Rob Armstrong, co-founder of Bombora, was looking to expand R&D operations westward from their Manhattan headquarters. Where Bombora landed might surprise many. But it shouldn’t. The company, founded in 2014, is a startup in the AdTech sector providing B2B demographic and intent data for marketers worldwide. By aggregating users into demographic segments, it deploys tracking mechanisms across various actions to include search, white paper downloads, webinars, trade show sign ups, article reads, videos, social content, IPs, and more.
Northern Nevada, specifically Reno, is quickly becoming the place companies are looking to as a strategic location to increase their bottom line by taking advantage of a business-friendly environment for some of the their most crucial business functions. The question for Rob was, as an emerging startup community, would Reno’s expansionary ‘near shore’ opportunities be big enough to close the midcap gap for companies like his, in much larger markets, to build new and/or satellite operation centers? Rob is highly outspoken when he states that, “Reno is undergoing a renaissance of sorts, is highly underrated and largely misunderstood.” As others continue to follow, that perception has begun to, and will continue to change.
Ask almost any business owner why Northern Nevada is prime for continued economic growth and almost unilaterally you’ll hear two key words; “business friendly.” But what does that mean exactly and is it easy to take advantage of?
Northern Nevada has the ambition to be a vibrant hub for growth, entrepreneurship, and broader economic development. When speaking to the greater Reno-Sparks area itself, over 100 companies have relocated in the last three years and Reno itself is ranked as one of the 14 best startup cities in America. Reno also offers a wealth of room for new and expanding companies with over 72 million square feet of industrial and commercial office space and much more to come by way of exciting large scale commercial projects on the horizon.
As recently as August, 2016, an EDAWN (Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada) report stated that the region is on track to meet the projected 52,000-plus new jobs and 47,000-plus new residents by 2020. EDAWN continues to be successful in drawing new and retaining expanding companies in our region.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, recently said that, “As of the second quarter of 2016, Nevada has the sixth fastest growing private sector in the nation with a growth rate of 3.2 percent.” Only Utah, Idaho, Florida, Oregon and Georgia realized stronger job growth than the Silver State during the first half of the year.
Speaking specifically of business tax advantages, the comparative data points speak volumes. Rob noted that, “Our move to Reno didn’t primarily start as a tax related conversation, but as we conducted our due diligence on the topic, it became abundantly clear that the benefits went far deeper than we initially anticipated.”
Beyond tax incentives, there are also substantial operating advantages that Northern Nevada offers. Located centrally among the 11 western states, greater Reno-Tahoe enjoys a strategic location as a hub for distribution materials throughout the Western United States. Reno also offers connectivity related benefits. There are currently over 550 fiber lit buildings which offer over 1,400 miles of fiber by way of an easily integrated Ethernet-based service, and that’s just the beginning of what’s to come via access to the Switch Data Center and their upcoming “Superloop” expansion. Switch’s Adam Kramer went on to say, “We’ll have 50 million people within 14 milliseconds of the world’s largest technology systems.”
What of access to human capital and resources? With the University of Nevada’s flagship campus based in Reno (UNR), the city is training the next generation of high-tech workers. UNR alone has more than 21,000 students and data science degrees were important to Bombora. Not to mention that Reno is ranked in the top 35 best cities for millennials to work based on a recent EDAWN study.
A “business friendly” environment isn’t where the benefits to the “Reno equation” ends either. The Northern Nevada cost of living deltas speak volumes. Relative to cost of living all-up, Reno is 76.1 percent less expensive than New York City, and San Francisco is 79.9 percent more expensive than Reno. For Bombora, given that statistic, there really are no benefits to traveling further west than Reno.
Did Reno hit the mark for Bombora? “In a word, absolutely!” says Rob. “The results we’ve seen far exceeded our expectations. From a fiscal perspective over our NYC headquarters, we’re saving close to $40k a month in lease costs, and Reno landlords seem more willing to work with us by way of lease flexibility and build out costs.”
By choosing to locate their new offices in Reno, Bombora has created an opportunity to position themselves as entrepreneurial leaders in the Northern Nevada market. Rob summed things up nicely when he said, “Yes, the numbers make the case and tell the story but, beyond a fiscal discussion, Reno has become the home I was hoping to find. It met the criterion we had and I look forward to seeing momentum gains realized by others looking to do the same. What strikes me is that Reno isn’t trying to become the next Austin or the next Portland. Reno, in fact, is aiming to become the next Reno; Reno 2.0 if you will and that’s what excites me the most.”
Dave Hartman is Founder and CEO of Dogma Consulting, LLC