Congratulations to the Reno News & Review for coming back like a Phoenix from the ashes! Many didn’t know what a benefit this rag and its website are to all in Northern Nevada and California … until it disappeared. We have been informed and entertained by this publication for many years—and many small businesses and startups used this pub to reach the people who make things happen.

To the point above: We are launching this new column, which will feature a multitude of voices and information not available anywhere else. It will be focused on startups; tech; business; cool initiatives at the University of Nevada, Reno; and local entrepreneurs changing various pieces of the world. These columns will be from numerous authors and standpoints, and I am honored to launch this endeavor as a longtime reader and serial startup protagonist here in Reno and Tahoe.

The Reno 911! days are long gone, and the spirit of our economic success is due in great part to the people and organizations mentioned here that most of you have never heard of … but you should!

There has been such a tremendous momentum shift in the local startup arena in the last 20 years. Economic development agencies like the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) in Reno and Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) in Carson City are charged with helping startups, bringing businesses to the area and nurturing them when they get here. The chambers of commerce organize small businesses, with some political activism sprinkled in. By all counts, these organizations and other government agencies have done a phenomenal job of attracting companies here, from over the hill and elsewhere. I have personally worked with these groups while building an award-winning nonprofit, founded in 2011 and wholly dedicated to startup and founder mentoring (

I moved here in ’99 to help build a dotcom. A few of us saw a huge gap in support for startups and founders, so we began dedicating ourselves (under the radar) to helping founders get started and get through the tough times. No one knows what a founder goes through—except another founder. So we’ve been bringing founders together to collaborate and solve each other’s problems for more than a decade. We’ve helped create and mentor some very well-known startups in Nevada and are prepping to assist many more in 2023 and beyond.

Much of the growth of the Reno startup community, and its newfound reputation as a startup hub, are due to several people and organizations that have gone unheralded and relatively under the radar, like The folks mentioned here are representative of many who have served the Reno/Tahoe entrepreneurial success story, and we applaud the many others who have helped build this unique and awesome ecosystem in Nevada over the last 20 years.

Buy Nevada First founder Dave Asher has been a huge catalyst over these last 15 years, by sponsoring and leading the small retail business community, and getting locals to honor the “Buy Nevada” mantra. (You’ve seen the little green stickies on the backs of Toyotas all over Reno.) My longtime colleague and friend Dave Archer started TechAlliance (today’s NCET), which began to get the word out about the nascent tech community we had in ’99. NCET has had an incredible impact on the local community and awareness for startups and tech. NCET attracts many different supporters for all walks of the business community, and we are a better business community due to Dave’s contributions.

Dave Croasdell, Dick Bartholet and Mark Pingle, all up in the University of Nevada, Reno, College of Business, have been working with community, student and faculty startups for more than a decade now, helping build “hometown” companies. These gents have created dozens of opportunities to keep the smart people here, building this new economy and adding to the building local reputation.

Further up the hill at UNR, there is the ARF lab (Applied Research Facility), run by my buddy Carlos Cardillo, where anyone with technology needing a lab, a group of really smart engineers and/or other resources can access some of the most brilliant minds in Reno/Tahoe. They have various tech, specialized machines and cutting-edge research labs for battery technologies, medical technologies, remote sensing, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicle research and other cutting edge applications. It is one of the leading university labs in the U.S., collaborating with locals who are dedicated to changing the world (and Reno) for the better.

The Small Business Development Center up on campus (SBDC) is a free program, funded by the Small Business Administration, with personnel dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get a business or startup organized, with demographics, geographic information, business plan templates, guidance, recommendations and comprehensive statistics. Its free to you—no kidding! The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship at the UNR College of Business has resources for students, faculty and staff and community members who wish to tie into the resources up on campus. The Sontag competition also awards a student-lead startup $50,000, free and clear, to launch their biz.

The last needed pieces for a successful startup ecosystem involve adequate funding. Former EDAWN executive (and longtime friend) Bryan McArdle has been another incredible talent who started rallying for startup dollars. The old Startup Weekend events and the Angel Pitchfest events we co-hosted began to build awareness of Reno as a startup hub. He then acquired a grant to create a startup marketing conference, which helped launch what are now three accelerators looking for scalable tech companies in Nevada.

At the state level, we need to shout out Karsten Heise, senior director of strategic programs and innovation at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. He has created and built several funds for Nevada-based startups in tech and the university. With his work, we now have a national incubator putting our startups into the national spotlight.

All of the above players have spent thousands of hours over the decades (often for zero remuneration) helping create this incredible business environment. The Reno 911! days are long gone, and the spirit of our economic success is due in great part to the people and organizations mentioned here that most of you have never heard of … but you should!

In this column, we will be showcasing the incredible people and businesses right here in your big beautiful back yard. If you have an interesting startup, founder, business or nonprofit we should feature here, please email me:

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