2017: The Year in Review

SUMMARY

As a startup ourselves, 2017 was the year that Adams Hub shifted into high gear, accelerating our role in the Northern Nevada entrepreneurial ecosystem and within the Carson City community.

  • We attracted a variety of exciting new businesses.
  • We recruited a number of highly-qualified new mentors
  • We received growing recognition for the value of our program, both from members and through kudos from the business community.
  • We forged closer ties to local non-profits and were able to offer them, at no charge, a venue for their events, fundraisers and board meetings.
  • While continuing our recruitment of high-growth potential startups, we identified new opportunities to encourage and support local businesses.
  • We hired a visionary new Director for our New Entrepreneur Network, who has strengthened our program to help the area’s young people engage in their education and envision a bigger future for themselves.
  • We created unique new business-education programs in response to community needs.
  • We won new coworking clients and neared 100% occupancy for our private offices, prompting a decision to expand our private office capacity.

 

ADAMS HUB MEMBERS

Our mission is to harness the power of entrepreneurism to improve opportunities and grow new community-engaged businesses, creating more well-compensated jobs and prosperity in our region. In keeping with Nevada’s independent, “Don’t Fence Me In” spirit, our Carson City facility and its programs were designed differently than a traditional incubator’s. Most incubators focus exclusively on scaling tech companies. Instead, our charter embraces the success of the entire community, not just startups. This has enabled Adams Hub to be a contributor to the growth of opportunity across the region, and across many demographics, including youth. We support the growth of local businesses that would not be prospects for traditional incubators, but which are a vital part of the fabric of a vibrant and attractive community.

2017 Takeaways

Member Mix. One of our learnings from the past year of operations is that mixing formally-incubated startups with compatible or synergistic growing businesses creates a better, more supportive habitat for all participants. Sometimes these growing businesses offer services that our startups need, such as app development or IT support. In other cases, it’s the unexpected, “creative collisions” between members that bear the most fruit.

In fact, the “secret sauce” of our program is exactly that: the spontaneous, dynamic collaboration that springs from day-to-day interactions between members, mentors, subject-matter experts, staff and guests. While these collaborations may be spontaneous, fostering the ideal environment for them to occur requires a thoughtful, strategic curation of our members and mentors.

We provide a state-of-the-art physical environment for productivity, offer programming that meets the needs of entrepreneurs, populate our facility with motivated, smart, talented and visionary people–and the collaborating and connecting begins. One recent example: a coworking member, a serial entrepreneur and turnaround consultant working on a promising tech startup, lamented that he would soon need access to a supercomputer to complete his project. Our entrepreneur-in-residence Matt Westfield, an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship at UNR, was able to connect the member with the computing lab at UNLV, which has an underutilized supercomputer. This same member has since joined our mentor cohort and is now an active participant in our monthly Entrepreneurs Assembly meetings.

This example illustrates another phenomenon that occurs frequently at Adams Hub: members often choose to participate in a variety of capacities, which deepens their engagement with our program and business ecosystem.

By the end of 2017, our office facility was almost entirely full, with demand continuing to increase. As activity has increased, a “buzz” has been created around Adams Hub, resulting in greater awareness and a burgeoning reputation as a key element of the Northern Nevada entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Growing Member-Companies

BASE VENTURE: This Fintech company provides a solution for modern investment fund management, including investor reporting, document management, communication and key process automation. BaseVenture was short-listed for the 2017 Hedge Fund Management Awards as well as the 2018 Private Asset Management Awards.

CHAMBER COMPLETE: Software and app for Chambers of Commerce, designed to attract and retain more members with functionality that includes virtual mixers, compliance and fraud alerts, crowd-funding, disaster-recovery tools and a vast library of business education resources.

CYCLADEX: This eco-friendly mining company, recipient of two SBIR grants, utilizes technology created by a founder who is a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, which eliminates the use of cyanide while processing ore. They are in the midst of a collaboration with Comstock Mining.

