and the InNEVation Center (Switch/Supernap is behind this). Visiting both of these communities will give you a good feel for the Las Vegas startup community. Then, along with these communities you have a wide variety of startup companies throughout the Las Vegas valley.

Now for some more specifics on these two hubs of the Las Vegas startup community and a few other resources to help you with a visit to Las Vegas:

InNEVation Center
The InNEVation center is Rob Roy’s (Founder of Switch) “gift” the community. It really is an amazing asset in the Las Vegas startup community. The InNEVation center is this really unique mix of co-working, a great meeting venue, and office space for Las Vegas tech companies.

If you reach out to the InNEVation Center, they should be able to schedule you a tour of the space. It’s a really unique venue that makes for a great tour. Otherwise, you can also check out the InNEVation Center blog to see some of the latest happenings. Each month they host a CommunityCation Luncheon which is great and they also list a wide variety of meetups every month. Attending one of those meetups is another great way to meet the community.

Behind the InNEVation Center is a company called Supernap (Switch). If you’re looking for a data center option for your company, getting a tour of the Supernap should be on your list of things to do in Las Vegas. It’s an amazing experience (at least for a data center and tech geek like me).

Downtown Project – Downtown Vegas
The Downtown Project is Tony Hsieh’s (CEO of Zappos) $350 million investment in downtown. As of this post, the project consists of over 300 businesses that span the spectrum of tech startup companies, restaurants, venues, healthcare, education, and even a supermarket.

With that said, it’s hard to summarize everything that’s going on in Downtown Las Vegas that might interest you. However, you might start with a Tour of Zappos and Downtown. They have a number of options if you want someone to kind of introduce you to the area.

If you’d like to do your own tour of Downtown, I’d suggest you stop by the co-working space Work In Progress and then spend some time enjoying The Beat Coffee Shop, The Gold Spike, and Downtown Container Park. For a more specialized experience, you can check out Stitch Factory (Fashion), SYN Shop (Hacker Space), or Turntable Health (Healthcare).

As for tech startup investments and funding in Downtown Vegas, you’ll want to check out the Vegas Tech Fund and also the The Mill. The later includes an Idea Accelerator and a Startup Accelerator.

Regular Events
Community Dinners – Happens Every Wednesday night at 6 in various locations in Downtown Las Vegas. Organized by @WorkInProgress, so check with them for the latest details.

InNEVation Center Meetups – More meetups than we can keep track of.

Downtown Podcast – Happens Every Thursday Night at 9 PM. It started with a little more tech focus, but has lately been more Downtown Las Vegas focused. Still a fun event where you can meet people Downtown.

Tech Cocktail Week – Las Vegas – Usually happens the 2nd week of the month (Wed-Sat) in various locations in Downtown Las Vegas. Organized by @TechCocktailLV, so check with them for the latest details.

#VegasTech Hashtag
One of the very best ways to connect with the Vegas Tech startup community is to use the #vegastech hashtag on Twitter. The community really connects and rallies around that hashtag. A large portion of the community monitor it regularly and it’s a great way for you to connect with people in the Vegas Tech community. Feel free to post a message that you’re in town and who you’d like to meet. The community is likely to respond or connect you to the right person/company.

Vegas Tech Companies
Along with our own list of Las Vegas startup companies (which continually needs updating), there are a number of other places that have lists of Vegas Startup companies. Unfortunately, none of them are comprehensive. In fact, I don’t think all of these lists combined together would be comprehensive since the community is growing in such a dynamic way. However, it should give you a start when identifying startup companies in Las Vegas that could be of interest to you during your visit:
Vegas Startups Company List
Vegas Tech Funded Companies
InNEVation Companies
Work In Progress Companies
Vegas Tech Map
Vegas Valley Angels

Conclusion
Hopefully this gives you a small taste of what’s happening in the Las Vegas startup community and where you should go if you’re ever visiting Las Vegas. No doubt there is a lot more happening than’s described in this post. Plus, I expect it to be out of date tomorrow as things are constantly changing. That’s the fun of being in such a vibrant and exciting startup community. The comments on the post are open if someone in the community wants to highlight something I’ve missed.

February 6, 2015 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.

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.

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.

