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This entrepreneur wants Tahoe to be a mini Silicon Valley

Elevate Blue is hoping to bring a little Silicon Valley to Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe is known for its unbelievably blue water, first-class recreation and, if a local entrepreneur has his way, will one day be known for its tech startup scene.

That's one of the goals of Elevate Blue, a startup incubator in Incline Village launched in October 2015 by Jameson Stafford.

"The inside feels like San Francisco," Stafford said, referring to his company's location on Tahoe Boulevard. "But outside it's different. It's great because you get to have that lifestyle where you're out on the lake, you're up on the mountains, you're doing all the things that you want to do. There's no traffic and it's just a really cool lifestyle."

Since its October 2015 launch, Elevate Blue has helped start companies like PetSurf, Likemoji and KickParty. Elevate Blue shares its prime location with Samba TV, a company based in San Francisco that opted to open up a Tahoe office.

"A good chunk of our people wanted to be in Tahoe on the weekends and some of them were taking off mid-day Friday and so we actually said, 'Well, why don't we just have an office in Tahoe?'" Ashwin Navin, CEO and co-founder of Samba TV, said.

Stafford hopes he can actually utilize the hours-long distance from the Bay Area to his advantage.

"(This area) has students that are sort of underserved. Students at UNR and Sierra Nevada College, they don't have the internship opportunities that people do in San Francisco," Stafford said. "So we have that as an asset to us that we can employ contacts with those universities, help those students learn to code and get them involved in businesses."

In the short term, Stafford wants to be launching about one company per month. Long term, the he wants to build an infrastructure center in Reno.

If you have an idea you'd like Elevate Blue to consider for funding, you can enter the company's upcoming pitch competition for a chance to win $1,000 and Elevate Blue's startup acceleration package. The deadline to enter is September 12.


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