EASYKEEPER: Ag-tech livestock herd management software launched a major new functionality that has opened the product to larger-scale operations, and which led the company to be lauded as a 2017 Top 10 Ag-tech SaaS by an industry influencer.

FLASHVOTE: Founded by serial entrepreneur and Adams Hub mentor Kevin Lyons, FlashVote enables citizens to “vote” on any topic in seconds, from any communication device, anytime. Governments can routinely ask for opinions or advice and receive citizen feedback or suggestions in a flash. The mission of the company is to make local governments more responsive to citizen needs.

LIMA3: This company provides credit card processing solutions for companies which accept payment cards that makes use of Lima3’s proprietary Level 3 data creation to reduce processing fees by up to 30%.

MAPWATER: DRI researcher and Adams Hub startup founder Dr. Justin Huntington received grants from Google, NASA and Bechtel to pursue research that is enabling him to build out Climate Engine, a tool with multiple applications in public and private sectors.

RUVATO: App and game developer Ruvato launched the beta of their flagship product, MunyCard, a chore-management/rewards app for families. A user-testing process was conducted with students at Carson High as well as at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada. Ruvato is collaborating with several Adams Hub clients to create apps for their startups.

WHAT WORKS COACHING: Principal Diane Dye Hansen expanded her successful in-person coaching practice into online coaching programs, tripled revenues in 2017, and graduated from USC with a Masters in Communication Management.

WICIS: This company expanded its satellite-enabled, real-time biometric and geolocation data solution from its initial market in adventure sports to defense, personal security and telemedicine. It received a Thuraya award.

New Member-Companies in 2017

ALACRITY: This Silicon Valley-based, med-tech product-realization firm develops medical device and diagnostic concepts rapidly and efficiently. The company expanded to Nevada with an office at Adams Hub, creating new jobs in engineering and sales and hiring their first Nevada-based employees.

BONANZA HEMP ag-tech startup is developing year-round, indoor growing facilities for large-scale, commercial hemp (non-cannabis) production. This company was founded by two of Ruvato’s partners.

COMMUNITY YOGI: This sharing-economy startup is disrupting the yoga and fitness industry by hosting classes in unconventional spaces, offering a “pay what you want” model to attract first-time yoga practitioners, and providing better compensation for instructors. The company is in the process of developing its mobile app.

DLL TECHNOLOGIES: This growing, 15-employee IT support company expanded from the San Diego area, establishing its first office in Carson City.

HONEST HEMP is producing nutraceutical and natural skin care products with compounds extracted from hemp.

LUDELA: Smart-candle startup Ludela is disrupting the candle industry with its real-flame products. Target, Frontgate and other major retailers have signed LOIs, and founder Jamie Bianchini is working with offshore manufacturers to bring the product to market in Q4 2018.

PN LLC: A consultancy focused on strategic and financial matters. Founder Paul Niedermeyer is a veteran turnaround specialist.

YOUTH POSITIVE: This educational startup offers a curriculum for students grounded in the evidence-based tenets of positive psychology, a strengths-based approach to living. The curriculum was adopted by 4 new schools in California as well as Carson High, Oasis Academy in Churchill County, North Valley High School and Mendive Middle School in Washoe County. The Youth Positive Curriculum has also been adopted by several schools in Australia. Founder Molly Dahl conducted her first teacher training seminar and was a presenter at the Innovative Schools Conference in Las Vegas, a national event. Ms. Dahl also accepted the position of Executive Director of New Entrepreneur Network, Adams Hub sister organization and completely revamped the program. She is now embedded in the Carson High Entrerpeneurship I and II classes each week providing value-added, real entrepreneurship training and facilitates guest speakers to augment the traditional classroom curriculum.


ADAMS HUB PROGRAMS

Adams Hub provides an array of in-house business education and entrepreneurial support programs. Our goal is to provide a spectrum of services, designed to support business owners and founders from entry-level to advanced.

