Venture consulting firm sets its sights on Reno-Tahoe |

Venture consulting firm sets its sights on Reno-Tahoe

John Seelmeyer

Once in a while, says Jeff Kuhn, venture capitalists in Silicon Valley will give a passing thought to Boston.

The rest of the country between SFO and BOS? Not so much.

That’s beginning to change as FLG Partners, a heavyweight CFO consulting firm headquartered in Palo Alto and headed by Kuhn, begins to look seriously at some companies in the Reno-Tahoe area.

Executives who are working to create a better environment for creation of entrepreneurial companies in the region say the interest by FLG Partners marks an important step for northern Nevada.

Chris Dier and Dan Gravelle, two partners in FLG, spent a day in Reno a couple of weeks ago talking with founders and executives of eight young companies.

“It was a real eye-opener,” says Dier. “We were pleased. We came away with the impression that some of them have the opportunity to become substantial businesses.”

The companies include both traditional technology firms as well as firms that are putting technologies to work.

Out of the eight companies, Gravelle says as many as half might be in a position to make a pitch to venture funds in Silicon Valley.

And relationships with the venture-capital community, Kuhn says, are among the areas of expertise for FLG Partners.

“We’ve got this robust set of relationships in Silicon Valley that we can introduce them to,” says Kuhn.

The company’s partners they do all the work because there is no junior staff each has an average of 20 years experience as a chief financial officer.

FLG advises boards of directors and audit committees on complex accounting issues, provides interim CFOs and works with companies ranging from brand-new startups to multibillion-dollar public companies.

But until recently, it didn’t do any work in the Reno area.

“We had given exactly zero thought to Reno, Sparks and northern Nevada,” says Kuhn.

That began to change when Gravelle moved to Incline Village and started looking around at the technology and venture-capital environment in the Reno-Tahoe area.

Then, too, FLG was doing some work for VizKinect, a Reno-based startup that uses biometrics to track the effectiveness of advertising.

Norman Smith, the president and chairman of VizKinect Inc., also is a managing director of C4Cube, the business incubator in downtown Reno. He helped connect the FLG partners with some startups in the Reno area.

He said FLG Partners might help promising young companies in the Reno-Tahoe area tap the capital markets of Silicon Valley, a key step toward a stronger entrepreneurial climate in northern Nevada.

“Their specialized experience adds a new dimension to startup efforts here in Nevada,” Smith last week. “They will, I believe, help create our local ecosystem that will eventually be a fertile environment to keep the bright young minds of Northern Nevada here as opposed to losing them to other states and other jobs.”

Doug Erwine, vice president for entrepreneurial development with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, says FLG Partners also could help highlight the financial benefits of doing business in Nevada to Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

“Creating deeper relationships with capital sources and partners like FLG will undoubtedly create more opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs,” Erwine says.

Next up for FLG Partners, says Dier, is work to develop wider and deeper relationships with angel investors, executives of startups, and others in the entrepreneurial infrastructure of the Reno-Tahoe region.


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