Greater Vegas’ Entrepreneurial Journey: From Startup to Success

Google “Top Tech Hubs in the US” and the results will be the usual suspects: San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, or Boston.

But let me tell you why Google is wrong.

Earlier this year, a Crowdfund Capital Advisors study ranked Las Vegas as the #1 city in the country for pre-IPO startups, moving up nine spots to displace Austin in the 2023 survey. If there’s one thing Vegas knows how to do, it’s how to beat the odds.

The past few years have seen an influx in startup and entrepreneurial activity within the Greater Vegas region, and its long past time for LVGEA to get involved in driving the future growth of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The bones of our region’s startup ecosystem have been around for years, and we’re lucky to have a healthy ecosystem already in place, thanks to the foundational work done by groups such as StartupNV, Startup Vegas, and Tech Alley. Plus, UNLV’s Blackfire Innovation Center, the City of Las Vegas’ Innovation Centers, and the Henderson Chamber’s Launchpad provide space for startups to test out their ideas and conduct research and development on new products and ideas.

It’s LVGEA’s goal to support this existing ecosystem, while also sharing our region’s success story with entrepreneurs outside our city, to show them that Greater Vegas is a place where you can invest, grow a business, and raise a family.

We want to tell the world about LaunchKey, an IT fraud prevention service which was founded in Las Vegas as a Vegas Tech Fund company. The company was acquired by IOVation and then by Transunion, and now Transunion has a growing permanent office in Las Vegas.

We also want the world to know about Influential, an influencer marketing platform that was founded in Las Vegas with venture capital backing, raising $40M. The company is headquartered here, and all the software development staff is based in Las Vegas with 40 full-time jobs in Nevada.

Let’s share with the world the innovations the City of Las Vegas is fostering within its downtown innovation district. The city has become an active testbed for startup companies, which is a unique opportunity not found in other tech hubs. This should be a huge selling point for us.

Additionally, the state of Nevada is leading the nation in removing barriers to entrepreneurship. Earlier this month, Nevada became the first state to sign ‘Right to Start’ legislation that makes it easier for Nevadans to start and grow new businesses and get access to government contracts. Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo also signed a second first-in-the-nation piece of legislation which establishes a new category of investor called a Nevada Certified Investor. This new category opens the door to 30% of Nevadans to become certified investors, which has the potential to boost much needed local investment. Both bills were passed with bipartisan legislative support.

LVGEA recognizes the amazing foundation that has been laid by our municipal, non-profit, chamber, and education partners, and we’ll be focusing on these areas to create a thriving ecosystem, in tandem with our partners:

  • Collaboration: strengthen partnerships with StartupNV, StartUp Vegas, UNLV, local chambers, and regional municipalities to leverage each other’s strengths and create a cohesive and support ecosystem.
  • Attraction & Retention: attract high-potential, scalable startups to Greater Vegas, and provide a support system for existing startups to thrive.
  • Access to Capital: engage with venture capitalists, family offices, and angel investors to build more investment opportunities within the startup ecosystem.
  • Resource Support: collaborate to expand networking opportunities, mentorship programs, pitch days, and trainings for startups. Apply for grants to fund additional programming.
  • Targeted Sectors: strategically focus on sports and entertainment tech, fintech, and health tech, to position Greater Vegas as a leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in these sectors.
  • Advocacy & Policy Support: advocate for state and local legislation and policies that support entrepreneurship, innovation, and startup growth.

The Greater Vegas region is on the cusp of becoming an entrepreneurial powerhouse. It’s incumbent on the entire community to not only support this transformation, but welcome it. As a community, we need to focus on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, and encourage startups to be innovative, creative, and take risks to disrupt industries and solve problems. If you compare our community’s entrepreneurship trajectory to the lifecycle of a startup, we’re currently in the MVP (minimum viable product) stage, working to achieve PMF (product market fit) with the end goal of a successful exit (sale, merger or IPO) in the future.

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