As CES Frenzy Dies Down, Sin City’s Local Tech Scene Thrives

The focus of the tech world shifted away from Las Vegas this weekend as CES came to a close, but a growing ecosystem of local entrepreneurs is giving investors something new to talk about.

More than a yearly destination for entrepreneurs and gadget enthusiasts, Sin City has been developing a startup ecosystem of its own in the past few years. The movement was spurred by Vegas locals, but its recent success has drawn outside venture investors looking to discover startup gold in the middle of the desert.

In 2014, Las Vegas-based startups saw nearly $100 million in capital committed across 45 venture rounds — close to double 2013’s funding total and four times the funding recorded in 2012.

VegasTechFund, a seed-stage fund focused on building a vibrant, connected tech community in downtown Las Vegas, has been instrumental in the growth of the ecosystem. CrunchBase counts 100 investments for VegasTechFund since late 2011, 26 of these for Vegas-based startups.

Partner at VegasTechFund and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has closed another 11 deals for local companies, according to CrunchBase data.

But the proportion of deal flow stemming from VegasTechFund and its partners is slowly declining year over year as outside investors take notice of Las Vegas-based companies and the number of venture dollars invested shoots up.

The nearly $100 million in funding recorded by Las Vegas-based startups in 2014 pales in comparison to Boulder and Denver’s over $370 million each, and Salt Lake City’s nearly $200 million — but if the rapid growth continues, Las Vegas may soon become the next major tech city of the Southwest.

Image via Flickr user Daniel Lobo.

  • Originally published January 12, 2015, updated April 26, 2023