Ozmen Ventures launches $5 million fund to spark local entrepreneurial ecosystem
Ozmen Ventures has announced its launch as one of the first early-stage investment funds in northern Nevada. Founded by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, owners of Sparks-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), a global aerospace and defense company, the fund aims to invest in young and dynamic local startups and cultivate the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ozmen Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital fund headquartered in Reno. The fund has already made an investment in ClickBio, an innovator in the laboratory consumables industry.
“The Ozmen Fund fills a critical gap in Reno’s startup ecosystem” said Doug Erwin, vice-president of entrepreneurial development at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) in a press release. “Early stage capital has historically been challenging to find locally and Ozmen Ventures really changes the landscape.”
“Our organizational strategy has been based on maintaining an entrepreneurial culture and focusing on growth based on innovation, agility and synergy,” said Eren Ozmen, president of SNC in a press release. “We intend to apply this value creation experience to help startup businesses under Ozmen Ventures to grow.”
With the Ozmens at the helm, SNC has grown from 20 employees to more than 3,000 personnel in 34 locations worldwide. They have acquired 19 small companies, and have grown each of them into large organizations within the SNC enterprise. SNC has been honored as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space,” and one of America’s fastest growing companies.
Kerem Ozmen, managing director of Ozmen Ventures, shares Eren’s vision. “We intend to take a hands-on approach from the very beginning, collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs from all sectors to transform their vision into reality. We have a shared commitment to innovation, new technologies and entrepreneurship. Our vision is to make Reno into a thriving entrepreneurial hub by attracting outside talent and supporting the best local entrepreneurs to become market leaders.”
With a long track record of success in starting, guiding and investing in small to medium-sized companies, the fund’s strategic advisors will help guide ambitious start-up teams through the labyrinthine journey from conception to value creation. The lead advisor of the fund, Chris Howard, is CEO of Northstar Investment Advisors, principal of Nevada Ventures, and a professor at University of Nevada, Reno. Northstar was ranked in the top 10% for performance of all nationally registered VCs.
As its first investment, Ozmen Ventures funded Clickbio, a Reno-based company in the laboratory consumables market. Ozmen Ventures co- invested alongside with Watershed Growth Ventures, another local venture fund with a shared vision for supporting early-stage companies in the Reno area.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.