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July 23, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Local Motors CEO visits Las Vegas

One of the newest businesses to gain support from VegasTechFund is Local Motors.

Founded five years ago, Local Motors uses crowdsourcing to help in the design of a car, motorcycle or other type of vehicle. John Rogers Jr., president and CEO, last week was in downtown Las Vegas, where VegasTechFund is headquartered. The fund is a tech investment group whose partners include Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Take a visit to Local Motors website to get an idea on what a crowdsourced or community-designed vehicle is, and what one can look like. Essentially, Rogers said, people via the Internet can submit ideas for the design of almost any vehicle component. If an idea is chosen, a royalty is paid to the person who came up with it every time a vehicle using that design is sold.

Local Motors’s site boasts a “virtual community of 30,000” engineers, designers and others who contribute ideas.

Months ago, Local Motors drove one of its Rally Fighters, which the company says is the first car in the world to be designed via crowdsourcing, on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

The company has said the car took 18 months to create, many times faster than the seven years or more it can take for a major car company to create a new model. The car cost about $100,000 and was built by the new owner, with the help of Local Motors team, in a microfactory in Chandler, Ariz.

Rogers has said he wanted to build 2,000 Rally Fighters before moving onto another model.

Though terms of Local Motors deal with VegasTechFund are not public, the fund only invests in businesses that have a focused goal on enhancing “community” in downtown. So it isn’t a stretch to anticipate the building of one of its microfactories in Las Vegas.

What kind of vehicle might be created there is anybody’s guess – Rogers has said in other interviews he wanted to build an affordable $10,000 car and, via crowdsourcing, is currently working on “the ultimate pizza delivery vehicle” for Domino’s Pizza.

Rogers said more announcements would be made about the company’s Las Vegas plans in the coming months.

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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