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April 16, 2014

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TicketCake settles into downtown, is broker for New Year’s Eve extravaganza

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Leila Navidi

Nicole Critzer and her fiance Reuben Pachito, both of Eugene, Oregon, take a photo of themselves during TributePalooza at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve just after midnight on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.

2008 New Year's Eve on Fremont Street

Jim Seda portrays Gene Simmons in the band The Original Kiss Army during Tribute Palooza, the New Year's Eve party at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

For a split second Wednesday morning, it snowed downtown.

It’s cold. And 10-day forecasts online say it’s going to remain pretty cold at night.

But even on New Year's Eve, when the nighttime temperature will be about freezing, you can still count on partiers to hit the Strip and the annual party on the Fremont Street Experience.

That will never change.

One largely unseen element of the Fremont Street Experience party is different this year, however. A relatively new company called TicketCake is handling ticket sales to the event. (Tickets are $20 if purchased by Thursday; they're $30 after that.)

TicketCake is a downtown-based business, having moved here earlier this year from Utah after winning funding from Vegas Tech Fund, a venture capital group that invests in tech companies it believes will profit and add to the overall culture of downtown Las Vegas.

TicketCake works with small to medium-sized events, says Jacqueline Jensen, chief operating officer. It offers more than a simple conduit to sell tickets; TicketCake allows businesses to see what is driving customers to an event.

“We make trackable links so they can see how much traffic is driven by a different element,” Jensen said. “They can see if the headliner is bringing more traffic, or is it the band, or is it the ads put in a hotel?”

It’s important to businesses, when directing dollars to advertising campaigns, to see where they'll do the most good.

Jensen and Dylan Jorgensen, chief technical officer, moved here after being chosen for investment by Vegas Tech Fund. Both say they were “blown away” by what they found in Las Vegas after visiting here last year to check out the downtown tech scene.

“We didn’t know much about Tony Hsieh,” Jorgensen said of the Zappos CEO, who is putting millions into downtown redevelopment and is on the board of the Tech Fund. “They say you can stay here and look around, then you find this community. It’s a strange twist they give you. People get their minds blown.”

Jorgensen said he’d also never heard of a “return on community” investment strategy, which is used by Vegas Tech Fund.

“Jacqueline had to change our plan to be a return on community (instead of return on investment),” he said. “But it makes sense. You bring a lot to the community as you are waiting to build your product or waiting for the next key feature. It’s less about revenue. I've never seen an investment philosophy like it.”

That doesn’t mean there’s no pressure to produce, Jensen quickly added.

“They talked to about 800 to 900 startups,” she said of Vegas Tech Fund. “And they picked about 12, including us. That’s pressure of a different kind.”

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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