Last week, FundDat said good bye to Silicon Bayou, hopped on a plane, flew over the Grand Canyon and landed in the middle of the dessert… or as some people call it, Las Vegas! After being named the hottest start up in NOLA a few weeks ago by Tech Cocktail and winning entry into Celebrate, the team from FundDat set out to see what the rest of the country had to offer as startups from all over the country attended the two day conference in Sin City. After giving them a few days to recover, Alex McConduit and Marc Juneau, the Co-founders of FundDat, gave us a rundown on what their experience was like.
Silicon Bayou News: Welcome back! How was Vegas?
Marc Juneau: Vegas was Awesome. I got to meet my Hero, Matt Mullenweg the creator of WordPress! FundDat got to meet amazing entrepreneurs, investors and we had a blast!
Alex McConduit: I enjoyed myself. I was happy to get away and be in the middle of the desert. I’ve never been to Vegas so it’s always nice to visit a new place and meet new people.
SBN: Did either of you win big in the casinos?
AM: I’m up about $40 from the blackjack table but spent way too much money food. I look at it as my investment in their local economy. Now they owe me one… or a couple hundred.
MJ: The first night, my wife Tara and I were up $500 but by the time we left we were down $250. All in all it was fun and we learned way more about blackjack than we did before. tip.. When placing any bet in a table game, place a one dollar chip at the corner of your betting spot every now and then. It’s a tip bet that can get doubled for the dealer if you win your hand. If you do this, the dealer will make sure that the drink waitress stays close by!
SBN: After visiting Vegas, do you all see any similarities/differences in the Las Vegas tech scene and the NOLA tech scene?
AM: I think we are in a similar space; trying to find people with the big ideas, people with specialized skills and the resources to bring them all together. You would think that because Vegas is on the west coast that they would be light years ahead of New Orleans but I don’t think that that’s the case. We’ve had rapid growth here in NOLA and are really close to a tipping point in my opinion.
MJ: As odd as this may sound, I think we are a little bit ahead of the curve. Las Vegas has had a rebirth in their entrepreneurial/tech scene since the revitalization of the Fremont area a few years ago from what I understand. So with that being said, I think it’s a very similar energy and spirit happening there.
SBN: Tell us a little bit about Celebrate. What was it like?
AM: It was nice to be in the room with a bunch of smart, ambitious people from all over the country. I was able to see what people were working on and I had the opportunity to pick their brains. There is some really cool stuff happening out there. I’d like to go back next year if possible.
MJ: It was cool to talk to people about what they were doing. Lots of people were interested in what was happening in New Orleans. A lot of people heard of NOEW and The Idea Village and even NOLA Tech Week. Naturally, they were really interested in hearing about FundDat, so it was nice to get that feedback.
SBN: What companies stood out to you?
MJ: There were a bunch of really cool companies. There was Inktd, a social scheduling platform for tattoo shops. Drinkboard, which is an app about mobile gifting above all else. It allows friends and loved ones to gift drinks, food and other quality goods to each other. There was a virtual receptionist system that enables employees to connect with visitors in the lobby from the convenience of their office called Alice Receptionist. Smart PJ’s for Kids, Apruve, and a bunch more. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on!
SBN: Do you think it was beneficial for FundDat to attend?
AM: Definitely! Not only did we get the opportunity to spread the word about FundDat to a new place but we also had the opportunity to tell people in an entirely different region of the country about the projects on our site. People were really excited about projects like Maker State and Bloom Box Farms and anytime we mentioned New Orleans, people’s ears perked up. People loved our concept and we even got a few project contributions out of it. It was definitely a beneficial experience and we hope to attend next year as well.