SXSW V2V Showcases #VegasTech

This week Las Vegas has the amazing opportunity to host SXSW V2V. Most people are familiar with the original SXSW conference in Austin which brings together a huge tech community (SXSW Interactive), music (SXSW Music) and film (SXSW Film). In fact, the SXSW interactive had grown so large that it literally had outgrown the city of Austin.

SXSW V2V was created hopefully as a partial release valve for the tremendous growth of SXSW interactive. Certainly SXSW interactive will still continue to happen in Austin, but the organizers of SXSW wanted to find a way to expand what they could do to help the innovator and startup community. Considering Austin’s challenges with hosting a big conference it made logical sense why SXSW would turn to Las Vegas for their expansion. Plus, the expansion married perfectly with the amazing growth of the Vegas Tech startup community. Oh the serendipity of it all.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how well the SXSW V2V event would showcase what was happening with the Tech Community in Las Vegas. A day and a half into the event and I’m very happy with how well SXSW V2V has showcased what’s happening in Las Vegas.

The Vegas Tech startup showcase was certainly headlined by the Tony Hsieh keynote where he asked, “How many chances do you get to shape the future of a city?” Although, I expect the more powerful impact will come from the interactions with hundreds of Vegas Tech entrepreneurs I’ve seen scattered throughout SXSW V2V. Whether it’s Scott Allison from Teamly and Andrew Crump from Bluefields together with Representative Joe Heck talking about the broken immigration system or the Vegas native Maren Donovan from Zirtual talking crowdsourcing and outsourcing on their respective panels, the Vegas Startup community was well placed throughout the SXSW V2V programming. The Startup Spotlight Showcase also included many Vegas companies including: Cubby Road, ALICE Receptionist, and Tracky. Plus, how beautiful was it to see the Gold Spike filled to capacity with startup companies and innovators? I even saw a number of Vegas Startup companies at the evening event that couldn’t afford to attend the full SXSW V2V and didn’t realize they could volunteer.

Much credit goes to Christine Auten and Hugh Forrest, organizers of SXSW, for reaching out to the Vegas community over a year ago to make sure that the community was well represented and integrated into the event. Hopefully we’ve been able to support their efforts as much as they’ve worked to support our community.

Of course, there’s still a day and a half left of SXSW V2V, but I can already say that it’s been a huge success for Las Vegas. I don’t think that Vegas itself could have planned a better showcase event for what’s happening in the Las Vegas tech community.

I look forward to many more years of growth together with SXSW V2V.

August 13, 2013 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 Won’t Ever Be As Good As Silicon Valley and That’s Ok

Over and over I hear people asking whether it’s better to start a company in Las Vegas than it is to start a company in Silicon Valley (or any other city you might prefer). I personally don’t think about this question very much. To me, the comparison really doesn’t matter too much. I love being in Las Vegas and I’m planning to be here and part of the Vegas Tech startup community for the next 20 years.

Instead of asking if Las Vegas is better than somewhere, I like to ask: Can you build a great startup company in Las Vegas?

The simple answer is an emphatic answer: YES!

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter whether one city is better than another for building a startup. There are pros and cons to every locale and entrepreneurs face some of the same challenges no matter where they live. Let’s just say that all of those other startup cities you can think of are better than Las Vegas: who cares? Whether they’re better or not, doesn’t change the fact that you can build a great company in Las Vegas if that’s where you want to build a great company.

Think about all the great companies that started before there was what we now call Silicon Valley? I imagine there were better places to start their company at the time too, but it didn’t matter. They were successful just the same. Startup companies in Las Vegas can do that too.

Regardless of the possible comparisons, it’s an exciting time to be part of the Las Vegas startup community. I look forward to looking back 20 years from now and being amazed at the companies that have made up the Vegas Tech startup community. Then, we’ll start working on the next 20 years. Regardless of the specific results, it will be a fun ride so strap in.

August 9, 2013 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, SXSW V2V and Other Vegas Startup Events

We’ve got a whole slew of great Vegas Tech startup events happening in the beginning of August. I know it’s hard for many people to keep up with all of the various Vegas Tech events that are happening. It’s a really dynamic time to be part of the community. Plus, many of the events get announced just a few days before the event. With that said, I wanted to point out a couple of the exciting events coming up. Events like these is what makes the Vegas Tech startup community so great.

