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 We even started a startup company list (which is now woefully outdated) to list the companies we found.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.