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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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Jacobs Entertainment Announces Sands Connect — Sands Connect, a brand-new gathering space on West Fourth Street will be located between Gold Dust West and Sands Regency as part of Reno’s Neon Line District. The area will include a festival tent and an open promenade which will provide a location for community events, festivals, private gatherings and more. Construction began March 1, 2020. 

Northern Nevada HOPES Receives Over $440,000 from the Kidview Foundation to Enhance Pediatric Services — The grant will be used to enhance and expand HOPES’ pediatric services. Northern Nevada HOPES provides pediatric care for over 2,500 kids in our community. HOPES’ pediatric patients have access to cutting-edge, integrative services including nutrition, an onsite pharmacy, labs, x-ray, behavioral health and more.

Gov. Sisolak Appoints Jerrie Merritt to Cannabis Compliance Board — Since 2004, Merritt has worked for the Bank of Nevada – most recently serving as Senior Vice President Division CRA Community Development Manager. Her primary focus is to strengthen existing client relationships and build strong community partnerships. Merritt will be eligible for reappointment on July 1, 2021.

44-Year-Old Nevada Nonprofit Celebrates Grand Opening of Reno Pediatric Therapy Clinic — Capability Health & Human Services, the state’s largest private-sector provider of the pediatric rehabilitation program known as Early Intervention Services, has a growing presence in Northern Nevada and recently celebrated the Grand Opening of its Pediatric Therapy Clinic in Reno with an event that included tours of the Clinic located at 5250 Neil Road, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception. 

Lisa Genasci Welcomed as New Chief Grants Officer for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada — Genasci brings with her more than 20 years of experience in grant and proposal writing, including the submission of more than $1 billion dollars in grants and proposals for the corporate, non-profit, and state sectors. As chief grants officer, Genasci will direct and coordinate CCNN’s process for government and private foundation grant submissions in order to support the short- and long-term strategic plan.

Early-career Investigator in Mechanical Engineering Wins Prestigious Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Research — Floris van Breugel, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received a 2020 Sloan Fellowship in Neuroscience for his research program that aims to unravel the mechanisms underlying sensory integration during natural search behavior using fruit flies as a model system. 

The Discovery Selected to Join the Cultural Competence Learning Institute — The 7th Cohort of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) is a national effort designed to help museums focus on 21st Century skills that are relevant to advancing their cultural competency. The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum was selected from a field of more than 20 applicants, based on the organization’s current efforts and best practices as a culturally inclusive organization.

– 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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