What the First Week of the InNEVator Looks Like

The Spring 2019 InNEVator kicked off Monday, March 25 and what a whirlwind of a first week! The companies hit the ground running learning about the InNEVator team and their mentors, tackling business workshops, and learning about what Reno has to offer.

Monday: A great introduction to the Cohort and a deeper understanding of what their companies are about! We got a feel for what directions they would like to see their start-ups go and the cohort met all the people on the InNEVator team; mentors and resources they’ll be tapping into for the next 7 weeks!

Four people standing in the lobby of the Innevation Center receiveing a tour.

Tuesday: Both our “Need Finding” and “Lean Canvas” workshops were lead by the program’s lead mentors: Jim Sacherman, Director of the Innevation Center and Founder of the InNEVator program, and Scott Levy, Cofounder of the InNEVator. The cohort learned how to better read into customers’ issues and how to solve them. The workshop leaders created a space for the companies to feel safe asking whatever questions they had, definitely adding in that this is a learning experience that they would gain from immensely.

Wednesday: We had the pleasure of having Kevin Lyons, CEO and co-founder of FlashVote, to speak to our cohorts about what it means to actually make products that people want. Needless to say, his energy shook up the room; each founder was put to the test as they pitched ideas on why their products would fulfill the needs of potential customers. It was certainly a learning experience as the founders learned to ask the right questions and change their strategy based on who they were speaking to. Kevin wasn’t easy on them either, testing them in ways that made the cohorts dig deeper into the “why” of their products. As Kevin left the room, one of the founders took a deep breath and smiled, “I definitely needed that.”

Four people sitting in a conference room, they are smiling and laughing.

Thursday: The day was a bit more relaxed as the companies made several different connections at the “Welcome the Cohort Luncheon”. The room was buzzing as the cohort had a chance to speak about their product and what their companies do. This was definitely an valuable opportunity for the companies; visions were shared, contact numbers were written down, and ideas for the future were made.

One man showing another man something on his phone, they both look absorbed in their interaction.

Friday: The day everyone was looking forward to: SNOWSHOEING! In this day of snow filled adventure, the Cohort and the InNEVator team were able to participate in snowshoeing across Chickadee Hill to snowshoe and well…feed chickadees. Our day started off with meeting our tour guide, Brian Beffort, Director of the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter. He led us through a snow expedition across a vast section of white snow that was so blinding, sunglasses were a complete MUST. Oddly enough, as we climbed uphill, the temperature raised and it was the only time we could safely say that it was a hot and cold experience. In the end, it was a great experience being able to introduce the Cohort to this unique outing in the Reno Tahoe area!

A group photo of the Spring 2019 InNEVator group snowshoeing with Lake Tahoe in the background. Four people holding their hands out to feed birds in the snow with trees in the background.A woman in snow gear holding her hand out with a bird eating seed from her hand with snow and trees in the background.

Credit for all images: Tanima Hossain

About the Authors

Tanima Hossain is a Senior at the University of Nevada, Reno pursuing a degree in Public Health with a minor in Journalism. She is working as an Intern for the Spring 2019 InNEVator program assisting with social media marketing, photography, and documentation. She wants to strengthen the connection between media communications and health and also enjoys weightlifting, writing, and social media blogging in her free time. You can find her on instagram: @tanima.hossain.

Crystal Harvey is the Reno Innevation Center Assistant Director, and InNEVator Program Manager. The University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center – Powered by Switch acts as the University’s avenue for supporting funded growth companies in the region. The InNEVator is a fully-funded 8-week bootcamp for start-ups in the field of IoT. Crystal’s expertise is in communicating both technology and business needs and has a background in project management, operations, mechanical engineering, and business development. Twitter: @crystalvharvey