While startups are a major focus of our education and support offerings, we pay increasing attention to other local businesses, including those that are contributing to our revitalized downtown. For example, two new downtown restaurant startups, Scoups and Gather, utilized business counseling services and participated in Entrepreneurs Assembly in 2017. Adams Hub facilitates such peer-to-peer learning as well as curates classes and workshops facilitated by acknowledged subject matter experts.

Adams Hub also collaborates with other providers of entrepreneurial and business-support services, public and private.

A Strategy of Deep Collaboration

While awards and recognition are gratifying, Adams Hub focuses on collaboration with other programs and resources, public and private, in the Northern Nevada community. Our goal is the overall, healthy growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem. To that end, we’ve sought out collaboration and cooperation, and we do our best not to “reinvent the wheel.” If there’s another program that’s working well at filling the needs of our members, we’ll support and promote it, and even offer it a venue.

Collaborations with Public Resources

  • The Carson chapter of Entrepreneurs Assembly, a now-global, Nevada-born non-profit. The Studio at Adams Hub is now the home of Entrepreneurs Assembly Carson, which won “Chapter of the Year” in 2017. EA has also grown its mentor cohort with the addition of Adams Hub mentor-volunteers.
  • The Northern Nevada SBDC (Small Business Development Center) counselor conducts counseling sessions at Adams Hub each Tuesday. Client Koble tells us he now conducts more sessions here in Carson City than all his other communities combined.
  • The Carson City Library provides research librarians at Adams Hub every Wednesday, giving members and the community complimentary access to premium business intelligence databases.
  • The SBA (Small Business Administration) is establishing the agency’s Northern Nevada Regional satellite office at Adams Hub. We expect to have many new opportunities to collaborate with SBA as a result.
  • We partnered with Nevada Arts Council and Carson City Visitor’s Bureau to produce a highly-rated, four-workshop arts business education course, Artrepreneurs.

 

ADAMS HUB ENTREPRENEURIAL SUPPORT PROGRAMS

Programs for incubator companies:

Mentorship

The centerpiece of an incubator program is mentorship. Our mentor team includes civic leaders, veteran entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. Our incubator Members benefit from both formal, scheduled mentor-team meetings as well as informal, and on-demand mentoring throughout the work week to assist founders with problem-solving, ideation, and marketing communications.

Our mentor cohort grew substantially in 2017, with an influx of recently-relocated, veteran entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.

The Intern Program

One of the most significant benefits of being an incubator company at Adams Hub has been access to an intern team for projects. Interns are paid by Adams Hub but provide services to clients at no charge. Interns are selected from Carson High, Western Nevada College, and University of Nevada Reno (UNR). Our interns have gone on to participate in the Pre-Accelerator Program, become coworking members and have opportunities to become employees of our Member companies.

Programs open to the business community:

The following ongoing resources are made available to the local business community, at no charge, drawing on our cohort of subject matter experts and mentors.

Weekly Recurring Programs

  • Mondays: Motivation Mondays, one-on-one coaching sessions with business coach Diane Dye Hansen (two complimentary sessions)
  • Tuesdays: SBDC business counseling with Clint Koble, one-one-one counseling sessions on startup, business expansion, and business management (unlimited free sessions)
  • Wednesdays: Private one-on-one consultations for startups with Entrepreneur-in-Residence Matt Westfield (two complimentary sessions)
  • Wednesdays: Research Ninjas from the Carson City Library, with access to premium business-intelligence databases such as Mergent and Business Decisions, assist businesses with research (unlimited free service)

Monthly Programs

  • Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA): EA is a Nevada-based non-profit organization co-founded by our Entrepreneur in Residence Matt Westfield. The Carson chapter debuted in 2016 and grew rapidly in 2017. EA offers mentor-facilitated round-tables and peer-to-peer learning that supports business owners, founders, and even people just working on a business idea. Participants present a challenge or issue they’re facing and the round table members offer feedback and share experience. Then members are asked to identify their “marching orders” for the next 30 days. At the next meeting they report on their progress and continue to focus on their top priorities. 75 new members joined EA Carson in 2017, as did 7 new mentors. Many Adams Hub mentors participate as mentors with EA as well. EA Carson was also named the 2017 “Chapter of the Year.” EA has a global vision of harnessing entrepreneurism for positive change. New chapters were established in Africa and South America in 2017.
  • Adams Hub hosts Lunchbox Learning, a noon class series featuring different Subject Matter Experts.

