IdeaFunding: Working to Grow Startup Companies and a Stronger Arizona Economy

As people look at the news, go on their iPhones, or even look around
our local community, there is excitement about building startups. New
ideas are emerging from entrepreneurs that are changing business
models that affect the life of individuals throughout the world.

Arizona is home to entrepreneurs who have these big ideas . We are
seeing venture capital firms invest in companies like CampusLogic, an
EdTech company based in Phoenix, who just closed a $7.5M. In the
public markets, we just saw two recent IPOs, HTG Molecular and GoDaddy
both based in Arizona. The end result is these startups are changing
industries and bringing jobs and economic growth to Arizona. For
instance, HTG Molecular has added a significant number of new jobs in
Tucson and expects to add more demonstrated by their decision to bring
manufacturing of its EdgeSeq instrument to Tucson from Florida.

Specifically, Larry Hecker, a lawyer, investor, and active member of
Arizona’s startup economy, highlights,

“Southern Arizona has been blessed with promising technologies and
ideas and a talented and enthusiastic pool of entrepreneurs.
Accessible sources of capital are essential if we are to realize the
tremendous potential we have for building knowledge based companies.”

Startup companies are critical to the future of creating wealth in
Arizona. There is no method to closing the gap between rich and poor
that is more effective than creating new, growth-oriented, and
innovative businesses. Mario Martinez II who is actively involved with
StartupAZ.org, Invest Southwest, and YesPHX elaborates,

“Anyone can launch a company, but putting in the work to grow that
startup into a viable business takes tenacity and perseverance. True
entrepreneurs are passionate about this journey, but it is stressful,
exhausting and often solitary. Support networks, role models, mentors
and fellowship are critical for entrepreneurial success.”

UpGlobal, an organization committed to fostering a startup and
innovation ecosystem, highlighted networks and mentors as being one of
the core attributes of success for entrepreneurs. Nearly twenty years
ago, Larry Hecker also understood that it takes a community to support
these new companies, so he created a program called IdeaFunding which
will be held on October 22nd in Tucson. You can register here.

“IdeaFunding was launched in order to bring together entrepreneurs and
venture capitalists, angel investors and other providers of capital to
share ideas on how to facilitate capital formation. It has created
tremendous networking opportunities along the way.”

Mario Martinez II further elaborates on why he sees community as so important,

“Within a collaborative environment, information is exchanged, new
ideas emerge, concepts are tested and relationships are fostered. An
inclusive community creates increased opportunities for education and
mentorship, which produces more capable entrepreneurs who in turn
build more successful companies that generate growth and positive
outcomes.”

One of the core goals of IdeaFunding is to connect entrepreneurs with
education and networks to create and foster these relationships.
These discussions will focus on how they can more effectively
bootstrap, be attractive to early stage investors, and identify what
resources exist to help them through the early stages of their
ventures. For those interested in joining this community focused on
helping entrepreneurs or to seek help yourself as an entrepreneur, I
highly recommend you join us on October 22nd at IdeaFunding.

The event will include panels that will help you understand how to get
funding from early stage investors and members of Desert Angels, Mario
Martinez II and Villette Nolon, or venture capital firms like Wasabi
Ventures what they want to see from early stage companies. Also,
entrepreneurs like Aly Saxe from Iris PR Software, Thomas Martis from
Eggcyte, and Ron Robertson from Picmonic all recently closed
crowdfunding rounds, angel investments, and venture capital rounds.
These AZ-based entrepreneurs will share their experiences in raising
funds inside and outside of Arizona. There will also be panels that
highlight several community resources available from places like the
Startup Tucson, Arizona Commerce Authority and the University of
Arizona.

The reality is that for all of the media buzz, there really are only
a few entrepreneurs. However, there is a strong community of people
that work with entrepreneurs as service providers, investors,
co-founders, government organizations, and many more. To our community
it should matter because Kauffman Foundation identifies new businesses
account for nearly all net new job creation and almost 20 percent of
gross job creation. If we want to grow Arizona, we need to grow our
next generation of companies. Come join our future on October 22nd at
IdeaFunding.

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