Reno startup SnapDesk gets $240,000 pre-seed investment

RENO, Nev. — It hasn't taken long for Reno-based text messaging startup SnapDesk to gain traction in 2020 — both physically and financially.

In February, the B2B company founded by Reno brothers Clint and Cory Vernon opened an office in South Reno.

Now, angel investing is starting to filter in.

The Reno Seed Fund (RSF) and the Sierra Innovations Entrepreneur Fund (SIEF) announced April 8 a $240,000 combined investment into the company, to the tune of $215,000 and $25,000, respectively.

It reportedly marks the first time both funds have partnered on a joint investment. SIEF is managed by Sierra Angels of Incline Village, while RSF is supported by a grant from the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).

“We're excited to expand our team and we're thrilled for the opportunity to work with these organizations who believe in and assist startups like ours in the Reno area,” Clint Vernon, CEO of SnapDesk, said in a statement. “The tech we're building with SnapDesk helps businesses thrive and proves that local innovation exists, that these ideas enrich our economy, and that they're viable for investment.”

In a follow-up email interview with the NNBW on April 14, Vernon said the pre-seed funds will primarily be used to hire more staff; pay rent on the new office at 1575 Delucchi Lane; and for marketing, advertising and sales.

As an SaaS (software as a service) company, SnapDesk describes itself as a “next-gen business text-messaging app with features that turn customer text messages into real-time conversations.”

The Vernons' path to creating SnapDesk started in 2017 when they became development partners at Intuit, launching their first minimum viable product (MVP) as SnapDesk on the Intuit app store in February 2018.

“We came into 2020 focused on the large scale marketing and sales launch of SnapDesk, and we're still focused on that launch,” Clint said in the April 14 email.

SnapDesk's users are primarily small and medium sized businesses, Vernon said, adding that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “now, more than ever, they are looking for simple, cost-effective solutions to stay connected with their customers and employees.”

“The funding we have now is enabling us to get those solutions out to (clients) faster and more effectively,” Vernon said. “For instance, we've always given away 100 text messages to our free-trialing users, messages that we have to pay for with our cellular carrier on the back end. With everything that's happened, we've been able to increase that to 3,000 free messages so users can jump straight into the app and start sending out messages at volume without having to worry about cost.

“In addition, we've started giving out 30%-off discounts to all of our new customers to help keep their costs down. None of that would have been possible without funding.”

Vernon added that RSF and SIEF have been successful due to their ability to cultivate a broad-based investment community that allows large number of investors to jointly make “relatively small investments in a variety of companies, thereby mitigating the overall risk of their members through diversification — while at the same time providing capital to a wide array entrepreneurial endeavors in Northern Nevada.”

“The RSF is proud to provide both local investor support, advice and local enterprise customer relationships to SnapDesk,” Gene Wong, RSF Managing Partner, said in a statement.


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