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BUSINESS NEWS: Reno area seeks to attract venture capital

By John Seelmeyer

A year after a venture capital conference helped convince venture capitalists that Reno and Sparks are homes to startups worthy of their investments, leaders of the local venture capital community are widening their sights to tap larger pools.

The second edition of the Reno Venture Conference on April 21-22 is expected to draw a larger number of potential investors from Silicon Valley and Mountain West region. They’ll be hearing from 10 to 15 startups from Reno and Sparks that are looking for investments to supercharge their growth.

The event, the second of its type, is sponsored by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

Bryan McArdle, EDAWN’s vice president of entrepreneurial development, said the last year has seen a flurry of start-up activity. The InNEVator Accelerator sponsored by the UNR is creating interesting new companies, McArdle said, and other startups are emerging across the region.

The Reno Seed Fund, which invests $500,000 to $1 million in promising companies that are just out of the gate, has invested in five startups in the past year.  They include outfits such as Clickbio, which automates healthcare laboratories, and Panty Drop, which has developed a subscription underwear service for women.

Last year’s edition of the Reno Venture Conference helped pave the way for $1.3 million in venture capital deals that matched local investors with local companies.

Among other things, McArdle said, last year’s conference helped convince venture capitalists that Reno actually is home to companies worthy of investors’ attention. That momentum has grown. 

“A lot has happened since last year as we have more investors, funds, startups and regional partners,” the EDAWN executive said.

For details on the Reno Venture Conference, including registration for startup companies and venture investors, see www.renoventureconference.com.


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– Compiled by Darcy Lenardson

IMAGE: Nearly wall-to-wall desks accommodate a growing staff in Figure Technologies’ new office in downtown Reno. Image: Ryan McGinnis

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