Small Business Blog
5 Reno startups recognized for bringing 125 tech jobs, millions in investment
June 5, 2018
This one’s for the little guys.
Five Reno startups, including a company that caters to endurance athletes and one that specializes in connected products — the Internet of Things in geek speak — were recognized by city and state officials on Tuesday for raising funding and creating high-paying jobs in the Biggest Little City.
Breadware, The Sufferfest, Talage, MyVR and Bombora were touted by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve for bringing 125 new tech jobs to the area and successfully raising more than $10 million dollars in funding. The average annual wage for those jobs is $77,000.
"We’re at the brink of a fourth industrial revolution, a new economy," Sandoval said. "This community … has to be at the foundation and at the beginning of this fourth industrial revolution so we can position this state as the new economy establishes itself."
In recent years, moves by Tesla, Switch and recent newcomer Google to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center just east of Reno-Sparks in Storey County have received plenty of attention in and out of the area.
Although moves by big companies get most of the attention in Northern Nevada, however, smaller startups also play an important role to the area, said Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
“Many of us have been to or heard about announcements of the larger companies over the past several years but these smaller start-up companies are just as important to the long-term success and diversification of our economy.”
Breadware, which provides development solutions related to the Internet of Things, just finished a round of $2 million in seed funding. The company moved to Reno from California last year.
Talage, which provides an insurance marketplace in the digital space for small businesses, is also close to announcing its own round of funding. Bombora, a business-to-business startup that expanded to Reno from New York just a few years ago recently hired more people.
The remaining startup were recognized for recently expanding into Reno. MyVR, a multi-channel management platform provider for vacation rental businesses, started in the Biggest Little City a couple of months ago while The Sufferfest, which provides an app-based training system for cyclists and triathletes, expanded into the area last month.
The event is part of efforts by state and local officials to encourage more startups to consider Reno and Nevada as a whole as a viable location to start or grow a business. Several of the startups were Reno Collective workspace users that have since grown and moved on to their own offices. The companies also featured a mix of out-of-state and homegrown companies.
Rob Armstrong, Bombora co-founder, says expanding into Reno three years ago was considered a risk, including by some members of the company’s brain trust. Seattle and Austin, for example, were touted as better locations for setting up a new western foothold, especially for finding qualified workers.
Today, the Reno branch accounts for 45 of Bombora’s more than 100 employees, the most out of all its locations. The company also has 37 University of Nevada, Reno graduates working throughout Bombora.
“My favorite part of the story is how Reno won the hearts and minds of people across the company, including those who were initially skeptical,” Armstrong said. “Reno went from being a wild experiment to a sure strategic advantage for Bombora.”
Other companies were either started in Reno or had former residents who wanted to return to the Biggest Little City after stints in places like the Bay Area. Talage, for example, has several native Nevadans in its leadership team. This includes CEO Adam Kiefer, who played on former Wolf Pack football coach Chris Ault’s championship teams.
“Talage was founded right here (in Reno),” Kiefer said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Northern Nevada used to be a place that startups would go to while looking for something different from the Bay Area, Kazmierski said. Slowly but surely, the region is gaining awareness within the industry. Whether it be the arrival of big companies and small startups or even connected projects such as LimeBike, Reno-Sparks is steadily elbowing its way into the tech conversation.
“(For these companies) to make that leap of faith and land here is so important,” Kazmierski said. “We’re starting to become less different and that’s exactly where we want to be.”
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