In 2005 the economy was still booming and across the US, the talk among economic development pundits was how important entrepreneurs and small businesses are to economic growth. The talk was happening in Reno as well. In the Fall of 2005, Ky Good and Larry Udell met with Dr. Ted Batchman, former UNR Dean of Engineering, and Robert Herbert from Senator Harry Reid’s office. The topic was simple, “what was driving the decline of US born students in technology and science programs in US colleges and universities?” The discussion resulted in a clear fork in the road, either complain about it or do something about it! Thus we chose to start down the path of exploring the need and eventual creation of the Center for Unique Business Enterprises (CUBE) – a Start-Up Incubator to support entrepreneurs and the emerging entrepreneurial eco-system in northern Nevada.
Many people and organizations, local, national and international, were brought into the conversation over the next year while gathering information on the market need, generating interest and finding funding to set up an Incubator program and provide seed capital to high potential, scalable, technology focused startup companies.
In the Fall of 2006, Ky and his team met with Stephen Wells, President of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to discuss a collaborative effort. DRI saw the need for an incubator and was considering starting one on their campus, but there were still gaps to fill (partners, clients and $$) before moving forward. Talks continued and eventually the CUBE became the official incubator of DRI and saw LoadIQ, which was founded by Dr Hampden Kuhns and a member of DRI, move into the CUBE in 2011.
In early 2007 while walking the floor at NCET’s Expo, Ky met Norman Smith and coerced him into helping out. In 2008, a formal exploratory team of eight people met at SilverSky’s offices to validate the market to determine (as all startups should do) market size, target industries, key personnel, etc. It was decided that northern Nevada needed a place for entrepreneurs to get mentoring and help in growing their businesses.
In August 2009 and with great support from Basin Street Properties, the CUBE opened its doors as C4CUBE in downtown Reno. For the next 5 years the CUBE team developed and taught entrepreneur workshops at UNR, SNC, and TMCC and conducted countless in-house educational programs. The CUBE also established and conducted a monthly investor event called Business Opportunity Forums (BOF) to showcase startup and early stage investor ready companies to potential investors. The first BOF was held at NV Energy in July of 2009. Six companies were showcased to over 100 attendees. One of these companies, Power.com, was the first startup to receive funding ($5M) through their association with the CUBE.
In 2010, Lynne Keller joined Ky and Norman and helped guide them with her vast array of contacts and some practical sense.
Since 2009, 260 potential startups have been screened, 158 have presented at BOF’s and 27 have received funding through their association with and mentoring at The CUBE.
In October 2014, the CUBE moved from our downtown offices at 300 E. Second Street to our current location at 800 Haskell St. in the heart of Reno’s Midtown district. We are one block west of Virginia St. along West Taylor Street, within walking distance to downtown and the river.
In addition to moving, we recognized that northern Nevada had changed and so we also had to change. We changed our name from C4CUBE to The CUBE @ Midtown. We added three new team members. We reset our mission and focus. In short, we adapted to better serve the rapidly expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem of Northern Nevada.
We have always been excited by and committed to the revitalization of Reno’s Entrepreneurial and Small Business communities. With Midtown emerging as one of the more energetic epicenters of this revitalization, we had the opportunity to be part of this growth, so we loaded up the trucks and made the move!
It is exciting to feel the vibe of Midtown, and it reminds us that these dynamic changes require all of us, who serve the startup community, to step out of our comfort zone to meet the challenging demands. The young, vibrant and innovative nature of Midtown will help us attract and retain the creative talent that is helping to transform Reno into an extraordinary place to live and grow. This is exciting!
Our new home at 800 Haskell Street is constantly in makeover mode. In April, 2015, the outside was painted and landscaped with the help of a grant from Microsoft and 100 Microsoft employees. If you are in the area, stop in for a tour, or join us on a Tuesday or Thursday for an informative “lunch and learn” session.