Meetups Fuel Vegas’ Tech Scene


Gil C/

While getting to know many of the local techies Downtown and throughout the Valley, one thing I hear often is how inclusive this community is compared to other tech cities. Many newcomers and visitors say they are surprised when they’re meeting with other entrepreneurs and hear, “How can I help you?” promptly following their company pitch.

In many cities, while co-working spaces and meetups are important for networking, they seem like more of a byproduct of the current buzzing ecosystem. In Las Vegas, where the tech scene is still developing, meetups can act as critical catalysts for innovation, connecting like-minded developers and engineers.

On alone, there are many groups independent of the Downtown Project that have grown to impressive size. Here are some to join if you’re searching for fellow techies to geek out with:

Tech Cocktail Goes to Print

Frank Gruber founded Tech Cocktail, the events and news website for techies, in 2006 in Chicago. The former Aol product strategist and blogger knew that the startup life can be lonely, and wanted to create a product that championed those brave enough to go out on their own.

The company now covers news and events in 12 cities, including Las Vegas, where Gruber currently lives. Now he is sharing the wisdom gleaned during his travels through the tech world with a new book titled Startup Mixology: Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success.

One of the book’s key points is that celebrating a fledgling company’s achievements, no matter how big or small, is important for morale, motivation and community-building. “Celebration is a tool,” Gruber said at an event hosted at the InNEvation Center last week. “If you don’t take a moment to acknowledge success, it’s like it didn’t happen.”

The book includes stories from companies like Zappos, WordPress, Uber and many more. Not all the stories are pretty, he says. But then again, if starting a company was easy, everyone would do it.

Company to Watch: Rolltech Bowling

It’s shaping up to be an interesting year for Rolltech Bowling, which Vegas Seven named Best Tech Startup in its 2013 Best of the City issue. The app allows users to track and share their game stats by connecting to a bowling center’s scoring system, and in late April, Zappos Director of Technical Development Rick Duggan left his post to join Rolltech full time. The company has raised over $1 million from 15 investors including the Vegas Tech Fund and currently partners with 10 bowling centers in six states, with plans to add another 50 bowling centers by year’s end. Look for more big news from them in the future.

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