Downtown Project Forms DTP Ventures Names CEO

February 11, 2015

2:55 am

The Downtown Project, the $350 million revitalization of downtown Las Vegas, has announced the creation of a new entity called DTP Ventures to help provide support for the businesses they've created over the last few years. As part of this move they have appointed downtown mentor and entrepreneur Mark Rowland to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DTP Ventures.

The Downtown Project created DTP Ventures to oversee and run the organization’s owned and operated entities. These businesses include Gold Spike, the Gold Spike Oasis, The Market, Oak & Ivy, The Perch, The Learning Village, the Las Vegas Hostel, and Downtown Container Park. To be clear, DTP Ventures is not a venture fund, but more of a holding company for the portfolio of small businesses that Downtown Project fully owns and operates in downtown Las Vegas.

In addition, DTP Ventures will also provide guidance to the Downtown Project portfolio companies which are privately held but funded by the Downtown Project. This includes all companies within the VegasTechFund portfolio, which has provided seed funding for over 90 tech-enabled startups; the Small Business Fund, which includes various restaurants, community organizations, and other business entities such as Tech Cocktail; and other companies that have received investment under the Downtown Project umbrella such as the 9th Bridge School, Life is Beautiful, SHIFT, Turntable Health, and Inspire Theatre.

“We are excited about the next step in the evolution of Downtown Project. We’ve seen Mark’s impact already on many of our companies and we’re excited to have him on board to focus on taking many of our investments to the next level,” said Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and Downtown Project instigator.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Mark Rowland, as he shared this exciting news in a video interview (below). Rowland, who also serves in a dual role as the CEO of ROCeteer, the DTP-supported company that provides support and guidance for companies within Downtown Project and VegasTechFund, brings more than a decade of retail, hospitality, and tech entrepreneurial leadership experience to his new role.

In the interview, Mark shared his overall excitement about downtown Las Vegas and his new role. He admitted that the initial magic that Tony Hsieh and Fred Mossler had brought that attracted so many tech startups, small businesses, and creative talent is not sustainable. There are over a million residents in Las Vegas metropolitan area – very few whom have spent time in the new downtown, creating a huge audience for Rowland to reach. His goal? Make sure they know that downtown Las Vegas is a safe community for families and a great place to start your entrepreneurial journey.

Find out Rowland's thoughts about how Las Vegas can continue to build itself into a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in our exclusive video interview with DTP Ventures CEO Mark Rowland.

Editor's Note: Tech Cocktail was funded by Downtown Project.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.