340 jobs on tap as 3 more California companies expand to Reno-Sparks

RENO, Nev. — You couldn't see it, but you could hear Jessica Thompson smiling beneath her facemask.

Thompson, founder and CEO of YOGO, an eco-friendly yoga mat company, had a hop in her voice as she talked about a big step forward for her company: moving to Northern Nevada.

Jessica Thompson, founder and CEO of YOGO, talks about relocating her eco-friendly yoga mat company to Sparks at an EDAWN press conference on Wednesday, June 10, at the Bosma Business Center in Reno.

“I feel ecstatic to be relocating here,” Thompson told the NNBW in an interview June 10. “I feel like I'm sort of playing hooky from school or something like that; I really feel like I escaped. I absolutely love the Reno area.”

YOGO, which is moving its headquarters and e-commerce operations from San Francisco to Sparks, is one of three companies that have recently staked a flag in region.

In all, YOGO, PlusPlus, and Affinity Development Group will create a combined 340 jobs in the areas of software development, CRM platform development, data analysis and more, according to the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, which announced the companies at a June 10 press conference at the Bosma Business Center in Reno.

Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall speaks at EDAWN's June 10 press conference to announce three new companies coming to Northern Nevada.

For Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, seeing three more companies choose Reno-Sparks represents a pivotal stepping-stone for not only Northern Nevada, but the Silver State as a whole as it looks to rebound from the coronavirus recession.

“This is what's going to make it so that we come out of this in a ‘V,'” said Marshall, drawing a vertical line in the air, “instead of hanging there at the bottom like we did during the Great Recession. I'm really, really excited.”

Added EDAWN CEO Mike Kazmierski: “It's a big day, and an important day, because the community is finally seeing sprouts of green, if you will.”

EDAWN CEO Mike Kazmierski speaks about the importance of having a diversified economy at the June 10 press conference.

Though unemployment numbers are still inflated in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thompson said she has already hired six people for the YOGO team, which moved into a corporate office and a 2,000-square-foot warehouse space in Sparks.

The company plans to hire up to 40 people over the next few years, she added.

“It's been really great for the company,” said Thompson, citing the area's strong logistics resources, business-friendly environment, welcoming entrepreneurial community and quality of life as reasons for the move. “I really feel like we're flourishing. Every little single detail feels easier here (compared to the Bay Area).”

Marko Gargenta, founder and CEO of peer-learning platform PlusPlus, talks about the reasons the company is expanding to Reno during an EDAWN press conference on June 10.

Marko Gargenta, founder and CEO of PlusPlus — a peer-learning platform for large tech firms like LinkedIn, SalesForce and Shopify — agrees.

Founded in San Francisco, PlusPlus is expanding to Reno with the aid of an investment from the Reno Seed Fund, the lead investor in an $860,000 seed round for the software company.

“I knew we needed to find a place that was scalable, and the Bay Area is not that,” Gargenta said. “The search came down to, what is close enough you can hop in a car or take direct flight in the same time zone? Secondly, you need great talent, so it needs to have a great university and access to people.

“And third, it needs to be a high quality of living because awesome talent wants to be where it's fun to live.”

For Gargenta, Reno checked all of those boxes. The company plans to hire more than 100 employees over the next five years in sales, marketing, and “customer success,” with an average annual base salary of $70,000.

“The ease of doing business and ease of recruiting, those are the key elements,” he said. “There's a lot of great people who are humble, hungry and smart — those are the qualities we see about the area.”

Executives from San Diego-based Affinity Development Group (ADG) were unable to attend the June 10 press conference. ADG, which specializes in affinity programs for clients and products, plans to hire upwards of 200 employees for their new office in south Reno.


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