For show-stopping tech performance, Henderson, NV provides the best seat in the house.
April 6, 2021
Whether it was Oculus Rift making an eye-opening debut in 2013, Nest showing it had wings to fly in 2015, or the GM Bolt ready to roll in 2016, the news at CES has always been big. Since moving to the Las Vegas Valley in 1998, the blockbuster annual tech tradeshow has been a place where innovations wow the world, where partnerships are born and connections are forged. At first, back in the early days, attendees and exhibitors thought of Henderson, Nevada as the best choice for a comfortable stay just minutes from the convention in an attractive, low-cost city that also happens to be one of the safest in the nation.
And then a funny thing has happened on the way to CES: Tech enterprises and tech entrepreneurs discovered that Henderson is not only the “best seat in the house” for the annual CES, the city is also one of the best year-round stages in the world for launching and nurturing high-performance technology enterprises.
That’s why tech companies are now coming to Henderson for good, putting down roots and flourishing.
A textbook example of cluster advantages.
“Clusters extend key competitive advantages in any sector,” notes Derek Armstrong, Henderson’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “In tech, that’s especially true. But clusters evolve and arise in new places as maturing clusters face challenges like shrinking space and rising costs. In Southern Nevada, none of those problems exist. Our tech cluster is robust and growing rapidly, and Henderson companies are in an ideal position to reap the benefits.”
Already the success stories are impressive: Google, which began work on its $600 million data center here in 2019, announced in the fall of 2020 it will double its investment to $1.2 billion. Other companies have also found Henderson a powerful place to thrive. K-2, a leading provider of Lithium ion energy storage, was founded in 2006 in Henderson incubator space, and by 2017, the company had surpassed $100 million in revenue. Established in Henderson in 2004, VadaTech, maker of embedded computer solutions, now supplies the world through a global footprint while keeping its headquarters, design center and two large manufacturing facilities here in Henderson.
Armstrong suggests that tech prospers in Henderson because the city offers key “pro-business fundamentals,” such as:
- Lower costs, including utility rates and property tax rates that are 30% below the rest of the region, to support profitability;
- Reduced regulations, including a streamlined startup process that cuts red tape and increases operational ease;
- Abundant selection in office and work settings, including more than 20 million square feet of office and industrial space;
- A flowing talent pipeline in an area with 2 million in population within a 30-minute radius, and a large concentration of diverse workers under the age of 40.
Equally critical is Henderson’s quality of life, allowing tech workers to enjoy affordable housing, superb schools, spectacular outdoor recreation and the excitement of an emerging pro-sports hub.
In those fundamentals Henderson epitomizes what might be called a textbook example of a nurturing tech environment. In a 2020 working paper on tech clusters from the Harvard Business School, authors William R. Kerr and Frederick Robert-Nicoud propose that cities looking to grow a tech cluster should focus on the reduction of “local costs to experimentation with ideas, alongside the provision of a good quality of life.”
Eyes on the horizon.
Today, ideas and innovations are flowing across the Las Vegas Valley, in established giants like Switch and Zappos and Scientific Games, and in new companies driving growth through technology in areas from childcare to banking to prison communications, and creating innovations in cybersecurity, streaming services, AI-powered social data and conversion technology, and much more.
Since Nevada became the first state in the nation to legalize autonomous vehicle testing, Southern Nevada has taken the driver’s seat with innovations like FAST (Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation), one of the country’s first integrated intelligent transportation systems, which supports data exchange for testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.
“We never stand still here in Southern Nevada,” Armstrong notes. “And we’ve always got our eyes on the horizon."
After the pandemic moved CES 2021 online, CES 2022 will return to the Valley January 5 through January 8, 2022, with more than 4,000 exhibitors from across the world expected, and attendance approaching 200,000. And while once-a-year headlines will surely result, one piece of news is already known: that Henderson, Nevada is a great place for show-stopping tech performance all year round.
Kerr, W.R. & Robert-Nicoud, F. (2020). Tech Clusters. Boston: Harvard Business School. Retrieved from