Congratulations McGuire New Venture Competition winners, Specteros!

On Friday, April 28, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program held their annual New Venture Competition. Eighteen student teams pitched their startups to a panel of esteemed judges for the chance to win free hosting, office space, and cash prizes.

Six teams advanced to the competitive final pitch round where they were able to provide the judges more information, elaborating on the traction and validation of their companies, financial plans, and opportunities for growth.

Specteros, an LED grow light manufacturing company, wowed the judges and walked away with cash and prizes valued at $31,300 including the $10,000 grand prize, Microsoft Social Impact Award ($5,000), Connect Coworking Award (valued at $11,600), and StageXchange Award (valued at $4,700).

Winners of the McGuire New Venture Competition, Specteros. Pictured (left to right): Cory Owan, electrical and computer engineering junior; Jonathan Besquin, marketing and entrepreneurship senior; John-Michael Stilb, marketing and entrepreneurship senior; Edward LaVilla, optical engineering doctoral candidate; and Wesley Stiner, Juris Doctor candidate.

Nunami Labs, creators of cutting-edge sensor technologies for self-driving cars, took the $5,000 second place award. Nunami Labs was also a finalist in April’s ASU Innovation Open winning $5,000.

In third place winning a $2,500 cash prize was Pocket Pantry, an app that allows users to watch cooking videos, create shopping lists, and order ingredients for doorstep delivery.

Winners of Startup Tucson’s 2016 Startup Weekend, Pocket Pantry. Pictured (left to right): Robert Johnson, Quinn Miller, Leo Shix, and Matthew Poulton.

As winners of Startup Tucson’s Startup Weekend in September 2016, Pocket Pantry took their business idea to the next level, continuing to develop and perfect their presentation throughout the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.

Specteros will present at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 8:00AM – 9:00AM. Come out and congratulate the Specteros team and see what makes them amazing entrepreneurs and innovators!

Hundreds of Students Flock to Tucson for ‘Largest Hackathon in Southwest’

Last weekend, hundreds of students from across the country joined hundreds more from the University of Arizona to participate in the first ever Hack Arizona, the “Largest Hackathon in the Southwest’.

Startup Tucson joined with event host Innovate UA and the Hack Arizona organizing team as over 400 students, mentors, sponsors and judges worked together over 48 hours to pull off an amazing event and an important step in the growth of the innovation community at the University of Arizona and across our entire community.

These future engineers, software developers and student teams worked throughout the weekend to build innovative projects with a combination of personal creativity, software programming, hardware hacking, and team work.

After working for over 36 hours, consuming thousands of cans of Redbull and building 67 new projects, the students submitted their projects for judging by industry leaders from Tucson.

The Grand prize, including an all expenses paid trip to the Global Hackathon in Seoul, South Korea, was awarded to Catalina Foothills graduate and University of Washington Freshman Tommy Pryor for his project ‘Arduino ASL Translator’.  Tommy’s project, an Arduino enabled glove that recognizes sign language gestures and translates them into computer voice spoken words, was selected by judges as ‘Best Hardware Hack’ and also voted on by his peers as the best overall project.

Other prizes were awarded in a variety of categories. You can read the official post announcing the event winners here as well as more event coverage here and here.

Mexico is a land of investment opportunities

The Desert Angels, an Arizona-based non-profit organization of investors, kicked off their fifth annual Southwest Regional Angel Summit Sunday at the University of Arizona (UofA).

Bob Morrison, the organizer of the event and a member of the local Desert Angels investment group, said that this year’s summit differed from past ones because they extended it into two days, with the first exposing angel investors to Mexico’s market, entrepreneurship and innovation.

“(Angel investors) need to understand that (Mexico) is not the land of just tequila and margaritas, but a land of investment opportunities,” Morrison said.

Speaker Giancarlo Ciscomani Freaner led the discussion panel by sharing with the audience one such opportunity: Angel Ventures Mexico (AVM).

