Tag Archives: startup

Safe-driving app wins Cox business startup contest


Cox Communications

Individuals attend Cox Communications’ second yearly Get Started Las Vegas contest at the Palms on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.

Friday, Oct. 2, 2015|4:07 p.m.

. A Las Vegas mobile application startup that produces devices to prevent individuals from texting while driving positioned initially in a business-pitch competitors Thursday night.

The contest was imitated the hit ABC show “Shark Tank.”

After judges grilled 6 regional business owners at Cox Communications’ second yearly Get going Las Vegas contest at the Palms, they granted $15,000 in reward cash to Text Safe Teenagers. The company also will be showcased in a story on the website of Inc. publication, a sponsor of the occasion. VEGAS INC was also a sponsor.

Text Safe Teenagers, which also won a regional startup competitors in July, is next turning its attention to obtaining outside investment and looking for to establish relationships with organizations that it sees as natural partners: schools, insurance coverage business and companies that manage motorists.

“It makes me feel excellent that we’re going to have the ability to help more individuals with this,” Leon Wilde, the business’s CEO, said after the event.

The finalists, picked from about 60 entrants, had about two minutes to make their pitches to five panelists. The judges consisted of a senior editor from Inc., a partner at VegasTechFund, an executive from Cox, and in 2014’s contest winner, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur.

The panel likewise included Daymond John, a host from “Shark Tank” and the CEO of apparel business FUBU.

The panel chosen Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which hosts food trips on The Strip and downtown, as runner-up. Judges graded the companies on three criteria: creativity, the pitch and the prospective advantage to the neighborhood.

Failed Las Vegas startup got, however fate of 400 staff members’ tasks still unpredictable


Steve Marcus

An outside view of the Ogden in downtown Las Vegas Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015|6:45 p.m.

Zirtual, the Las Vegas-headquartered startup that shuttered on Monday with no notice to more than 400 workers or customers throughout the country, is being acquired by Startups.co, according to an e-mail to Zirtual staff and gotten by the Las Vegas Sun.

The company, which provides remote help to executives– booking travel, performing research and scheduling conferences– at a monthly subscription fee beginning at $399, closed suddenly Monday morning after concealed financial difficulties prompted the departures of top leadership on Friday. Staff members were left without info about benefits and their last week of pay. Clients, numerous of whom had already prepaid for their month-to-month personal assistant services, were left without info about refunds.

The announcement that the company encountered financial trouble came despite more than $3.2 million in investment since June from sources including the VegasTechFund, the endeavor arm of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. Hsieh was also an early financier in Zirtual.

The company that got the going to pieces startup, Startup.co, expenses itself as the “world’s largest startup launch platform” with a portfolio that consists of fundable.com, clarity.fm and launchrock.com.

In the email sent out to Zirtual personnel Tuesday evening, co-founder Collin Vine composed that operations are expected to continue under their management as early as next week however it’s uncertain if the over 400 Zirtual workers, many of them full time and now out of work, will resume employ.

Vine wrote in his email: “It suggests that there is an opportunity to continue working as a (virtual assistant) under this brand-new plan. It will certainly be a somewhat different setup and structure to what you were made use of to at Zirtual, however there is an interesting opportunity to continue. There is a lot to find out and no pledges can be made through this email. However, we wanted to send an update to you as quickly as we could, and at this point we ‘d prefer to assess the interest of the neighborhood.”

Not all former Zirtual staff members were guaranteed by the statement.

“I do not believe they are offering an opportunity for people to return directly to work,” stated Stephanie Garis, an employer based out of San Antonio. “I hope they’ll do the very best for employees. Right now, it appears like customers went to a brand-new business.”

Some previous staff members have filed problems with the Department of Labor, she said.

“The founders restarted Zirtual and 400 people are still out of a task,” Garis said.

Under Nevada law, a business has three days to pay its employees after termination, according to UNLV law professor Ruben Garcia. According to Zirtual, the last official day of work was Friday, however as of Monday evening the business had given employees little information about their final incomes or advantages. Vine, Zirtual’s co-founder, addressed this in his email, stating that payments were processed by means of check or direct deposit earlier today.

The business, which started in San Francisco, notes its official headquarters as The Ogden, a residential building in downtown Las Vegas. Zirtual utilized 40 to 50 people in Las Vegas, according to several former workers. The Las Vegas lineup included the head of human resources and director of recruiting. Other leaders were based in San Francisco.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, in July, Zirtual raised $650,000 in debt funding and was seeking a total of $3 million in new financial investment. Former employees likewise stated the company had actually announced in an e-mail that it prepared to raise salaries to $15 an hour and had actually elicited employee tips to enhance the company, signaling to many Zirtual’s monetary health.

Zirtual CEO Maren Kate Donovan said the financial problems were just found 7 days earlier.

“We didn’t know the situation of the business’s financials– the (dire) condition– because of specialists in financing roles with continuously shifting projections & & burn,” she wrote in a text Tuesday early morning, recommending that the business had ignored its continuous costs and relied largely on an external financial team. “I do blame myself for not bringing senior financing & & (operations) individuals in a year back.”

