Fostering Tech Startups

Southern Nevada is quickly becoming a hotbed for tech startups. Find out how the LVGEA is partnering with regional startup hubs, like the Innevation Center, powered by Switch, and the Downtown Project, to support the region’s startups.


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Partnering with Regional Startup Hubs

Over the past five years, Southern Nevada has become a west coast technology startup hub. With the advent of the Innevation Center, founded by Switch SUPERNAP CEO Rob Roy, and the Downtown Project, founded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Las Vegas is poised to succeed in the startup world.

The Innevation Center

The Innevation Center is the first public-private economic diversification effort of its kind in Southern Nevada, bringing together entrepreneurs, business leaders, mentors, investors, educators, and government agencies to build a startup ecosystem of super-heroic proportions. A philanthropic effort led by Switch founder Rob Roy, the Innevation Center hosts collaboration events and provides meeting space, coworking space, and executive suites on the SUPERNAP campus with access to advanced technology ecosystems.

LVGEA partners with many co-located companies and organizations to advance regional economic development initiatives. These initiatives include:

  • Working with Originate, a pioneer in venture product development, to help build Southern Nevada’s angel investment community.
  • Working with Nevada Succeeds, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating a climate for successful student achievement Nevada, to improve the state’s education systems
  • Working with JusCollege, a company that allows college students to plan, organize and book awesome travel and entertainment experiences, to help attract a new workforce to Southern Nevada.

The Downtown Project

The Downtown Project helps to make downtown Vegas a place of Inspiration, Entrepreneurial Energy, Creativity, Innovation, Upward Mobility, and Discovery, through the 3 C’s of Collisions, Co-learning, and Connectedness in a long-term, sustainable way.  Now in the third year, the Downtown Project, owns and invests in over 300 businesses and legal entities which collectively employ more than 900 people.

LVGEA partners with The Downtown Project to support funded businesses and promote the region to investors from all over the world. These initiatives include:

  • Working with OrderWithMe, an innovative startup supported by the Downtown project, combines independent retailers onto a single software platform. LVGEA helped to relocate the company to Las Vegas from China.

Working with business development organizations from other countries, LVGEA and the Downtown Project partner to tell the story of Downtown Las Vegas from the local perspective.

Fostering University Technology Transfer

Southern Nevada has an enormous asset in its higher education institutions, and LVGEA partners with those institutions to help faculty foster technology transfer and business startups.

Supporting Technology Transfer through the Nevada Knowledge Fund

The Nevada Knowledge Fund is a $10 million state-fund project aimed at spurring research, innovation and commercialization in Nevada. Awarded by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Knowledge Fund has supported a number of institution-based technology transfer projects in Southern Nevada, including:

  • The Center for Gaming Innovation at UNLV, an effort led by the UNLV International Gaming Institute, has yielded more than a dozen patents in just one year.
  • The Nevada Institute for Personalized Medicine at UNLV, an interdisciplinary effort aimed at support the health and medical economy of Southern Nevada by improving health outcomes and providing quantitative analysis that enhances medical decision-making and education programs.
  • The Nevada Center of Excellence (COE) is an independent team of stakeholders focused on one of the greatest issues facing our state: Water. Through collaboration and the use of best practices, we endeavor to explore water issues as we improve Nevada’s economic diversification and expansion, and workforce development.

Technology Transfer at UNLV

The UNLV Department of Technology Development & Transfer facilitates the process through which the university brings discoveries and inventions to the marketplace. Over the years, UNLV faculty have earned dozens of patents, and many of these technologies have potential as the basis for new commercial ventures.  Working with the LVGEA and its business partners, tech transfer staff help to evaluate the commercialization potential of new technologies and help to find the expertise to build new businesses.