October 22, 2019

Breaking Through the Ice in Reno

Perry Rosenstein, the co-founder of new tech startup Icebreaker, has the advantage of being able to live anywhere in the world as his business is digital. Where does he choose to live? Reno, Nevada. 

Rosenstein moved to Reno about a year ago. Previously, he co-founded a successful startup app, Hustle, which has helped hundreds of campaigns connect with tens of millions of voters and volunteers over text message during the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Rosenstein moved to Reno about a year ago. His best friend from college lived in Reno, so he was familiar with the area. “I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and I was ready to move. Creating a startup company is stressful no matter what, so I wanted to live somewhere more relaxed. I’ve found that in Reno. I also like living in a city while being surrounded by the mountains. And since my parents live in Oakland, California, I wanted to live within driving distance.”

Both Rosenstein and his wife lived in San Francisco for 10 years in the hip, pricy Mission District. As earning a big profit in the early stages of a startup isn’t common, it made sense to leave the costly Bay Area and find another business-friendly community. Rosenstein’s wife is a professional dancer and was classically trained by the Pittsburgh Ballet. She worked for several dance companies and schools in San Francisco. Now, she is choreographing and teaching dance to middle and high schoolers at several Reno studios, bringing more of the big city experience of San Francisco to the biggest little city. 

Rosenstein’s new venture, Icebreaker, is about community-building. “As an organizer myself, I know firsthand that building meaningful community is hard — especially when you can’t meet regularly in person,” he said. “We’ve designed Icebreaker around fostering intimate moments of authentic connection, from wherever you are.”

When Rosenstein chose to live in Reno he was unaware of the vibrant startup community there. It was an added bonus. He explained, “I wanted to live where I wanted to live. I love this area. I can go on hikes with my wife, hang out with my friends, and play live poker at the Peppermill. It’s fun to have visitors and take them to Lake Tahoe which is just 40 minutes away. It is literally the most beautiful place on earth, and it’s right in our backyard.”