Eight Reno startups getting early stage capital

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Eight Reno startups getting early stage capital

The City of Reno has launched the Reno Accelerator Fund for promising tech startups. Through the program, several entrepreneurs will get up to $20,000 each in early-stage capital.

By the end of June, eight startup companies in Reno will receive funding. Unlike a traditional loan, which must be repaid on a debt schedule, this financing is in the form of convertible debt, which will eventually turn in to equity if the company is successful.

The program is a partnership among the City, NewBean Capital, and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, or EDAWN.

Along with the investment, Doug Erwin with EDAWN says entrepreneurs are getting critical mentorship to help them past the idea-stage by figuring out if there are people who actually want their products.

"So many companies come to me that have put all this money and time into building a product but don't know, really, who their customer is," Erwin explains. "And, so, the idea of an accelerator program is to very quickly understand if what you're trying to build or sell actually meets that need."

That mentorship will also be focused on helping startups fine-tune their pitches for other investors. Erwin says the long-term goal of this program is high quality job growth.

"These types of companies tend to employ more people or at least at a higher wage," he says. "And that has a spill-over effect. People that are making over $20 an hour tend to spend more many in restaurants, spend more money on services, and all of those types of things."

Erwin hopes the program will expand Reno's Startup Row along First Street.