According to Freaner, AVM was founded in 2008 in Mexico City and is run by Hernan Fernandez. In general, the company focuses on “providing companies and angel investors with potential looking for capital.”

Giancarlo Ciscomani Freaner (right) interacts with an angel investor on the first day of the Fifth Annual Southwest Regional Angel Summit Sunday. Freaner introduced angel investors from both Mexico and the U.S. to the company, Angel Ventures Mexico. Photo by Melissa Guz

“Angel investing is a critical stage in our development,” Freaner said. “The challenge is getting access to them… the (U.S.) investors interested in spanning into Mexico. We need help opening up the market to Mexico.”

Freaner also said that their major plan is to replicate a model so that Mexicans living in foreign countries can invest in the Mexican/Hispanic innovation.

“Unfortunately, there are minor cultural problems,” he said. “One of these problems (that applies toward investments in general) is that investors don’t like to put money in things with high risk or that they’re uncertain about.”

And in this case, it appears that many investors are worried about the safety and trustworthiness of such companies based in Mexico.

This concern over establishing credibility toward Mexican-based companies ended-up being one of the central driving factors behind the start-up company, enBIDia. It was pitched by Luis R. Soto and Alexandra Garcia, who are two members of the management team, as well as international students attending the UofA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.

According to Soto, enBIDia is a penny-bidding website similar to the Canada’s However, its aim is to provide trust in both the Mexican market and government.

“There is no friendly penny auction in Mexico because a lot of people don’t trust them,” Soto said. He used the company, por1peso as an example. He said that this auction website has a great deal of discontent to its customers.

“Compared to others, we want to be transparent, friendly, have fast delivery, as well as provide a natural bidding Mexican-based website with an entertaining outlet,” Soto said.

In addition to establishing trust with their customers as the main business risk, Garcia noted that a major financial risk is just being able to raise the sufficient funds for the products they will be auctioning off.

“This is also the result of the lack of industry information in Mexico,” she said.

The panel then transitioned into a company called  CIMATIKA. According to its CEO, Franciska Karsay, CIMATIKA was founded in 2011 by scientists as a technology-transfer project between the UofA and Mexico’s National Board of Science and Technology, or CONACYT. In general, CIMATIKA was designed to highlight Mexico’s innovations by commercializing them to benefit the Mexican people.

And in this case, CIMATIKA highlighted products like their Automated Counting System, which allows the counting of a specific product’s order size and inventory in seconds. In general, it counts things like various stacked materials, such as lumber, metal or paper, Karsay said.

Marcos Garay listens to Freaner's presentation on Angel Ventures Mexico on the first day of the Fifth Annual Southwest Regional Angel Summit Sunday. Garay believes that it is important for angel investors from both the U.S. and Mexico to start understanding where each country comes from when dealing with investments, entrepreneurship and technological innovations. Photo by Melissa Guz

By the end, angel investors like Marcos Garay from New York City appeared to have shown a great interest in the education of Mexican investors about how U.S. investors think, and vise versa.

“There are a lot of good things down there, and a lot of misconceptions (like safety),” Garay said. “The time has come to increase business from one place to another… Our challenge is to bring forth the opportunity of entrepreneurship everywhere.”

Click here to see the agenda for the second day of the summit.

Governor Signs Bill Opening Door to Creation of Additional Research Partnerships Between Private Industry & AZ's Public Universities

Brewer signs law protecting university research

Phoenix Business Journal by Angela Gonzales, Senior Reporter

Date: Friday, March 30, 2012, 3:24pm MST

Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2272 into law yesterday, opening the door to increased partnerships between industry and Arizona’s public universities.

Arizona Rep. Vic Williams, R-Tucson, who sponsored the bill, said it ensures an appropriate level of protection for confidential data collected through contractual, university-based research on behalf of a private third party.

“This is key to supporting the significant bioscience and technology industry partners we have here in Arizona,” he said. “Our goal with HB 2272 was to support Arizona’s innovation community by creating a legislative environment that supports research partnerships between our universities and these companies, and welcomes new innovation partners as well.”