Lunchbox Learning Classes in 2017 (Free and open to the community)

  • Research Like a Boss,” a presentation by Mergent, a business intelligence database utilized by our Carson Library Research Ninjas
  • Making Winning Pitches,” by Matt Westfield, explaining the nuts and bolts of creating and delivering a startup pitch to potential investors
  • Winning More B2B Sales,” with Sales Trainer Alice Heiman
  • From Idea to Action,” with Diane Dye Hansen, teaching participants how to overcome the “paradox of perfection” and get started on their business idea
  • Mastering the Mindset of World Class Service,” with Peggy Wynne Borgman, designed to enable local businesses and their employees to improve their customer service skills
  • Turning Curiosity Into Cash,” with Diane Dye Hansen, a session designed to help business owners better understand customer needs and identify the most profitable opportunities
  • Negotiation Made Simple,” with Professor Bob Ash, on negotiating skills
  • How to Research Almost Anything,” with Reference USA
  • Using LinkedIn to Generate Leads,” with Diane Dye Hansen
  • Telling Your Business Story,” with Terri Vance of Nevada Photo Source
  • Sales Without Fear,” with Peggy Wynne Borgman

 

Special Programs

  • The Pre-Accelerator Program. This three week program with veteran entrepreneur and mentor Kevin Lyons takes startups through a rigorous process based on the proven model pioneered by renowned Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator. The Pre-accelerator is designed to hone a minimum viable product, engage customers, generate sales and increase traction. Participants continue their collaborations through semi-monthly TEOS” (“Test each other’s stuff”) sessions. We conducted two Pre-Accelerator programs in 2017, with a goal of expanding that to three in 2018. Acceptance to the Pre-Accelerator program is by application, and there is no charge to attend.
  • Artrepreneurs Workshop. We produced a new, four-weeks series of three-hour, once-a-week worskhops in collaboration with Nevada Arts Council and Carson City Visitors Bureau, designed to help local artists develop their business and marketing skills. The curriculum included industry-specific content on web development, social media marketing, craft fairs, galleries, grants and documenting artwork, presented by an array of subject matter experts. The program was held at different venues, including the Nevada State Museum, the Brewery Arts Center and Adams Hub. The workshop culminated in a group exhibition, open to the public, at the Studio at Adams Hub. 25 students participated, and the program had a waiting list. Tuition for the 12 hours of training was just $49.

 

ARTREPRENEURS WORKSHOP AGENDA

  • Who’s your customer? Peggy Wynne Borgman
  • What’s your “Why”? Miya MacKenzie
  • Telling Your Story, Creating Your Elevator Pitch: Teri Vance
  • Introduction to Social Media: Kyle Horvath
  • Creating Your Web Presence: Kat Hood
  • Wholesale, Retail and Beyond: Casey Sibley
  • Commercial and Non-Profit Galleries: Paul Baker Prindle
  • Documenting Your Work with Photography: Larry Burton
  • Writing a great blurb or capsule bio: Peggy Wynne Borgman
  • Selling at Fairs and Festivals: Curtis Beck
  • Grants:  Shoshana Zeldner, Fran Morrow
  •  Artist Residencies: Mark Salinas
  • Panel discussion:Sharon Ross, Andrew  Daugherty, Annie Zucker, Mark Salinas
  • ARTREPRENEURS POP-UP SHOW, June 3

 

