As seen in Northern Nevada Business View

RENO, Nev. — In 2015, Rob Armstrong raised eyebrows when he told his fellow cofounders at Bombora, a New York City-based startup, that he was going to relocate and expand the business from the Big Apple to the Biggest Little City.

"When I said I was moving to Reno, my other cofounders were like … 'that's weird,'" Armstrong said in a June 5 interview with the Northern Nevada Business View.

Sure, Armstrong surveyed other tech-friendly cities, such as Portland, Oregon, but operating in a city that's a stone's throw from the Bay Area won out.

"Reno just seemed so much closer (to Silicon Valley) and more like a place we could really make something special," he said.

Three years later, one could argue Bombora — a provider of intent data for business-to-business marketers — is doing exactly that.

Since launching operations in Northern Nevada, Bambora has grown from 13 employees to 108, with a company-high 45 in Reno. What's more, 37 of those jobs have gone to graduates or student interns of the University of Nevada, Reno, Bombora said.

"It didn't take long for other managers in New York to really start to see the results (coming from Reno) and believe in it," Armstrong said. "Without really having a mission for the (Reno) office, we're the biggest headcount. And that's just happening naturally because hiring managers across the company are deciding to hire here because they're getting the best resources."

Bombora was one of five thriving Reno startups recognized by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve during a June 5 press conference at the downtown Whitney Peak Hotel.

Sandoval and Schieve lauded Bombora, Breadware, The Sufferfest, Talage and MyVR for successfully raising funding and creating a host of high-paying jobs in Northern Nevada.

In all, the five tech startups have acquired more than $10 million in funding and brought more than 125 new tech jobs to the area with an average annual wage of $77,000.

"We are at the brink of a fourth industrial revolution, a new economy," Sandoval said. "This community, and this state, has to be at the foundation and the beginning of this fourth industrial revolution so that we can position this state as the new economy establishes itself … that we have the students, that we have the ecosystem, that we have the environment, and be the community — the state — that everybody else points to as 'this is where we want to be.'"

Indeed, over the past five years, Northern Nevada has grown into a burgeoning tech hub, with giants Tesla, Switch and most recently Google staking flags in the region. Perhaps more quietly, surges of smaller startups have been planting their roots in Reno-Sparks and growing quickly.

Notably, all five startups recognized June 5 have plans to hire anywhere from five to 30 employees in the next year.

"People now realize more so than ever that you can bring a tech company or you can start a tech company here and be successful," said Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. "Six, seven years ago, everyone here said you've go to go to the Bay Area to be successful, you have to go to Austin or somewhere else."

Kazmierski then pointed to Armstrong bringing Bombora to Reno as a shining of example of what Northern Nevada's ecosystem can provide a new startup.

"With leaders like Rob (Armstrong) and others saying, I'm going to take that leap of faith and do something different," Kazmierski said, "we're starting to be less different. We are becoming a hub for tech."