#VegasTech Converging @ SxSW - 8 News NOW

#VegasTech Converging @ SxSW

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LAS VEGAS -- More than 100 members of the Las Vegas tech scene are descending on Austin, Texas, this weekend to promote the valley's burgeoning startup and entrepreneurial spirit.

Gabe Shepherd has spent the past year organizing VegasTech's foray onto what is considered the world's largest stage for emerging technologies -- South by Southwest.

The South by Southwest Interactive Festival is billed as five days of "compelling presentation from the brightest minds in emerging technology," according to the event's official website. 

A trade show, where VegasTech will have 800-square feet of floor space, will allow those in the industry to featured their digital wares and ideas.

For the VegasTech group, their highlight will be on the broader scale, featuring not only some of the startups that came to fruition in Las Vegas, but the tech community as a whole.

Shepherd said that what started as a small concept of 30 people camping in a hotel room, wearing #VegasTech T-shirts and walking around Austin trying to spread the word on Las Vegas, grew beyond his expectations.

Since then, it has turned into a $350,000 production, all geared toward promoting Las Vegas and the tech community, he said.

"At first there was a little bit of hesitancy," he said. "It's the first time this has been done. It's not an entity behind it. (The production) is completely community organized."

To push things along, technology ecosystem Switch provided the headlining sponsorship, and then the Tony Hsieh-led Downtown Project got on board.

The momentum was building.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas decided it wanted to be a part of the trek to Austin, as did the state's Office of Economic Development, eight Las Vegas startups and the 100-plus people from the Las Vegas tech scene.

"We're not expecting everyone to pick up and move to Vegas after South by Southwest," Shepherd said. "We are expecting people, though, to consider Vegas. We're not saying you have to move here. Just consider it.

"If you're looking to build a business, you want to do a startup, you want to be part of the entrepreneurial force, just consider Vegas. Just stop in for a couple days."

The interactive festival runs March 8 to 12. 

8 News NOW will have comprehensive coverage of VegasTech at South by Southwest starting this weekend.

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