A few of the events (in order of occurrence):
Downtown Speaker Series – There are two great speakers lined up for Friday and Saturday this week. On Friday they have the legendary magician David Copperfield speaking. On Saturday they have Jane Poynter speaking. While the name might be as familiar, I expect she’ll be possibly even more interesting than David Copperfield since she lived a magical 2 years in the biosphere 2 and is working on space technology and tourism in Downtown Las Vegas along with Inspiration Mars. I’m so mad I’m out of town for these.

Vegas Tech Week – The website for this is still not updated, but it happens the second week of every month. So, for August this will be 8/7-8/10. They do have the registration for the Thursday speakers up. I love the lineup. I’m really looking forward to Chris Kelly, Former Chief Privacy Officer of Faceook, Frank Addante, Founder of the Rubicon Project, Andrew Hyde, Founder of Startup Weekend (and a startup junkie), and Leigh Ferreira, Formerly of TED and Now at IAB. I love the mix of areas and the quality of the people. Should be a great event.

Startup Weekend Las Vegas – This is a special Startup Weekend since it’s paired with SXSW V2V. In fact, three members of the winning team will represent their group at V2V. The event is from August 9th to August 11th. Plus, those participating will get a chance to meet and pitch to Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and now an investor. Kate Rutter, co-founder of Luxr will also be their speaking to those that participate. Plus, they’ll have a stable of other coaches and mentors there to help you through the weekend. You can find more details on Startup Weekend Las Vegas and register for the event. If you’ve never been before, this seems like a good time to try it out. If you can’t go the whole weekend, it’s fun to also go and observe the pitches and presentations.

SXSW V2V – For those not familiar with this event, it’s SXSW Interactive’s first foray into hosting an event outside of Austin. You can read a lot more on the SXSW V2V website. There are quite a few Vegas Tech speakers at the event including Vegas Startups very own Rick Duggan with his 12 year old son Ethan Duggan. Plus, there are some really awesome evening events planned as well. You’ll see that many of those events are happening downtown so people attending the conference can get a feel for another side of Las Vegas. Hopefully they’ll get a chance to meet many of us local vegas entrepreneurs at the event as well.

I could dedicate a whole post to each of these events and no doubt there are other events I haven’t listed, but time is short. How cool that you can have David Copperfield, Chris Kelly, Steve Case and Ethan Duggan all hanging out in the Vegas Startup community? What an amazing community!

July 30, 2013 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.

#VegasTech and SXSW – Day 5 – March 12, 2013

Throughout the story, from arrival, through Day 2, and on to Lounge Day and finally #VegasTech party day, I forgot to mention the group was staying in touch with each other through GroupMe, a great chat/SMS service for impromptu groups. We used the system to find each other, ask for help (rides, pick up supplies, etc.), and set up meal meetups.

But nothing quite prepares you for this GroupMe exchange I awoke to after the big party night (names withheld to protect the guilty innocent:

Person1: “I’m bleeding and I don’t know where I am.” (sent at around 3:00am).
Person2: “Coming to get you. Where’s the last place you remember being?”
Person1: “Not sure. Was on 6th Street. Need to get to a hospital.”
Person2: “OTW. Hang in there.”
Person1: “Ok, found the hospital.”
Person1: “Need me to pick you up?”
Person3: “Which hospital?”
Person1: “Not sure of the name. Over by the interstate.”
Person3: “I think I know which one. I’ll be by in a few.”

Yeah, we’re Vegas. “Hangover Part 1” style Vegas that is. Seriously, the exchange (scary as it was at the time) exemplifies the (yes, I’m going to use that word again) community spirit of #VegasTech. Incidentally, Person1 above was fine (if a bit shaken up).

Traffic at the trade show was still strong going into its third day.

Top sessions of the day included “CEO at 21: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Young Founders”, “Make It or Break It: Why Hot Startups Fail”, “SXSW Interactive Accelerator: Innovative Web Technologies”, and the Matthew Inman Keynote.

