Crowdfunder is partnering with Las Vegas’ tech heavy-hitters for an event that will reward its winner with an extraordinary prize–the opportunity to pitch their idea to the partners of VegasTechFund for a chance at up to $500,000 in funding.
In addition to VegasTechFund, Crowdfunder is working with Startup Weekend, Startup Weekend Las Vegas, Switch, and The Innevation Center for the event, Crowdstart Las Vegas. It’s the second event of its kind–Crowdfunder held the inaugural event in Los Angeles in July. The event will be held locally on September 14th.
Companies interested in participating, may register online. Once their profile is active, they can gain community support through voting. There are currently over 80 companies vying for the chance to pitch at Crowdstart Las Vegas. Only 10 finalists will be selected to do so. At the live event a panel of five judges will vote, as will the crowd, for the winner.
Among the current registrants are a number of VegasTech companies. Counterless,Chexplore, tabeso, SEG, LaunchAStartup.com, Ft3com, Gabuduck, The Vegas Connection, Automotive Business Services, ReunitID, and Siffter are all participants, as is LaunchKey winner of July’s Startup Weekend Las Vegas. The remainder of the field is made up of companies from all across the US, including entrants from NYC, San Francisco, and LA.
While CrowdstartLV is a single event, crowdfunding has a lot of potential to aid in the future of entrepreneurialism. “We think there’s a lot of power and opportunity in crowdfunding, done right, as another means for entrepreneurs and startups to acquire resources to fulfill their dreams,” says Andy White, partner at VegasTechFund.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Crowdfunder CEO Chance Barnett. “Crowdfunding in particular has the potential to create a dramatic shift for people who are only allowed by law to invest their money in public companies … Crowdfunding makes it possible for them to put their money to work, whether it’s their savings, through a credit union, or just investing $500 in someone or something that they believe in—to stimulate the small business economy which is 50% of GDP,” he explains.
Additionally, Barnett believes crowdfunding can be most effective within an established community. “Crowdfunding is actually better done within an exisiting community, within an exsiting ecosystem of people who already know each other, or have some connection to each other. That connection might be geographical, people, for example, who are in Las Vegas and who know of each other or know each other. Or it could be based on common interest—impact investing for example. We’re really interested in empowering that unique engagement across real communities of people who like, know, and support each other,” he says.
So the opportunities that exist in this new funding paradigm are not only for entrepreneurs. There can also be real and meaningful impact on both the local and larger economies. Posits Barnett, “I think that’s the really really powerful part of the larger opportunity. Rather than just imagine that things can get better, how can each person contribute?”
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