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:
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.
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.
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
Work In Progress Companies
Vegas Tech Map
Vegas Valley Angels
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.