Jay Reno ’10 to receive entrepreneurial leadership honor

Reno, founder and CEO of Feather, will be presented with the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership on Tuesday, April 4.

Jay Reno ’10, recipient of the 2023 Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Jay Reno ’10 will receive the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership during a presentation on Tuesday, April 4 at 4:15 in the LaRose Digital Theatre.

Reno, a business administration graduate, has built three companies and sold two. His most recent, Feather, is a furniture subscription service that offers a flexible and sustainable alternative to ownership. In 2017, Reno took Feather through Y Combinator – the world’s leading startup accelerator program based in Silicon Valley that backed the founders of companies like AirBnB, DoorDash, Coinbase, Stripe, and Instacart when they were just an idea.

Reno went on to raise $76 million of venture capital from some of the world’s top investors, including Kleiner Perkins (first investors in Amazon and Google), Bain Capital Ventures, Spark Capital, Cobalt, NEA and others. He scaled Feather to over 150 employees and tens of millions of dollars in revenue before the company’s acquisition in 2022.

Today, Reno has crossed the table and is now an angel investor and venture capitalist for start-ups. As a venture partner on 645 Ventures’ investment and research team, he brings his operational experience to investing, focusing on product-obsessed founders building consumer, climate tech and AI businesses.

In his free time, you can find Reno playing soccer or basketball, cheering on Real Madrid, taking last-minute trips to obscure locations and learning how people live through food and culture. In addition to his B.S. from Elon, Reno holds an M.A. in climate and environmental science from Columbia University.

About the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership

The Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership has been awarded since 2009 to an entrepreneur who is a leader in his or her industry and who exemplifies the values of Elon University, including integrity, innovation and creativity, passion for lifelong learning, and a commitment to building a dynamic community.

The institutional honor originated in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the latter of which was established by an endowment gift from Ed and Joan Doherty, entrepreneurs from Saddle River, N.J., and parents of Kerry Doherty Gatlin ’07. The Dohertys have served on the university’s Parents Council, and Ed Doherty currently serves as an Elon Trustee.

Their company, Doherty Enterprises, Inc., is one of the nation’s leading franchise operators of quality family restaurants, including Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Panera Bread and Chevy’s Fresh Mex.