Moving West: Tech startup, Cycle, settles into northern Nevada
April 3, 2017
Jake Warner founded his tech startup, Cycle, in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
But Warner admitted Toledo's economy still is dependent on industrial endeavors, and wasn't exactly conducive to tech companies. Finding tech talent within the region was difficult. Add to that, talent from other markets weren't exactly enamored with living in Toledo.
So Warner and his staff made the painstaking decision to uproot Cycle and look for greener pastures. After perusing other possible markets, the one destination that stood out was northern Nevada.
"Toledo is a very big manufacturing city, so there's not much of a tech scene there," Warner said. "There have been a lot of people trying to build it up, but it's going to take a long time to get there. They're at least three years behind where Reno is now.
"In the small amount of time we've been here, I’ve built a network comparable to the one I had in Ohio."
Reno-Sparks, Warner indicated, has a fertile tech-related workforce and would be close to a potential client base in the Bay Area and the West Coast.
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The company also considered Seattle and Austin, Texas, as other potential sites.
If he had any hesitation with relocating to Reno, one trip to Lake Tahoe reaffirmed Warner's decision to move to northern Nevada.
"I took a trip up to Lake Tahoe to look around and realized, 'Why would we not want to be here?'"
Cycle is a "Container as a Service Platform" (CaaS) startup, incorporating container hosting and Web infrastructure services under one roof. Warner explained containers are the next level of cloud-based Web services, referring to them as "The Cloud 2.0."
The advent of containers is a relatively new technology in Web development, but has boomed in recent years, with more than a billion containers deployed last year alone.
"Containers became a big thing around 2014," Warner said. "They have been recognized as the fastest growing developer technology ever. There's an absurd amount of developers moving in that direction right now."
Warner himself had plenty of experience in Web infrastructure, having bought and worked on his first server while still in his teens. He also was employed at SingleHop, an IT hosting and support services provider based out of Chicago, for two years after high school.
Cycle was formed in March 2015 and was under development until September of last year when it released its product to the public. As operations ramp up, Cycle has about 1,100 accounts nationwide. Early on, to help promote it, Cycle sponsored four college Hackathons at universities in Ohio, Michigan and California. He said many of its clients are students from those institutions.
"I came up with the name Cycle from the fact that it is a living, breathing system that was never done," Warner said. "It always played the role that was always doing something."
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) assisted Cycle in its move to northern Nevada.
"Doug Erwin (EDAWN's vice president of entrepreneurial development) was incredibly helpful getting us connected with a lot of the right people," Warner said.
Cycle rented an office space just above Campo in downtown Reno and employs a staff of five people. Warner's goal is to at least double his staff by early 2018.
"We are currently looking for a couple of salespeople, but they have to be salespeople with some level of experience in tech," he said.
Later on, he wants to add team members in marketing, accounting and other operations.
Warner has been securing capital for Cycle through three rounds of seed investment funding. The next and final round of seed investment will net more than $500,000 with a Series A round expected in 2018.
"We have some solid money, and the next round will hopefully bring in a lot of West Coast money including the Bay Area," Warner said.
As it settles into the northern Nevada market, Cycle's staff is coordinating a new group through the website, http://www.meetup.com, in part as an educational platform for the container and cloud-based services industry. The meetings also will be designed to provide networking opportunities for attendees. To learn more, go to the Meetup site, and search for "Cycle Container Talks."
For more information on Cycle, visit: cycle.io.