Getting the Word Out: inqiri and the “Startup State”

The last couple of weeks have been quite exciting for all of us at inqiri, and I wanted to share some of the highlights. Being in a startup that is growing quickly and involved with several initiatives in the Reno startup community, it is important to reflect on the experience. Otherwise, all we will remember is how the landscape looked from the window of a speeding train – just a blur.

A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal ran a very nice profile on inqiri. We were interviewed by Jason Hidalgo, who covers technology in the northern Nevada area for the RGJ. We spoke about the inqiri concept and how we were helping organizations improve decisions.  He did a great job of capturing the message, translating it into an interesting article, and bonus, he included references to our Zombie Apocalypse inqiri.

inqiri CEO & Co-Founder, James Elste, and Chief Data Architect & Co-Founder, Travis Schwieger, are interviewed by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
inqiri CEO & Co-Founder, James Elste, and Chief Data Architect & Co-Founder, Travis Schwieger, are interviewed by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

One of the initiatives we have been spearheading, with several other local startup leaders, is the establishment of “Reno Startup Row.” The startup community in Reno is thriving and growing organically. We are organizing among the local startups and creating a sense of identity and community to promote the outstanding environment and support for entrepreneurs in Reno.

Reno Startup Row culminates in the identification of 1st Street in Reno as the physical nexus of many of our startups. We have established a website that lists companies located on Startup Row, along with members of the startup community located around the area. In addition to the website, and to provide a physical sense of identity, we have had banners placed along 1st Street marking the boundaries of Startup Row and drawing attention to the 1st street area as the hub of entrepreneurship in Reno.

The Reno Startup Row effort culminated in Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s press conference on February 27th. Governor Sandoval spoke about the importance of entrepreneurship to the Nevada economy and praised the efforts of the Reno startup community. He highlighted the potential that each startup represents and the energy of the community.

Governor Sandoval said something very powerful: “We’ve always called ourselves the Silver State, but now we should rename it and call it the Startup State.” Nevada has had to fight its way back from the economic collapse. But hearing Gov. Sandoval announce that in the last three years, the state has added 60,000 new jobs is proof of that the people of Nevada are hard working and resilient.

Governor Sandoval signs a Reno Startup Row banner, nicknaming Nevada, "The Startup State."
Governor Sandoval signs a Startup Row banner, nicknaming Nevada, “The Startup State.”

I had the distinct privilege, along with three other local CEOs and Mike Kazmierski from the Economic Development Association of Western Nevada (EDAWN), to speak at the press conference. Each of the speakers discussed their companies, growth potential, and why they found Reno an appealing location to start and grow their business. Eric Jennings of Pinoccio, Nate Pearson of TrainerRoad, and Joe Salesky of ustyme each brought their diverse experiences and specialties to the discussion and add incredible value to Startup Row. A special thanks is in order to Colin Loretz and the Reno Collective for hosting the event.  It was a unique experience for all of us, and I know that it helped to further galvanize the startup community. We made a video of the presentations and have posted it to our YouTube Channel and on the Reno Startup Row website.

The inqiri team at the Governor's Press Conference. From Left to Right: Travis Schwieger, James Elste, Seth Voltz, and Chris O'Sullivan.
The inqiri team at the Governor’s Press Conference. From Left to Right: Travis Schwieger, James Elste, Seth Voltz, and Chris O’Sullivan.

To round things out, last Saturday I appeared on Mike Bosma’s radio program on KOH “Bosma on Business” where we discussed inqiri and the challenges of running a startup. It was an interesting discussion and we covered a variety of topics. In the hour-long dialogue, we had the opportunity to explain the inqiri concept, our current state, and some of our goals for external fundraising. It was an interesting experience and in many respects, the conversation between breaks was almost as useful as what we discussed on air.

Over the last couple of weeks, the events we attended and opportunities to spread the inqiri message have amounted to an unplanned, but welcome PR campaign. We have had great feedback and have generated even greater interest in the inqiri solution.

Next week, we will be traveling to the Re:Think 2014 Conference hosted by the Advertising Research Foundation. We are looking forward to continuing our forward momentum and to speaking with other dynamic industry leaders. Organizations that seek to improve decisions by applying state of the art technology are looking to inqiri to provide a solution.