On a crazy and very impressive social experiment by Tony Hsieh to save Las Vegas:
The Downtown Project is hoping to draw 10,000 “upwardly mobile, innovative professionals” to the area in the next five years. And according to Hsieh, he and his team receive requests for seed money from dozens of people every week. In return, the Downtown Project asks not just for a stake in the companies but also for these entrepreneurs to live and work in downtown Las Vegas. (They’re also expected to give back to the community and hand over contacts for future recruits.) In expectation of all these newcomers, the project has already set up at least 30 real estate companies, bought more than 15 buildings and broken ground on 16 construction projects.
For those entrepreneurs who live in other parts of the country, and most do, the question often comes down to how eager they are to relocate to a downtown area filled with liquor stores and weekly hotels. Less than a year after the project was officially established, about 15 tech start-ups have signed on. The first tech investment went to Romotive, a company developing smart-phone-controlled personal robots. Money has also gone to Local Motion, a start-up that designs networks for sharing vehicles, and Digital Royalty, a social-media company.