SXSW Offshoot V2V Could Boost Local Startups


Trekkies, Bronies, bowlers and more flock to Las Vegas throughout the year to partake in national conventions. But a newcomer this year will bring more attention to Vegas’ growing tech scene: South by Southwest V2V.

South by Southwest, the Vegas event’s parent music and technology festival, runs every year in Austin and draws large crowds (attendance in 2012 totaled about 300,000, according to the SXSW website). The festival’s organizers announced late last year that they would add a Vegas event focused specifically on entrepreneurs; it begins Sunday at the Cosmopolitan.

Rich Belsky, founder of bowling app company Rolltech, says the event will help bring national credibility to Vegas’ startup community. “Of all the places to choose, Vegas has proven itself to be the most attractive combination of location, intellectual capital and vibe—the same combination that is attracting businesses and talent to move here to live and work,” he said in an email.

Many local tech entrepreneurs are hoping that the event will also draw some much-needed venture capital.

In October, SXSW interactive director Hugh Forrest told the Las Vegas Sun that he is “excited about all the new energy” in the city since “Las Vegas is repositioning itself as a hub for innovators and digital creative.”

The conference schedule includes many Vegas faces, such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh as a keynote speaker and 12-year-old app developer Ethan Duggan. Local techies are also getting an early start to the festivities with Startup Weekend, where teams will get the chance to pitch ideas to investors. The winners will represent their group at V2V.

The conference will run through Wednesday, August 14. View the full V2V schedule here.

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