They are among us. They float, distracted and iPhone-bewitched, from their Downtown crash pads at the Ogden to the counter at The Beat, where they order strong coffees and afford us fleeting looks at their T-shirts, branded with the names of companies they themselves own and operate, before they turn and drift upstairs to Emergency Arts’ /usr/lib coworking space, where potential billionaires mix and mingle with potential gazillionaires.
The Vegas Tech scene is a fact. (Sounds like a university, doesn’t it? Fight on, Vegas Tech!) In choosing to move his billion-dollar online retail operation to Downtown Las Vegas, Zappos’ big-shoed Tony Hsieh has inspired a burgeoning tech culture in what was very recently Not a Burgeoning Tech Culture. But who are these startup firms, the companies who make Vegas Tech a reality? What do they hope to accomplish? How will we benefit from their labors? Is /usr/lib affiliated with the Bavarian Illuminati? And do any of them have a chance of soaring above the mother ship by actually becoming the next Zappos? Let’s meet some of our most promising startups and find out.