In a post on Medium Tuesday night, Donovan explained that the decision to turn off the company came down to Zirtual bleeding more money than it took in. Donovan revealed “deep grief at pulling down our staff members, our clients and our financiers.” An excerpt below:

“The factor we could not offer more notification was that up until the 11th hour, I did everything I might to raise more money and right the ship.

“After failing to secure more funds, the law needed us to terminate everybody when it ended up being clear to us that we would not have the ability to make the next payroll.

“This also implied that all of our clients right away lost their support.

“The outcome breaks my heart– numerous our people out of work and thousands of people losing a service they liked, and paid for, overnight.

“I can not reveal my deep sadness at pulling down our workers, our clients and our financiers. I’ve checked out notes from people calling me stoic as this … storm has actually hailed down on us. But in truth every time I am alone I cry like somebody whose youngster has actually been ripped from her arms.

“I weep for all the workers we harm. I cry for all the customers we irritated. And I sob for the investors we let down.”

Now defunct, what took place to downtown startup Shift’s 100 Teslas?


Spencer Burton

Shift CEO Zach Ware says the start-up’s Tesla order actually weakened his objective of bringing car-sharing to downtown Las Vegas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015|2 a.m.

Then known as Project 100, Shift first made headlines for ordering a large number of Tesla Model S cars.Launch slideshow “

In 2013, downtown Las Vegas car-sharing business SHIFT made news for positioning the biggest U.S. order in Tesla history: 100 Design S luxury sedans.

The plan was to innovate transport downtown, through a web of shared cars: Smart automobiles, Chevy Volts, bikes and, most significantly, the Tesla order, which was covered by media varying from the Las Vegas Weekly to TechCrunch. The network would coincide with the objectives of Shift’s financier, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who was trying to renew the area through a $350 million effort.

Earlier this year, SHIFT closed shop, leaving one, glaring question: What took place to all those Teslas?

A PandoDaily story released previously this month reported the 100 Teslas were never provided. But last year, SHIFT released a widely-circulated picture of Teslas in a downtown parking lot. So exactly what happened?

According to Shift CEO Zach Ware, the company in fact did get one delivery of Teslas. The strategy had always been to receive the cars in phases, Ware said. The very first wave, of 10 to 20 Teslas, arrived in June of in 2014.

Click to enlarge photo

Then called Project 100, Shift first made headlines for purchasing a a great deal of Tesla Model S cars.

“As our technique progressed and eventually resulted in the unwind of the business … we canceled the staying rides on our [Tesla] order,” Ware wrote in an e-mail.

Ware stated the Teslas that had actually already been delivered were sold to a variety of buyers.

Expectations versus reality

Shift set itself a bold goal: Bring car-sharing to downtown Las Vegas– and make the face of the project Teslas, a much higher-end car than those utilized in other cities with similar programs.

Somewhere along the way, the prospect of 100 Teslas concerned eclipse the company’s bigger objective and became its only external yardstick for success, Ware stated.

“The lesson I discovered as a creator was to focus first on developing a product that individuals will like and let the press coverage follow,” Ware said in the email. “Due to the fact that the Tesla story was so big, it’s what everyone in the media determined our success by.”

Raising expectations that there would be 100 Teslas, Ware said, undermined the company’s capability to highlight other, simply as crucial, successes, such as a 24/7 reservation system it created and advanced in-car control systems.

“It got us a lot of press and it was really intoxicating,” Ware said in a follow-up phone interview. “When you put whole playbook on table, you certainly need to pursue that playbook.”

Downtown ties

The closure of Shift, which at one point appeared to be among downtown’s most appealing– and useful– startups, has been considered by lots of, including the 7,000-word PandoDaily story, as another failure in a long line of now-defunct downtown ventures. (The most popular of those is Factorli, a making business admired by President Barack Obama simply months before stopping operations late last summer season.)

Ware states Shift was not associated with the Downtown Job which Hsieh made a personal financial investment in Shift different from the $350 million he invested in the Downtown Task.

However the line in between Shift and the Downtown Job starts to blur when you think about how Hsieh explained the two.

In a memo last fall, Hsieh explained the Downtown Project as a collection of entities and consisted of Shift as an example of a company where DTP was an investor or co-owner.

With the $350 million investment now paid out in real estate, companies and a tech fund, it’s frequently tough to tease out where the Downtown Task’s influence starts and ends. Part of this comes from the high expectations that had attempting to revitalize an entire downtown.

Mark Rowland, CEO of Downtown Job Ventures, DTP’s investment arm, acknowledged in a recent interview that some expectations were probably too positive. The preliminary buzz around DTP cut both methods because, just like exactly what occurred with Shift, it produced the enjoyment needed to launch the project while likewise forcing DTP to deliver on a number of splashy objectives.

“To believe that it would be done in 3 years was probably wishful thinking,” Rowland stated. “However definitely, I’ve got no issue with people having that as a goal and seeing exactly what occurs when you really charge people with that task. I believe if you just stated, ‘This is a 20-year task,’ you might not have seen a great deal of the activity and undertaking that really entered into the first 3 years of the Downtown Task.”