The Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization (NIREC) is an independent private 501(c)3 nonprofit actively involved in igniting innovation, driving commercialization and fueling acceleration as an innovation intermediary in Nevada.
It was established in 2007 by former technology executive Ian Rogoff and Sierra Angels founder Bob Goff. As long-time residents of Nevada, they were interested in bolstering the startup culture in the State by fostering collaboration between the institutions of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and the local entrepreneurial and investor communities.
With the assistance of then State Senator Raggio, they secured an initial appropriation from the Nevada State Legislature to fund the organization. And with the support of Senator Reid, the organization subsequently secured additional Department of Energy (DOE) funding to underwrite its operations.
The organization has worked to transform promising clean energy technologies into job-creating businesses and gestated local success stories, such as energy efficiency firm Load IQ. In addition, it worked with nationally recognized organizations, such as Startup America’s Entrepreneurial Mentorship Corp and participated in thought leadership activities in the State, for instance, through the release of the Silver Spark economic development report.
In August of 2011, Walt Borland, a serial entrepreneur with over 35 years’ business experience, joined NIREC as President and CEO. As commercialization practices and experience have evolved, the organization has refocused on three priorities: innovation, acceleration and commercialization. Its primary goal is to foster innovation-based economic development, with the ultimate focus on job creation, within the State of Nevada.
In the past year, NIREC has achieved a number of successes, including:
- expansion of its geographic footprint, with new offices at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas and Reno;
- further diversification of its funding sources;
- bringing national brand names to Nevada, through partnerships with Cleantech Open, Startup Weekend, and Young Professionals in Energy;
- launching new approaches to innovation, such as, The Spark and Project Vesto; and
- supporting development of Nevada’s commercialization infrastructure via organization and promotion of DRI Forum, High Impact Innovation and Scitech Hookup meetings.