We Are Creating A High Impact Ecosystem for Startups in Las Vegas

The term “High Impact” is usually used to describe startups themselves, but I want to use it for an ecosystem this time. That is, a Las Vegas startup ecosystem. We still need to build its reputation to attract founders, talent, investment, and all other ingredients for unicorns. As of now, there are only a few big success stories we can spread. Well then, how are we creating a high impact startup ecosystem and why am I so confident in it?

 

We base our ecosystem-building efforts on three keystones:

1.   Business development

2.   Strategic network of subject matter experts and investors

3.   Talent

 

Business Development

Let's recall one simple truth: startups are businesses. We often forget this and keep talking in Y Combinator-like jargon. Startups are basically SMBs, who die of cash flow crisis in most cases. Yet, they have unique potential to go really big when things get aligned. There are many reasons that make Las Vegas / Nevada such a great environment for business that increase the chances of this alignment (I have already shared my thoughts about 'why incubating startups in Vegas' in my previous blogpost).

Therefore, despite being a rare practice for incubators, we are actively helping a group of 5 startups with their business development. This helps them make more revenue and test for demand for their product in market. This allows us to screen our investor network accordingly and show them their progress, as well as mentoring on their pivots for growth hacking purposes.

 

Strategic Network

Las Vegas is leading several industries across the entire world. First and foremost, it hosts around 45 million visitors annually. This brings ultimate expertise in hospitality, event management, entertainment, and gaming verticals. Vertical attraction is very efficient in this business climate as subject matter experts are always nearby as needed. We welcome seasoned professionals to collaborate within our community and throughout the globe, to bring new technologies and abilities forward more efficiently.

A key example of this expertise is Melissa Sloan. She collaborates with Innosance by bringing her seasoned expertise in travel and hospitality as well as her incredible network of dedicated professionals developed over the past 20 years to be a unique advantage for our startups.

Another great person is Gunnar Clovis, a well-connected senior game development professional showing a true passion for mentoring startups in the gaming community to build the next Angry Birds, Stardew Valley, Clash Royale, or Video Poker.

Secondly, the city has its capital, as you can imagine, but not in the form of venture capital. Instead, we have connected with a network of angel investors. When we compare angel investors to VCs, they have increased flexibility, quick response attitude, and most importantly, their investor friends across the country. This is exactly what early stage startups need badly.

 

Talent

Talent is perhaps the most important component of successful startups. And, surprisingly, it is still being understated and undervalued by the current ecosystem. Starting from the first employee, the talent a startup has in its organization determines how far and how fast it can go. At Innosance we have established and are still building our connections with other startup hubs across the US, including LA, Silicon Valley, and Seattle (here special thanks goes to Jamie Collyer for her faith in startups and solid background in recruitment).

To be honest, it is extremely difficult for startups to convince people to work for their companies even if they provide hard-to-resist benefits. But, Vegas is enjoying a trend of a lot of people moving in from California, for several reasons - living costs and taxation to name a few. Innosance is positioned well to reap the benefits of this shift, and we welcome you to come along and co-enjoy with us.

Las Vegas is ready to create a well-functioning startup ecosystem in its near future. All we are doing is to build these 3 keystones and contribute to the momentum. Of course, creating an ecosystem requires a broad collaboration of founders, investors, universities, NGOs, and government. So, if you’d like to enter the fertile space of startups in Las Vegas, please comment with your questions and reach out to us for an introduction.

 

Happy Holidays!

Written by

Sarper Celenk

Mentor | Investor

USA

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December 26, 2018

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