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Desert Companion

Technology: An app for that, and that, and yes, that ...


There’s a new gold rush in Nevada — the tech startup gold rush. Ever since Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project dedicated $50 million to seeding Vegas tech, other funds have begun — and the startups have come courting. The venture capital is just one factor.

“Las Vegas is an ideal place for a tech startup because of our low cost of living, our proximity to L.A. and the fact that it’s a global center for tourism,” says Michael Terpin, a veteran startup investor and founder of SocialRadius, a social media campaign agency. “And if you’re a 22-year-old engineering student from Stanford, Vegas is not a horrible place to live.” Here are a handful of notable contenders in the startup scene.



Their hype: “Our innovative, patent-pending technology allows bowlers to automatically track scores and statistics in real time, share their bowling experience with friends, and compete globally without leaving their favorite bowling center.”

In other words: A bowling score-keeper that takes your game — and, yes, those gutter balls — global.

Our completely hunch-based forecast for success: Promising. Crisp interface, more features than prominent competitors. Will avid bowlers use it? For all their love of heavy balls, you might be surprised how tech-savvy they are. (

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Their hype: “Klinq (pronounced ‘Clink’) is a ‘Social Beverage Network’ that allows users to browse, send and redeem exclusive deals at surrounding venues via their mobile device.”

In other words: You can prepurchase discounted drinks, and even buy that cute guy a beer without ever making eye contact. Three cheers for tech!

Success forecast: Cloudy. Who doesn’t love 99-cent drinks? But Klinq will need that Facebook-like critical mass of adoption — among both drinkers and bars — to really get the party started. (


Their hype: “Tabeso is the best way to discover, share, and attend all types of events, anywhere in the world.”

In other words: Imagine if the NSA wasn’t evil and scraped data about concerts, art exhibits and community events. Tabeso aims to be the one event app to rule them all.

Forecast: Promising. Has ambitious breadth and pretty muscular customizing options. (


Their hype: “PayWall creates a digital barrier for premium and protected content enabling users to pay for only the content they want.”

In other words: It’s a vendor-side system to selectively paywall content. No more shopping cart icons, no more maddening “You’ve used up your 10 free articles” (!) messages from the New York Times.

Forecast: Likely success if it’s first to the punch. It’s high time the web more fully embraced the a la carte, pay-per-view model — without having to punch in your password and Visa number every time. (


Their hype: “It’s the platform created by the career development professionals who have worked with the largest names in music. Do you want your music played on the radio? Do you want to work with the world’s largest music producers? Do you want to play exclusive live events? ... If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your answer is TuneGO.”

In other words: Imagine if a major record label offered its services — promotion, distribution, tour support, licensing — to indie musicians on a subscription model. The only thing they don’t supply is emo hair.

Forecast: Tough to call. In the era of musicians ditching the major label machinery and selling their music directly, will this strike a note? (

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