October 22, 2019

Betting on Reno and Winng

After living in the fast-paced Bay Area for six years, Elizabeth Redmond, CEO and co-founder of CoWorkr, an IoT company that builds sensors and software to analyze how people use their workspace, started exploring other places to live that could potentially provide a better quality of life. Redmond and her husband asked themselves the question, “If we could live anywhere, where would it be?” As Reno, Nevada is being recognized more and more as a business-friendly tech hub, they started researching on how to make the move happen. That’s when Redmond reached out to Doug Erwin at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), to learn more about what it would take to officially relocate to Reno. “He was super friendly and extremely helpful and gave me the resources I needed. Ever since moving here, we’ve had nothing but open arms and that’s exactly the kind of business community I want to be involved in. It’s been a refreshing experience,” shared Redmond.

Redmond and her husband live in Truckee, California, just a short commute to Reno and close to Lake Tahoe. CoWorkr has an office in downtown Reno at the Innevation Center, a collaborative space created to stimulate innovation, entrepreneurialism, invention and startups. Redmond enjoys being in downtown Reno with close access to other entrepreneurs and a collaborative work environment.

The data that CoWorkr creates helps major corporations make decisions on how to design and build more efficient workspaces as well as provide data to create collaborative environments so that staff can do their best work. According to Redmond, the average annual cost of a desk is $10,000-$18,000. In some areas, the cost can be as high as $32,000 each year. As a result of their work, companies can save millions each year by eliminating only 10% of their workstations, or leasing out a floor, and moving to an unassigned setting.

CoWorkr was founded in 2013 using Redmond’s talents for product design and her co-founder’s background in architecture. “We started working together on technologies that would harvest energy to power sensors, so more oriented in the alternative energy space. One of our clients was a global corporate office furniture manufacturer and they needed a sensor that would tell them the length of time people sat at their desks and how long conference rooms are occupied. In 2014, we set out to do a better job than anyone else on the market with our first beta release of the product. We have been growing and expanding ever since,” shared Redmond. 

When Redmond isn’t busy analyzing data on workspaces, she and her husband enjoy being in close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. “The recreation in this area is amazing and plays a huge role in our general health and happiness. I love that the city of Reno is so walkable and bicycle friendly. I love dining at the restaurants and shopping at the food co-op. As someone who went to design school, it’s important to have environments that I like to live in. We lived in some bedroom communities in the Bay Area and didn’t see that kind of style and that was a huge turnoff to me. I am from Michigan and Detroit has a kind of similar vibe to Reno. Both are on their way up and are creating some hip environments to hang out in. There’s a feeling in the community of helping each other.” 

CoWorkr has a relatively small core team, but have many contributors because they have a huge network of installation vendors who go out and deploy their sensors in offices around the United States, Asia, and Europe. They are currently hiring additional team members in the Reno area and as a result, Redmond is potentially looking for a larger office space for their headquarters to accommodate her growing team. Redmond doesn’t anticipate leaving Reno anytime soon and now considers it home.