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Vegas Startup Company Profile: DevPoint Labs

The following is a short company profile interview with Ty Diamse, co-founder of DevPoint Labs. If you’d like your vegas startup company profiled, drop us a note on our contact us page.

Tell us about your company

DevPoint Labs is an 11 week coding and entrepreneur bootcamp. The best way to learn how to code starts by really committing yourself. Next it helps to attend an in-person classroom with other like-minded individuals getting your hands dirty and building that “muscle memory.” We teach anyone how to program in Ruby on Rails or iOS development so you can build your own idea, launch a new career, or simply become a technical founder. The program is eight hours a day, five days a week, for eleven weeks. We hold four quarters in the year and our next class begins February 3rd, 2014.

Tell us about your team

Nhi Doan and I (Ty Diamse) are the co-founders of DevPoint Labs. Since becoming friends in high school we have worked on multiple startups together that taught us each valuable lessons. Nhi has over nine years of experience in tech ranging from web development, systems, data and networking. He is currently wrapping up his Master’s in Information Systems Management at the U of U David Eccles School of Business. Entrepreneurship is my passion and I have studied it since my early teens. I am proud Alumni from The Starter League in Chicago where I learned how to code and developed most of my web programming expertise. I also have over five years experience in project management with the DoD.

Why did you choose Las Vegas? What do you love about Las Vegas?

Las Vegas was an easy decision because it’s close to our Salt Lake City campus and the VegasTech scene is vibrant and growing at an alarming rate. We believe our startup fits and compliments the VegasTech community very well. It’s no secret that Las Vegas is the nation’s playground which is a huge draw and that makes our code school that much more attractive to students around the world.

I love the culture and tight knit community in Vegas. The problem in Salt Lake City is they’re not very collaborative. We’ve seen the exact opposite in the VegasTech community. This is a huge benefit to any startup beginning or relocating to Vegas.

What can the Las Vegas community do to help your company?

We need help in three areas. 1) If you or you know someone interested in accelerating their coding education then tell them about us. 2) We’re always looking for junior to senior level mentors to help out. They generally meet once a week with our students to help with any questions. 3) If you’re a company that’s looking to hire any developers then please come talk to us. We’d love bring you on as a hiring partner.

What’s your best advice for startup entrepreneurs?

Get out and talk to your customers. You will learn a lot more then you think and save a lot of time and money.

Where can we find out more about your company? What’s your twitter handle?

Go to our site at www.DevPointLabs.com. Find us on Twitter @DevPointLabs

January 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.

Qualifyor Looks to Fill Gap Between Education and Employment in Las Vegas

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Cervantes.

I’m an 18 year old Las Vegas native running media and digital for Qualifyor, a Downtown Project backed consultancy that offers affordable, reliable, and high quality technical and creative project work (i.e. basic website design and building, graphic design, video, social media, etc.). Given the sobering statistics on youth unemployment in this country, you may be wondering how I ended up with a job like this.

Currently the market for web design and development, graphic design, video, and inbound marketing is primarily populated by high priced agencies or low priced crowd sourced providers. (e.g. 99 designs, eLance, Odesk). Small businesses and startups often have limited resources, which puts agency work out of their reach. On the other hand, they are cautious of going with an online provider as the teams staffing these types of projects are frequently located across the globe, making for language, cultural, and timezone barriers. Add to that a lack of personal referrals or recommendations to ensure the talent is reliable, and companies struggle with whether the low cost providers are even worth the hassle. This is where the unique part about Qualifyor comes in, because their projects are staffed by teams of vetted and trained young apprentices, and overseen by experienced professionals.

In offering this type of a service at affordable rates, Qualifyor improves the customer experience, but also provides real work experience and exposure to young people with strong hard skills in project areas. Qualifyor develops and trains apprentices (who are typically aged eighteen to twenty-three) making them desirable to potential employers who may otherwise be hesitant to hire relatively inexperienced young people. Although Qualifyor is not a recruitment agency, it can assist companies looking for great entry-level hires. The model allows for clients to work with young talent on projects and then potentially hire from that pool of consultants.

