As noted in my about me section, these views are my own and do not represent the views of any organizations I am affiliated with.
It has been almost two weeks since Romotive announced that they are moving to the Bay Area within the next few months. And since then almost every press piece has talked about what a blow the move is to Downtown. Pando Daily, The Las Vegas Weekly, and Inc. all portrayed it as Silicon Valley triumphing over the growing Vegas ecosystem, or more accurately, Vegas losing the the Valley. I’ve got a slightly different take, much more in line with Tech Cocktail and the co-founders of Wedgies. But to talk more about that view, I have to talk more about my own experiences with Romotive.
When I first moved here almost eight months ago, I arrived on a Wednesday night. The following Wednesday I had dinner with a friend in town, but almost every Wednesday night since then starting on August 15th, I have been in Romotive’s offices in the Ogden, partaking in community dinner. It is one of the highlights of my week. I was there when they switched offices, might have been the first guest cook that they had (at least since I got to Vegas anyway), and saw the event range from 20-80 attendees. The nerds at Romo were some of the first friends I made in Las Vegas. With them, I’ve driven to Death Valley, talked about skydiving, and have a tentative plan to take on the spiciest curry in Vegas. Suffice to say, I’ll miss them when they move to the Bay (and I’ll also need to figure out what to do with my Wednesday nights).
The naysayers are right when they say it is a loss for Vegas that Romotive is leaving. But that being said, it is the best move for their company. That also being said, they might be unique in the Vegas Tech fund for companies for which that is true. Romotive’s dream is to have a Romo for every person. In order to do that, they should be in the Bay, closer to strategic partners. Right now Vegas isn’t the place for them to grow, but that doesn’t mean one day Vegas won’t be competitive. Larger companies are becoming more interested in moving to/growing in Vegas, so
By any metric, Romotive has been a success. They came here as a group of three friends with a dream and will two years later as a company of 20 after raising $5 million in Series A from one of the most well known VC firms in the country. They’ve proven that companies can grow and succeed in Vegas. I wish them all the best, and can’t wait for Vegas to get to the point where future companies like Romotive will have a much harder choice to make.