A Thriving Tech Scene in Tahoe

January 15, 2014

A Thriving Tech Scene in Tahoe

I moved back to Truckee from San Francisco right at the end of the first dot com bubble in 2000 partly to escape the craziness that that was brewing in the tech world and making the Bay Area almost unlivable. Truckee was a welcome breath of fresh air. The entrepreneurs here were starting small bricks-and-mortar businesses and talk about “VCs, angel investors, and IPOs” was replaced with “live-work balance, taking powder days, and Tahoe time.” Best of all, “networking” meant handing out business cards and sipping free wine at Chamber mixers.

Startup weekends bring developers, entrepreneurs, and investors together.

But that was more than a decade ago, and recently I’ve started to miss things about the tech world, especially with the new boom that’s happening down in the Bay. And while the tech world has always been a part of Tahoe - current tech execs snatch up second homes and shuttle their families to Mighty Mights on weekends, former tech execs move up full time and start funds with the Community Foundation, and stories are told of companies being formed over coffee in downtown Truckee* - there’s always been a noticeable lack of a full-time, tech-centered community, at least among the circles I run in.

*Media darling, and my husband’s current employer, Workday, was supposedly started over brunch at the Truckee Diner.

That seems to be changing, due in part to an active, energetic, and dedicated group of locals with a passion for technology, entrepreneurism, and investment. Two groups, Silicon Mountain and Thrive Tahoe, meet monthly and have organized the inaugural Tahoe Startup Weekend this March – a 54-hour event that brings developers, designers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts together to share ideas, build products, and launch startups.

So, if like me, you're missing your tech networking in Tahoe, go check out one of these groups.

Silicon Mountain

A group for the "Silicon Valley-types" who live in (or frequently come to) the Truckee-Tahoe region, the main purpose of this group is to organize local, in-person networking meetings and facilitate online networking of like-minded entrepreneurs and technology professionals. Meetings focus on introducing people who are involved in the technology industry, learning how others run technology companies in “the mountains,” sharing job opportunities, and exchanging ideas.

The monthly meetings at Pizza on the Hill in Tahoe Donner include a presentation/discussion and time for networking.

More info can be found at www.tahoesiliconmountain.com

Thrive Tahoe

Thrive Tahoe exists to foster the growth of entrepreneurism in the Tahoe region through mentorship, education and community.

The group meets monthly on Thursday evenings and features networking and presentations by local entrepreneurs, technology professionals, and start-up companies.

More info can be found on their LinkedIn page, and the www.thrivetahoe.com website is coming soon.

Tahoe Startup Weekend

Tahoe Startup weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies, and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening, teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.

More info can be found on the event’s website: http://tahoe.startupweekend.org/