Qualifyor was founded to bridge the gap between education and employment and initially focused on placing young people in internships. As a member of the inaugural class, I underwent personality testing, was matched with a mentor, competed in project weeks, and had the opportunity to attend soft skills workshops and boot camps led by a number of companies ranging in size from small startups to large corporations. It was through the boot camps and workshops that I met people from MGM Resorts International, Zappos, Google, Project 100, RollTech, and Wedgies, among others, who taught me things like project management, responsibility, accountability, branding, professionalism, and time management. This hands-on, industry driven education enabled me to demonstrate my skill real time, and I secured an internship with Qualifyor that later turned into a full time job. I’m also starting college part time this spring, but I feel that the most effective education I’m receiving right now comes from actually doing the job college aims to prepare me for.

Currently, all of the Qualifyor grads are either in college, have secured jobs (most with their host company), or are both in college and working. Although Qualifyor had success with its initial three month internship model and is keeping most of the educational components of that beta program, during the program’s upcoming second phase, Qualifyor is transitioning to the consultancy model I described above.

In order to address the massive societal challenges surrounding education and employment right now (i.e. 4 million unfilled U.S. jobs, student debt, youth unemployment, and skills mismatch) we need a more integrated system, which offers young people a chance to build a professional network, explore potential career paths, and actually get hands on experience before making a massive investment in college. Qualifyor aims to do this in a way driven by industry demand.

There are several ways to get involved with Qualifyor. Whether you’re looking to have a project sourced by them, wanting to make an impact on the community by becoming mentor or an advisor, or you’re wanting to join the program, there’s definitely an option and way to get involved with Qualifyor. If you want more information on Qualifyor or if you simply want to get in contact with them, visit qualifyor.com.

January 22, 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 Profile: JusCollege

The following is a short company profile interview with Andrew Citores, Co-Founder and CEO of JusCollege. If you’d like your vegas startup company profiled, drop us a note on our contact us page.

Tell us about your company

Simply put, JusCollege is the easiest way for students to plan, organize and book awesome travel and entertainment experiences — from spring break in Mexico to popular music festival packages across the country to VIP Las Vegas weekends, and everything in between.

Founded in 2010, we serve the $162 billion student travel market that is made up of more than 20 million college students and social groups. We’re change-makers, tech geeks who want to disrupt the traditional model of how student travel companies serve this market. We’re using mobile and web-based technology to give our travelers the information they need and ability to consume our products and services spontaneously and immediately while en route. We’re building a company for the “right now economy.”

In just three years, we’ve grown to more than 80,000 student customers at 100+ campuses and more than 300 fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations.

Tell us about your team

I’m the CEO (Andrew Citores) and Bo Thede is our COO.  In 2010, I was a student at Loyola Marymount University, running an entertainment business in Los Angeles and Bo was working in marketing for an online food ordering service while attending University of Colorado, Boulder.  We discussed the possibility of combining key elements of our businesses to create the ultimate online concierge service for college students. In November 2012, Allan Teruel joined our executive team as the company’s first CTO.

In 2013, JusCollege acquired CaboSpringBreak.com, a premier student tour provider in Cabo San Lucas for more than 20 years.  The acquisition added former CaboSpringBreak.com owner Jason Hollander to the team as Director of Travel Development. That same year, student travel veteran Jim Bianchi-Rossi also joined as VP of Operations. With his former agency, Bianchi-Rossi Tours, Jim has traveled more than 100,000 students to the Mexican Riviera and has 18 years of industry experience.

Why did you choose Las Vegas?  What do you love about Las Vegas

What’s best about Vegas is its energy and over-the-top delivery of amazing experiences you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Travelers these days have seen it all — and yet, they can still come to Las Vegas and see more.

Las Vegas is at the heart of our operations because it makes up a large portion of our business and it’s the center of the world when it comes to travel and entertainment. We’re expecting to travel more than 40,000 students to the city in 2014. In fact, JusCollege is among the top group providers for The Venetian, The Palazzo and Palms, and we regularly book packages that include stays at other Vegas hotels like Hard Rock and The Cosmopolitan. We also do VIP experience packages for groups like TAO as well as unique, one-of-a-kind events. Because we’re so focused on customer service, we have staff on site for all of these events. You can see why we feel the need to be here.

Being headquartered in Las Vegas also gives us the kind of face-to-face, personal relationships with our brand partners we could not get if we were headquartered elsewhere.

What can the Las Vegas community do to help your company?  

