Las Vegas Review-Journal
Entrepreneurs pitch ideas, network at Startup Weekend
It was the perfect Las Vegas weekend to start something new.
With temperatures well above 100 degrees and thousands of tourists roaming the Strip and Fremont Street, more than 140 entrepreneurs and investors sought shelter from the chaos at the El Cortez for StartupWeekend Las Vegas.
The event, which took place from Friday until Sunday afternoon, gave dozens of entrepreneurs the chance to pitch an idea, assemble a team, then build and demo their product.
Some40 entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of judges that included Zappos.com Chief Executive
Officer Tony Hsieh. The list was narrowed to 14 before a winner was chosen Sunday afternoon.
ClippPR, a service that helps companies and public relations firms track news and comments both in print and online, won the inaugural event. ClippPR co-founder Thomas Knoll said his service will allow his clients to track news stories and plus what people are saying on social media sites.
“We track all the mentions across all platforms,” said Knoll, who won $2,000 for his plan. “It was an idea that I pitched, but we all worked hard to make it happen. I’m very excited about it.
His service can be compared to a New York Times best-seller list, which tracks sales and determines the most popular books. He said ClippPR will track news about a particular company and rank it by views and other data, updating the information throughout the day.
Knoll said the website is launch in a few days.
“It will be a little bit
We’ll let the first people use it to make sure it’s working well for them before we open it up,” said Knoll, who added that he left Las Vegas with about 130 clients.
Based in San Francisco, Knoll is coowner of LaunchRock.com. He said ClippPR was developed over the weekend by people from both Las Vegas and San Francisco.
“The reason I was at Startup Weekend in Las Vegas was I lived there while I worked at Zappos.com as a community architect,” he said. “I’m personally invested in the tech community (in Las Vegas). Events like Startup Weekend help foster that community.”
Other tech startups that impressed the judges wereIamOTW, amobile app to dispatch volunteer firefighters, and Rumger, a virtual garage sale.
“Startup Weekend Las Vegas exceeded all expectations we could have set,” said Shavonnah Tiera, an organizer of the event and owner of Options Advisory in Las Vegas. “Having motivated people in one room creates a synergy that no one can predict.”
Tiera said the event was exactly what tech companies and entrepreneurs in Las Vegas needed.
“There are so many local tech companies already in existence with solid ideas and entrepreneurs behind them. They are also extremely willing to help each other and new companies succeed,” she said. “That sense of community has never before been exposed. Now we have a movement to build upon.”
The next StartupWeekend in LasVegas will be held in November during Global EntrepreneurshipWeek.
Ninety-three registered attendees and more than 50 community leaders and investors turned up at the El Cortez for StartupWeekend.
“We learned that Las Vegas has enough tech companies to actually have a tech scene, but none of us knew about each other,” said John Lynn owner of Crashutah.com, a website creation and marketing business in Las Vegas. “This event was the start of bringing those companies together so Las Vegas can begin to build its tech scene.”