September 18, 2012
Las Vegas, NV – Text Me Tix, a text message “fire-sale” platform that brings last-minute ticket discounts to subscriber’s pockets and helps sports, arts and entertainment venues sell excess inventory, just landed a coveted front-row seat worth as much as $500,000 after winning CROWDSTART Las Vegas, a startup contest in historic downtown Las Vegas. Hosted by business crowdfunding platform crowdfunder in partnership with Vegas Tech Fund and support by Switch The InNEVation Center, Crowdstart-Vegas drew over 200 entries from across the western U.S. in an eight-week competition that began with Vegas Startup Weekend.
A local team chose ten finalists to pitch their business to a panel of judges and a live audience of 200 entrepreneurs, investors and technology experts at the Plaza Hotel and Casino. Based in Salt Lake City, Text Me Tix claimed the CROWDSTART Las Vegas title amidst heated competition that included companies from Los Angeles, Austin and Las Vegas-metro. Text Me Tix exists to make high-quality entertainment more affordable and accessible for cost-conscious consumers who are fed up with expensive fees and surcharges customary with large ticketing companies, and who value the speed, efficiency and spontaneity of buying and sharing last-minute ticket deals through a text-message platform.
“Consumers want convenience and to be treated fairly,” said Text Me Tix founder and CEO Mark Harmsen. “People are getting gouged at the check-out with the large players in the ticket industry. We not only save people money, we eliminate paper tickets altogether because we deliver your ticket to your phone – not to your home or office where it can be easily lost amidst catalogs and junk mail.”
The Vegas Tech Fund agreed to provide an investment prize of up to $500,000 for the CROWDSTART Las Vegas winner because equity-based crowdfunding will not be legal until December 31 when the Securities Exchange Commission is due to implement industry guidelines. The prize is part of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas, a $350 million multi-year initiative to revitalize the city’s historic downtown business community by creating a thriving startup community. The Downtown Project intends to invest $100 million in real estate, $100 million in residential development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in education and community, and $50 million in tech startups.
“The Crowdstart judges are regional experts on high growth technology startups. Their criteria for choosing the winner focused on company traction, team, product, market and if it would be a good investment. Text Me Tix had a fantastic presentation that hit the right notes in each of these areas,” said Vegas Tech Fund partner Andy White.
“Helping innovative businesses like Text Me Tix get professional support and awesome visibility is why we exist,” said Crowdfunder CEO Chance Barnett. “Funding pathways are only one benefit of the relationship Crowdfunder creates with our members. Education, best practices, resources and mentoring are essential services we’re committed to provide in order to build the long-term relationships and thriving social community that will help put companies on a path to lasting success.”
Harmsen attributed a big part of his success to the power of raising social capital as a precursor to raising financial capital. “Crowdfunding usually comes in the form of a contribution that involves an exchange of money. I like to think crowdfunding also comes through liking, following and sharing on social media – something we really pushed to get the attention of Vegas Tech Fund,” said Text Me Tix founder and CEO Mark Harmsen. “Text Me Tix evolved through the crowd getting the word out with Facebook and texting. That’s valuable time and real estate that people have to sift through as they’re reading their news feeds. I’m incredibly grateful to all the people who helped stabilize and support Text Me Tix from inception through CROWDSTART Las Vegas.”
Crowdfunder is a business crowdfunding platform that exists to put the American dream back within reach by connecting enthusiastic entrepreneurs with enthusiastic investors through early stage funding pathways. Crowdfunder’s online community helps companies prepare to raise funds by locating the resources, education, tools and mentoring they need for lasting business success.
Vegas Tech Fund
Vegas Tech Fund is a seed stage investment fund focused empowering amazing founders and startups passionate about building community in downtown Las Vegas.
Switch and The InNEVation Center
Switch is a Nevada-based technology ecosystem that includes the Switch SuperNAP, a 407,000-square-foot facility that houses the servers of Google, VMWare, HP, Intuit, eBay, Zappos, and many more. The SuperNAP has gained global attention through its use of patented technology to house servers at a density that far surpasses industry standards, with additional safeguards provided by armed security and Las Vegas’ unique geography as a city free from natural disasters. The company provides colocation, connectivity and cloud services, all on an expansive technology campus in Las Vegas. Switch also powers the inNEVation Center – the first public/private economic diversification effort of its kind.