“Moving the holding company headquarters to Reno just makes sense for our institution," said Andrew Ryback, president and CEO of Plumas Bank “We see continued growth and expansion in Northern Nevada. We see opportunities there for our institution to grow along with many of the small businesses and mid-sized businesses in that region.”

To that end, Ryback said Plumas Bank is a community bank that is committed to serving small to mid-sized businesses that are often “overlooked” by larger financial institutions or that “need more flexibility” than large banks can offer.

“Plumas Bank has invested in our community and our businesses for years, and has been a community leader, partner and supporter of EDAWN since 2007,” Mike Kazmierksi, president and CEO, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, said in a statement. “Establishing the bank’s holding company in Nevada gives our community and local business owners access to the Bancorp’s leadership and contributes to our pro-business environment in Northern Nevada.”

“Our earnings over the past 10-year period have increased 1,400%,” Ryback said. “Ten years ago, we made less than $1 million in earnings. Last year, with the pandemic impacts buttressing our loan-loss reserves and the drop in interest rates impacting our earnings stream, our earnings were $14.5 million … and that was down from the prior year.”

Established in 1980 by business leaders in Quincy, Plumas Bank has grown over the past four decades to 13 branches across Northeastern California and Northern Nevada, including one each in Reno and Carson City.

The bank’s holding company, Plumas Bancorp, was formed in 2002 and entered the Nasdaq small cap market three years later. Since 2010, Ryback said, the company went from trading at $2 a share to around $30 a share — a 1,400% jump.
Reno also makes sense for two new companies in biotech and financial technology sectors.

Sacramento-based biotech company StemExpress is expanding to The Biggest Little City after inking a deal for a new 52,000-square-foot facility in Reno. The other company, Bay Area-based PayCertify, is moving its headquarters to Reno as it embarks on an ambitious growth plan.

StemExpress and PayCertify are exactly the kind of businesses that Northern Nevada hopes to attract as the region continues its march toward a more diversified economy that is less reliant on traditional industries such as gaming, said Mike Kazmierski, EDAWN president and CEO.

The arrival of both companies also shows that efforts to attract technology companies to the region are bearing fruit as it has become much easier to sell Reno-Sparks, Kazmierski added.

Just a few years ago, recruiting tech firms and startups to Northern Nevada was like telling someone “to be the first person to set up a company in Siberia.” Things have since changed, however, following the arrival of high-profile companies such as Tesla and Panasonic as well as several other smaller tech-based businesses.

“These companies want to know that they have like-minded people here,” Kazmierski said. “You’re no longer forced to explain that there really is tech here because they kind of know it already, which makes it so much easier for us. It’s really exciting to see companies we wouldn’t have had a chance to attract five years ago coming here.”
StemExpress, which was founded in 2010, runs several cell management laboratories and stem cell collection centers that are used to help accelerate research and clinical trials. The biotech company is based in Sacramento, where CEO Cate Dyer was named the 2021 businesswoman of the year Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The Reno facility will be among the largest of StemExpress’ centers, rivaling the size of its California headquarters, Dyer said. Unlike its typical cell centers, the Reno center will also double as a large-scale warehouse and centralized shipping location for the company. The company bought the building from International Game Technology, which recently made a portion of its large IGT Reno campus available for subleasing.

StemExpress plans to work with the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as local colleges and high schools on student training programs similar to what the company does in Sacramento. 
The other company that was announced, PayCertify, specializes in various financial technology services, including credit card issuing and payment processing. PayCertify just announced a partnership this month with communications company Illumi for its payment processing and fraud mitigation services.

“We’re business to business,” said CEO Chase Harmer. “We’re a merchant-first organization.” Developer of a payment processing platform designed to increase revenue through frictionless payment processing, automated virtual cards and secure fraud control. The company's platform provides merchants tools for fraud prevention, card and checks processing, chargeback management as well as mitigation and business intelligence, enabling merchant businesses and agents to increase revenue and have a better payment experience.

PayCertify was founded in 2014 to protect merchants from fraud while reducing processing fees and increasing bottom-line profit up to 10%. PayCertify offers an all-in-one suite providing merchants a full service, front to back solution.

The company was approved to receive $297,205 in tax abatements over 10 years. As part of the deal, PayCertify is required to invest $2.3 million in capital equipment over the next two years.

The company currently has 45 employees and plans to hire 100 more people in Reno over the next five years as PayCertify continues to grow.