SXSW Interactive Accelerator: Innovative Web Technologies

SXSW Interactive Accelerator: Innovative Web Technologies

July 5, 2013 I Written By

A veteran of six startups (one of which conducted a successful IPO), Rick Duggan is currently CTO of Sports Challenge Network, Inc., a VegasTech startup creating new technology for one of the world's most popular sports, ten pin bowling. Prior to joining Sports Challenge Network predecessor Rolltech, he was Director of Website Systems at Zappos IP, Inc.; Chief Technology Officer of Thinker, Inc., a Las Vegas-based provider of digital signage; and co-founder and VP of Engineering & Operations at Incanta. One of the first people involved in the VegasTech community, he acts as a community evangelist, mentor, and is co-creator of the VegasStartups.com blog. He is an advisor to VegasTech company LaunchKey, recently acquired by iovation.

#VegasTech and SXSW – Day 4 – March 11, 2013

In yesterday’s installment, we had just left the #VegasTech Lounge. Like every night at SXSW, the unofficial festivities continued long into the night (morning). Nothing Vegas isn’t already used to!

Monday was an extremely busy day at the show, with continued media attention and a special visit from Shaq.

Pro tip: here’s a great way to drive traffic to your booth. Have a killer slogan (or two):

LaunchKey captures attention with killer slogan

LaunchKey captures attention with killer slogan

Destroy Boredom with Tabeso

Destroy Boredom with Tabeso

All kinds of visitors streamed through the booth throughout the day. Multiple media outlets stopped by to interview the various startups, trade shows attendees stopped by to learn more about #VegasTech, and the community themselves were in and out to visit and make a pit stop between sessions. SXSW continued to amaze with a mix of sessions, the ability to sit in the Game of Thrones Throne of Swords, and a great Dexter party sponsored by Showtime.

Sometime during the day, Shaq stopped by. In addition to being a basketball star, he’s also a tech investor and was scouting out deals, including speaking to a couple of the #VegasTech companies in the booth.

Shaq and Rick Duggan (courtesy Tracky)

Shaq and Rick Duggan (courtesy Tracky)

Of course the highlight of the day was the signature #VegasTech Party. Held at Red 7, the venue held about 850 people.

Sponsored by LazyHusband, Gabuduck, Bongiovi Law Firm, Brag Bets, and PartyLine, the party sponsorships gave great exposure to some additional #VegasTech supporters, with several 3 foot by 3 foot banners from Walls360 (another #VegasTech company) scattered around the venue.

IMG_0423

IMG_0426

One of the sponsors, Ethan Duggan was actually too young to attend the show even though he is the author of LazyHusband. Instead, he attended in a very modern way via FaceTime on an iPad.

Ethan Duggan attends #VegasTech SXSW Party via FaceTime

Ethan Duggan, age 12, attends #VegasTech SXSW Party via FaceTime

An estimated 1500 people passed through the doors throughout the course of the evening. With DJ sets on the outside stage from Jordan Laws and local Vegas bands Rusty Maples and American Cream on the inside stage, the party never stopped. The choice of bands shows the #VegasTech support of the local community (not just the tech community). SXSW is of course crawling with bands, and we could have hired any number of them to play the #VegasTech party, but it wouldn’t have been the same as supporting hometown artists.

American Cream at #VegasTech SXSW Party

American Cream at #VegasTech SXSW Party

One interesting bit of trivia is that Geoff Sanders, CEO of presenting startup LaunchKey previously lived in Austin and opened the Red7 venue in 2006 with the band he was playing in at the time. Small world sometimes!

Continuing well into the night, the party showed the #VegasTech group to be great hosts as everyone had a good time, listened to some great music, and (of course) had a few drinks. #VegasTech had truly arrived on a world stage with both a serious (trade show) and fun (lounge/party) presence at SXSW.

Also at the party, Mark Johnson was named lead of the #VegasTech SXSW 2014 effort. 😉

Tomorrow’s installment features the third day of the trade show as well as some amazing presentations.

July 4, 2013 I Written By

A veteran of six startups (one of which conducted a successful IPO), Rick Duggan is currently CTO of Sports Challenge Network, Inc., a VegasTech startup creating new technology for one of the world's most popular sports, ten pin bowling. Prior to joining Sports Challenge Network predecessor Rolltech, he was Director of Website Systems at Zappos IP, Inc.; Chief Technology Officer of Thinker, Inc., a Las Vegas-based provider of digital signage; and co-founder and VP of Engineering & Operations at Incanta. One of the first people involved in the VegasTech community, he acts as a community evangelist, mentor, and is co-creator of the VegasStartups.com blog. He is an advisor to VegasTech company LaunchKey, recently acquired by iovation.

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