Tapping into Reno’s Startup Ecosystem
A guide for aspiring entrepreneurs
Six years ago, what is now referred to as the “startup ecosystem” was practically nonexistent. The Entrepreneurial Development team at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) was created to grow and develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Nevada, along with the help of many vital community partners.
The team works to connect companies with key individuals and resources, fostering the growth of angel and venture capital and helping startups understand the benefits of expanding or relocating to Northern Nevada.
The startup world is extremely complex; the term “it takes a village” is very much applicable here. An entrepreneur needs mentorship, funding (a lot of it) and great employees.
With that, here are a few of the many key parts that make up the ecosystem and how to get involved. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur with the next big idea, an existing or prospective investor, or are just looking to get a feel for what startup companies exist here and want to get involved at some level, these organizations and programs are a place to start.
UNR’s Innevation Center, photo courtesy University of Nevada, Reno
Reno’s Startup Resources
Reno Startup Deck: The Startup Deck features 52 key entrepreneurial people, programs, events and places listed so that anyone new to the region, or unfamiliar with the network, can become engaged. Visit renostartupdeck.com to identify relevant resources.
UNR Innevation Center: University of Nevada, Reno’s Innevation Center collaborative space is designed to encourage startup activity and technology development to create new businesses in Nevada, as well as to provide a gateway between the university and the community under the umbrella of innovation. Anyone in the community can become a member—entrepreneurs, startup companies and creatives—with privileges to the makerspaces, conference rooms, special events, co-working and networking opportunities. Contact Rosanne Catron, email@example.com.
Reno Collective: The Reno Collective is another coworking space offering café desks, resident desks, conference rooms and a podcasting and maker studio. Housed in the Midtown mansion that was previously a recording studio used by big-names artists such as Dr. Dre and Eminem, it’s truly a unique space to get the creative juices flowing. Contact Colin Loretz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam’s Hub: A state-of-the-art startup incubator and coworking habitat in Carson City, Adam’s Hub fosters creativity and innovative thinking throughout the community. Contact Valerie Cauhape, email@example.com.
America’s SBDC Nevada: This organization guides and assists Nevadans looking to start and grow businesses, with objectives to increase business starts, create and retain jobs, and increase access to capital. One-on-one counseling services are free and confidential. Nevada SBDC also offers and coordinates a wide range of workshops and courses in collaboration with public and private entities.
Summit VMS: Summit Venture Mentoring Service makes the necessary connections between entrepreneurs and new ventures with a team of experienced mentors to produce high-growth companies. Contact Jeff Saling, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nevada Center for Applied Research: This applied research and development technology center serves to enhance the global competitiveness of Nevada industry by leveraging the physical and intellectual assets of the University of Nevada, Reno. It provides a central and public access point to the university’s facilities and equipment, and functions as a one-stop shop for applied research.
SCORE: SCORE connects entrepreneurs with mentors to help build or expand their business with free guidance, workshops and online resources.
NCET: Northern Nevada’s largest educational and networking organization, NCET is a member-supported 501(c)(3) Nevada nonprofit that produces programs and events to help people explore business and technology. Contact Dave Archer, email@example.com.
Girlmade: This company helps women play big through professional training, networking and mentorship programs. Contact Lauren Klein, firstname.lastname@example.org.
StartUpNV: StartUpNV engages new and experienced entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries and business sectors. The organization offers an opportunity to go from idea through beta testing to a revenue-producing business—with the appropriate capitalization for growth. Contact Jeff Saling, email@example.com.
Antonio Rangel and Casandra Carrasco work at University of Nevada, Reno’s Innevation Center, photo courtesy University of Nevada, Reno
Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers and business development folks come together to pitch an idea and launch a business, all in one weekend.
Biggest Little Startup Fair: The event looks to foster a thriving startup community and to raise awareness about startup jobs in Northern Nevada. It brings together local startups, students and faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno, Truckee Meadows Community College and other community members from the Greater Reno-Sparks-Tahoe area.
Maker Faire: The Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments and projects.
One Million Cups: Every Wednesday at the Innevation Center, two startups get the opportunity to present to an audience and receive feedback. This free event is a great way to start meeting people within the ecosystem and listening to the ideas that are produced in the community. The event is also live-streamed. Contact Nate Digangi at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to apply to present.
Angel Investor Conference: To be held annually starting in spring of 2019, the Angel Investor Conference will feature five to 10 companies that will compete for funding awarded at the event.
Photo courtesy EDAWN
• Reno Angels
• Watershed Growth Ventures
• Battle Born Ventures
• Sierra Angels
• Ozmen Ventures
• Audacity Fund
• InNEVator Fund
• The Reno Seed Fund: The RSF is currently raising funds with the help of a federal seed fund support grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The goal is to fill the void of early-stage capital available to companies and drive the participation of local investors into new seed funds. The fund hopes to reach $2.5 million in the first year and increase annually, while encouraging female and minority participation. The Reno Seed Fund aims to be closed by early 2019.
A list of key people and resources can be found on EDAWN’s Startup Deck at renostartupdeck.com, or email email@example.com to get your own deck. Feel free to sign up for the Startup Digest to receive more information weekly about news and events happening.