We’re all about growth, whether that’s through expanding into the college markets we haven’t yet reached or through smart, strategic partnerships we can ink with existing entertainment producers, hotel groups, transportation companies, restaurant groups, music producers and everything in between. We can give Vegas companies access to thousands of college students, if they can provide the high quality, unique entertainment and VIP experiences this market thrives on. We’re looking for partners who share our values: laser-focus on customer service, unforgettable experiences, safety and technology-driven delivery.

We’re particularly interested in the tech companies in Vegas that are specializing in travel and entertainment. JusCollege is already doing some interesting things with our mobile app, like giving our customers the information they need in real time, including connecting them to their friends and fellow travelers, promoting products and services spontaneously and allowing them to buy products on the go. We open our arms to any company that can augment those things.

What’s your best advice for startup entrepreneurs?

Don’t give up and focus, focus, focus (and focus more) on your sales goals. We’ve been through ups and downs, had highs and lows like you can’t imagine. At the end of 2011, we were down to our last $200, living at the office and just about ready to fold. We didn’t though. We moved the company back to my hometown of Menlo Park, found a few sales opportunities to focus on and dug in. Our sales started picking up, then they went crazy and six months later, JusCollege was booking and organizing hundreds of student trips, many of which were VIP packages to top hotels in Las Vegas. We hit profitability by the end of 2012. In 2013, we acquired two of the most respected travel companies in the industry, Bianchi-Rossi Tours and CaboSpringBreak.com, and now we’re on track to hit $3 million in sales by year’s end, servicing more than 80,000 customers.

Where can we find out more about your company?  

www.juscollege.com/news

What’s your twitter handle?

@juscollege

December 18, 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.

New Healthcare Model Arrives in Las Vegas

Today is the Grand Opening of Turntable Health in Downtown Las Vegas. For those not familiar with Turntable Health, it’s a collaboration between Iora Health and Downtown Project. Headed up by Dr. Zubin Damania (better known as ZDoggMD) they’re taking a very different approach to healthcare. Check out this video where ZDoggMD gives you a look inside what they’re doing.

Congrats to the whole Turntable Health team for the Grand Opening. Doors open to the clinic tomorrow.

December 16, 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 Startup OrderWithMe Raises $6 Million

It’s always great when a startup company in Las Vegas raises a round of funding, but a $6 million series b round of funding is event better. Congrats to OrderWithMe for closing the $6 million round of funding from Vegas Tech Fund, BaseVC, Tony Hsieh, and other local Las Vegas investors along with previous investors Infinity Venture Partners, SOS Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.

For those not familiar with OrderWithMe, here’s a short summary of what they do:

With operations now in China and the US, OrderWithMe helps small businesses more effectively compete by streamlining their purchase orders and payments to all their vendors on one easy business-to-business platform. The business owners save substantial time by centralizing their inventory purchasing and payment activities. More importantly, businesses can then negotiate much bigger volume discounts from their suppliers by aggregating their purchase volume with others in the same industry.

December 4, 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.

Zappos Opens Downtown Office

I’m sure my partner in crime here at Vegas Startups, Rick Duggan, will provide a full report on the opening of the new Zappos office in downtown Las Vegas since he works at Zappos. Until he unpacks his boxes and provides a first person report, you can check out the Review Journal article covering the new Zappos offices downtown.

Plus, our friends at Room Champ captured a picture of the new Zappos sign they put up:
Zappos Downtown Las Vegas

It’s also worth noting that the new Zappos offices have a number of lobby/communal spaces that are open to the public to stop by and co-work. I’m excited to go down and try it out.

September 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.

Silicon Valley Tech Startup JusCollege Moves to Vegas

I was really excited to read the news that tech startup company, JusCollege, has chosen to move their company to Las Vegas from the bay area. The company was founded in 2010 and in just three years has grown to more than 60,000 customers nationwide. Here’s a short description of the company:

With a growing network of partners comprised of exclusive brands in Mexico, Las Vegas and beyond, JusCollege offers first-rate travel, entertainment and music festival packages that meet a diverse range of budgets. The company provides top deals on transportation, high quality accommodations and dining, VIP club access, activities and adventures for dozens of hot spots and highly-anticipated events among the college scene.

JusCollege’s convenient online service makes it easy for students to plan, coordinate and book their individual or group travel and events. In addition, the company has built its reputation as one of the most trustworthy student travel operators in the industry by putting a premium on ensuring the safety and satisfaction of their travelers with hands-on customer service and 24/7 support via email, text, chat and phone.