International Engagement

  • YALI: The State Department-sponsored Mandela Fellowship includes the Young African Leaders Institute (YALI) brings groups of high-potential community and business leaders to UNR and Northern Nevada to immerse themselves in our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Adams Hub hosted the Fellows, offering presentations by our incubator clients as well as government leaders. According to the State Department, while a number of YALI cohorts take part in programs at prestigious universities across the US, participants in the University of Nevada program have made the biggest impact in their communities, starting substantially more companies than participants in the non-Nevada groups.
  • Australian Youth Engagement Mission: Cassandra Mao and Alex Splitt visited Adams Hub to discuss our youth engagement initiatives and share their experiences. Ms. Mao is a 23-year-old thought leader in youth entrepreneurism and director of Australian non-profit Youth Without Borders; Mr. Splitt, while at the Foundation for Young Australians, oversaw the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy.
  • Czech Trade Mission: Adams Hub team met with a GOED-sponsored trade mission for Czech Republic delegates. We discussed opportunities for Czech startups in Northern Nevada and for Nevada startups exploring potential business resources in Czech, including coding teams that could accelerate technology ventures.

 

NEW ENTREPRENEUR NETWORK (“NewE”)

Creating more and better economic opportunities in the community requires supporting our youth in “thinking bigger” and “thinking like entrepreneurs.” Cultivating a new generation of locally-grown entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs”) is a vital, long-term initiative of Adams Hub.

2017 was a watershed year for NewE, with the appointment of a new executive director, Molly Dahl, who immediately pushed the program into high gear. A veteran educator, engaging teacher, author, and expert in the field of Positive Education, Ms. Dahl brought a new vitality, knowhow and effectiveness to our in-school programs at Carson High.

In 2017 NewE:

  • Delivered the Youth Positive curriculum as an integral part of the Freshman Transitions class at Carson High, reaching approximately 600
  • Conducted an Introduction to Entrepreneurism program as part of Carson High’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) department’s Entrepreneurism I and Entrepreneurism II classes, in collaboration with instructor Billy McHenry. We shared concepts such as divergent thinking and disruptive thinking, as well as presentations by company founders, to help students understand the fundamentals of innovation. The Carson High business classes culminate in a popular, Shark-Tank style business pitch competition.
  • Delivered 11 sessions, reaching 250 students, on the Fundamentals of Ideation to Carson High Students. The class was taught by Miya MacKenzie. We also presented a class on the Entrepreneurial Mindset to approximately 350 students.
  • Conducted a summer 6-week Entrepreneurial Readiness Intensive (ERI) through the Boys & Girls Club, and a spring ERI at Carson High. This program results in a “Certificate of Entrepreneurial Readiness,” signed by Carson City mayor Bob Crowell, to let prospective employers know that the student has gained an understanding of how to contribute to their company’s success. As part of the program, students acted as consultants to local businesses, conducting discovery and then offering solutions to operational issues, in a presentation to business owners and managers.
  • Conducted a “Middle School Makers Camp” in collaboration with the Carson Library, during spring break.

 

2017 AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  • EDAWN (Economic Development Agency of Western Nevada) named Adams Hub the “Entrepreneurial Program of the Year.”
  • The EDAWN “Startup Deck” (a deck of cards highlighting the assets of the local startup community) featured the Adams Hub coworking space. Among just 14 individuals honored with a “face card” were our Chief Professional Officer Miya MacKenzie, Adams Hub Entrepreneur-in-Residence Matt Westfield, as well as Adams Hub mentors Craig Macy and Kevin Lyons.
  • Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA), a Nevada-based non-profit organization, board of directors named the Carson chapter, which is hosted at The Studio at Adams Hub and includes Adams Hub mentors, “Chapter of the Year”.
  • In the Carson City “Taste of Downtown” The Studio at Adams Hub was awarded the “Staff Favorite” venue.
  • Adams Hub received a 5-star average rating across online review platforms on Yelp, Google and Facebook.