October 21, 2019

A Reno Renaissance Man

Rob Armstrong, co-founder and SVP of Product & Technology at Bombora, a data company for advertising, came to Reno in 2015 as a bit of an experiment. He stayed for a multitude of reasons, one being a strong supporter of Reno’s tech renaissance. He’d never been to Reno before but was attracted to the area after looking at a map and discovering StartUpNV, Nevada’s statewide startup business incubator which is located in the Innevation Center.

You could say Armstrong took a chance by coming to Reno and it has paid off in big dividends that has nothing to do with slot machine winnings. And he’s helping to spread the word as an ambassador of Reno. He has worked closely with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) to help attract startups to Reno. EDAWN was looking for a creative way to let young and growing businesses know about what Reno/Tahoe had to offer and Armstrong had the solution. Bombora collects Intent data which is information about a business’ content consumption behavior across 3,500 websites. From this, it gains insight into a company’s interests and ultimately ‘intent’ to take an action. And that’s just what EDAWN did. Using Intent data against their existing email list they were able to identify and target specific businesses exhibiting piquing interest in ‘company relocation’ to explore Reno as a relocation destination. 

Armstrong is from New York and traveled a lot to the Bay Area where he started enjoying the West coast culture and the rich conversations that evolved. At the time, he wanted to expand Bombora and that prompted his move to Reno in 2015. Because of Reno’s vast networking opportunities and its biggest little city atmosphere especially when it comes to entrepreneurs, he discovered an often-untapped talent pool. Many University of Nevada, Reno engineering students were wanting to stay in Northern Nevada but couldn’t find jobs. As a result, most talent moved to the Bay Area or somewhere else post-graduation. He explained, “That was music to my ears. I really wasn’t sure how attractive Reno was to others and particularly people in the tech industry. I also was concerned about coming to Reno as a New York headquartered company and wondered whether we’d be welcomed especially in regard to recruiting talent. It turns out there is an incredibly collaborative environment here and people are excited about what we are doing and want to see us continue to be successful and grow. In 2016, I hired our first engineer and we were a team of two. Today, we have 43 employees which includes interns located here in Reno.”

An added perk is the great recreation opportunities. “You don’t have to sacrifice the experience of the outdoors if you live in Reno. I find it very inspiring that even with high intensity work and being in front of the screen or on conference calls all day when I come home at night I can go for a hike, take my dog down for a walk along the Truckee River. Reno is a warm and friendly town. It has been rewarding to be part of the changing face of Reno,” Armstrong concluded.

Just three years ago at national conferences Armstrong was continually asked, “Why Reno?” Today that conversation has changed to, “I need to check Reno out.”