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US News & World Report Gives Several UA Graduate Programs High National Rankings


UA Graduate Programs Reach National Heights

U.S. News & World Report analyzed more than 1,200 graduate programs in assessing its annual rankings. Several UA graduate programs in a variety of colleges ranked in the top 10.

By University Communications March 20, 2012

The UA’s graduate program in geology remains No. 1 on the 2013 U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of Best Graduate Schools.

The University of Arizona’s geology graduate program once again is ranked No. 1 in the nation and other UA programs in education, business and engineering jumped spots on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of Best Graduate Schools.

The Best Graduate Schools rankings evaluate programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. In addition to the five professional disciplines ranked annually, U.S. News periodically ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, health sciences and other disciplines.

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UA Cancer & Medical Centers Cited as Having Great Oncology Programs by Becker's Hospital Review

Hospital Review: UA Offers ‘Great Oncology Program’


By University Communications           

March 19, 2012

Becker’s Hospital Review has listed the UA cancer and medical centers to its list of 70 systems with top oncology programs.

The University of Arizona Cancer Center and its clinical partner, The University of Arizona Medical Center, are included in Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 70 hospitals and health systems with “great oncology programs.”

“These hospitals are on the cutting edge of cancer treatment, prevention and research, and the Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team selected them based on their clinical accolades, quality care and contributions to the field of oncology,” the publication said on its website.

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McGuire Entrepreneurship Students Undertake Special Assignment to Investigate Tech Commercialization at UA, within Southern AZ & Across the State

The McGuire Center's Matt Mars oversees honors students' work in the Dean's Open Innovation Challenge.

eller buzz

Eller College of Management

McGuire Entrepreneurship at Work

Honors Students Investigate Tech Transfer in Dean’s Open Innovation Challenge

By Liz Warren-Pederson – March 12, 2012

As part of their honors coursework, 28 undergraduates enrolled in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program are investigating the technology commercialization environment at the University of Arizona, within southern Arizona, and across the state.

The Dean’s Open Innovation Challenge tasks eight teams of honors students with gathering and analyzing data that may contribute to the success of the new Tech Launch Arizona initiative UA announced in 2011.

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UA Eller College of Management Initiates New Program to Help South Tucson Entrepreneurs

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Eller College of Management

Eller College Launches South Tucson Economic Development Program

By Liz Warren-Pederson

March 12, 2012

With the support of a $100,000 seed gift from JPMorgan Chase, the Eller College of Management has launched a new economic development program aimed at helping South Tucson entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

The Eller Economic Development program will partner with nonprofit agencies such as the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to identify individuals who can offer input on the specific needs of area small business owners as well as those who may benefit from the program directly.

“The program is based a similar program offered by the University of Washington in Seattle,” said Leslie Eldenburg, McClelland Professor of Accounting, who initiated the program. According to the Small Business Administration, start-up and small businesses have generated 65 percent of the net new jobs in the U.S. over the past 17 years. However, the small business landscape has also gotten more competitive as such companies are using cutting-edge technologies to help them succeed.

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Students Present Potential New Startup Companies at Recent UA Innovation Showcase

Students unveil entrepreneurial creations at UA’s Innovation Day

Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 7:37 pm, Sat Mar 10, 2012.

By Patrick McNamara – Inside Tucson Business

The University of Arizona’s best and brightest student entrepreneurs filled the ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday (March 6). The venue was apropos for the event, Innovation Day, which had the feel of a debutante ball for students eager to give their ideas a first public showing.

Student teams from the UA McGuire Entrepreneurship Program presented business concepts that they had worked on throughout the school term at the Innovation Showcase.

Some students are hopeful that their concepts will get noticed, create interest and attract investors. Others have already have begun to market their creations.

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UA Innovation Day Recognizes Faculty & Student Researchers

UA honors innovators for ideas to save lives

Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:00 am

A veteran pathologist and a young microbiologist were named “Innovators of the Year” at a ceremony Tuesday at the University of Arizona.

The annual awards go to a student and faculty member for translating ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace.

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