Certainly JusCollege has some synergies moving to Las Vegas since they’re among the top group providers for The Venetian Las Vegas, Palms Casino Resort and The Palazzo Las Vegas along with booking packages for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. However, they’ve also taken note of the growing tech scene.

In fact, I think JusCollege is the start of a growing trend of tech startup companies that aren’t Vegas Tech Fund funded moving to Las Vegas. I think JusCollege is the third group of entrepreneurs I’ve met the past couple weeks who chose to move their company to Las Vegas and they don’t have funding from Downtown Project. No doubt, what Tony and Downtown Project are doing has influenced their decision to move here, but it’s great to see them moving here even without a check from Tony.

Welcome to the community JusCollege! Glad to have you on our ever growing list of Vegas Startup companies.

August 28, 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 Week Is the Must Attend Vegas Startup Event

For a long time when someone would ask about the Las Vegas tech startup scene, I’d tell them that if they wanted to get a flavor for the Las Vegas tech startup community they should stop by the Vegas Jelly. The Jelly was the place where all the startup entrepeneurs would show up and mingle. It was where everything that we now know as Downtown Project was announced. It was core to the start of the #vegastech community.

As usual happens in any community, I no longer tell people to go to the Vegas Jelly if they want to get a feel for the Las Vegas startup community. My new response is that people should attend Vegas Tech Week. Held the second week of every month and organized by Tech Cocktail, it’s become a really beautiful part of the developing Vegas Startup ecosystem. You get a chance to mix and mingle with locals and out of town visitors alike. Plus, there’s always a few surprises like an invite to bungee jump off the Stratosphere (855 feet) or participate in a Llama parade.

Regardless of what surprises happen, you’ll connect with people in interesting new ways. Plus, the speaker series will inspire you and your company.

I’ve got a number of entrepreneurs I know from outside of Las Vegas coming to check out the community this month. It’s definitely become the go to event to introduce people to another side of Las Vegas.

June 3, 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.

FirebrandGroup Accelerator Fund in Las Vegas – Deadline to Apply is 5/22/13

This summer, the newly created Firebrand Group will be investing $10,000 to $25,000 in very early-stage startups who go through a new Las Vegas accelerator called Progression Lab. They don’t specify if you have to give up any equity to be part of the accelerator, so I guess you don’t?

The crazy thing is that this was just announced last week and the deadline for applications is May 22nd (that’s tomorrow). Maybe they already have a slew of people interested in participating, but a week is a short period of time to accept applications for an entire summer program.

The FireBrand Group is being funded by the Vegas Tech Fund who has allocated up to $500k of their $50 million and the accelerator is being run by 7 Venture for America fellows. I didn’t realize that Venture for America fellows had the skills needed to run a startup accelerator. This should be fun to see play out.

It is a great opportunity for someone who has an idea and wants to spend a summer building that idea in a really fun community (Downtown Las Vegas). Along with being part of the accelerator, participants will get to enjoy the monthly Las Vegas Tech Week events, The Downtown Speaker Series, and work out of The Work In Progress co-working space with other Las Vegas entrepreneurs.

If you have a big idea and would love to work on it this summer in Las Vegas, then you should check out the Firebrand Group. Sorry for the short notice on the application deadline. I didn’t realize it was so close.

May 21, 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 Publisher and Event Company Tech Cocktail Raises $2.5 Million

Tech Cocktail just announced a $2.5 million investment from Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. Congrats to Tech Cocktail on raising a great round of funding.

Those in the Vegas Tech startup community are likely familiar with Tech Cocktail. I’d say they’re best known in Las Vegas for their monthly Tech Week events that they hold on the second week of every month. When I talk to entrepreneurs and investors outside of Las Vegas, I’ve started suggesting they come visit what’s happening with startup companies in Las Vegas during Tech Week.

Another interesting part of the Tech Cocktail funding announcement is this little tidbit, “We’ll soon be announcing an exciting new national platform for startups and their regions around the country.” We’ll have to see what kind of platform they’ve created. I guess they didn’t read the latest tech buzz about building a platform is a lazy pivot. Or maybe it’s a logical one given their audience. It will be fun to see how it plays out.

It’s been great to have Tech Cocktail as part of the Vegas Tech community. They’ve embraced the community with open arms and done a lot to contribute to it. I look forward to many more great Tech Cocktail events in the future.

May 15, 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.

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