Incubator For Tech Companies Set To Open In Reno’s Downtown

August 31, 2009

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Incubator For Tech Companies Set To Open In Reno’s Downtown


Ky Good doesn’t want anyone to settle in at the new business incubator in downtown Reno.

“These are entrepreneurs. I don’t want them comfortable. I want them working and out of there,” says Good, who’s spent three years as one of the organizers of the nonprofit incubator.

Its doors open Tuesday.

The project dubbed C4CUBE” — that’s short for “Center for Unique Business Enterprises” — is designed to move startup technology companies as quickly as possible into successful stand-alone businesses.

About 30 companies are likely to be housed at any time in the 12,000-square-foot CUBE incubator at 300 E. 2nd Street, an office building that overlooks the Reno Aces Ballpark.

Most of those companies, Good said, will call the incubator home for 15 to 36 months as they tap into services ranging from intellectual property lawyers to experts in venture capital.

They’ll wrap up their stay when they’re ready to win backing from venture capitalists, angel investment groups or other investors.

Organizers expect the new companies will create about 300 jobs within the next couple of years.

Norman Smith, who has thirty years of management experience and launched nine companies, is executive director of the incubator.

The incubator initially will focus on companies in green and alternative energy, security and nutraceuticals, but will gradually widen its focus to include start-ups in fields ranging from phototonics to mining technologies and gaming technologies.

Set to move into the incubator as it opens are 3D Armor Systems Inc., a Reno company that’s developing systems to protect soldiers and police, and First Warning Systems Inc., a Reno company that’s working on early detection of breast cancer.

Good says he’s talking with nearly 20 other possible occupants for the incubator, including a number of start-ups from out of state that are interested in moving to Reno.

There’s no shortage of potential entrepreneurs with good ideas in northern Nevada, says Good, and they share hopes of reaching commercial success.

“But,” he adds, “most entrepreneurs don’t know how to get there.”

The incubator’s boost to new companies, many of them in high-skill, high-wage industries, will help diversify the region’s economy, says Lynn Keller, a retired gaming executive who’s among the organizers of C4CUBE.

And that’s music to Chuck Alvey, the president and chief executive of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, the agency charged with developing new jobs in the Reno-Sparks market.

While much of the spotlight falls on efforts to attract new companies to the region, Alvey noted that startups also are a key source of new jobs. As skilled workers have lost their jobs during the downturn, many consider launching their own companies, and Alvey said the incubator provides a resource to begin nurturing new firms.

The creation of new companies also is music to Basin Street Properties, the owner of the office building that will house the incubator.

The company, which recently moved its headquarters to Reno from Petaluma, Calif., long has associated itself with technological startups, says Scott Stranzl, Basin Street’s vice president of leasing. And Basin Street has benefited as growing companies need growing amounts of space for offices and manufacturing facilities.

Both Basin Street and C4CUBE describe their deal for the space at 300 E. 2nd St. as a partnership rather than a lease.

“They’re taking some risks, and we’re taking some risks,” Good says.

Stranzl said Basin Street provided rent and other concessions — including space for monthly meetings to showcase young companies before groups of investors — to C4CUBE.

“We can grow together over the long-term,” he said.

Basin Street also is hopeful it can develop long-term relationships with companies in the incubator, Stranzl said, and it’s hopeful the incubator will help create a critical mass of entrepreneurial and technological companies in northern Nevada.

The incubator also will create a significant pool of downtown workers — 150 to 200 at a time, once it’s at full operation. C4CUBE itself will have a staff of three to oversee the incubator.

Entrepreneur bootcamp

The new business incubator at 300 E. 2nd Street will be among the locations that will host the C4CUBE Bootcamp for entrepreneurs during September.

Some of the participating entrepreneurs will be selected to present their plans to a group of investors Sept. 26.

The all-day Bootcamp sessions are scheduled Sept. 12 at the C4CUBE incubator, Sept. 19 at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Sept. 25 at Truckee Meadows Community College.

An all-day seminar for potential angel investors will run in conjunction with the Sept. 25 session at TMCC.

The investor day on Sept. 26 will be at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. Twelve to 18 companies are expected to make their pitches to a group of potential investors.

For registration information — either for the Bootcamp for entrepreneurs or the angel investor seminar — contact

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