First Hospitality Focus Tech Team Graduates at Iron Yard Ventures
Iron Yard Ventures was ranked as one of the top startup accelerator programs in the United States in both 2015 and 2016. Since 2012, IYV has invested in more than 62 early stage technology companies who have gone on to raise more than $100 million in follow-on funding. No small potatoes especially for the funded programs.
In Spring of this year, Iron Yards Ventures announced a hospitality-focused accelerator for downtown Las Vegas. During November, the team is celebrating the graduation of accelerator Batch 6 (the term for this year’s class), and credits the tech community in Las Vegas for their strong support of this program.
"So many people have been amazing in helping out our companies, but the best I think is yet to come," said Ryan Negri, Managing Director of the accelerator.
Negri points to accelerator mentor Robert Rippee, Director of the Hospitality Lab at the International Gaming Institute, as a valuable mentor to the teams in the program this fall. Rippee met with Nobal Tech, one of the batch startups. The startup creates innovative and intuitive digital interfaces to enhance customer experience and is changing the way people interact with their world.
"Robert Rippee is connecting them with the builder of the new Resorts World casino/hotel and also to the CEO at Wynn," noted Negri. "This could lead to the installation of their mirrors into over 30K rooms."
This year’s cohort has teams from all over the world. Four of the batch talented teams are local to Las Vegas, while others traveled from Atlanta, Calgary, and Johannesburg.
"Curating a diverse cohort comes natural to me, as I’ve grown up in diverse cities and have traveled the country," said Negri. "I don’t see color when I’m being pitched. I don’t hear accents when I evaluate a startup. I look at the team, and how they work together, how they treat each other, and their staff. The person is so much more important than the product. That was my hunch before the program, but the program confirmed that for me. I look at a team and ask, ‘Can this team pivot and still be successful?’"
For other investors and startup accelerators looking to increase their portfolio diversity, Negri suggests searching for underserved companies by targeting underserved cities, programs, and universities.