Tag Archives: mentorship

Arizona's venture capital market receives boost

Arizona students compete in venture competition

The third annual Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition (ACVC) is set for March 27, with twelve teams from Arizona’s three public universities competing for $30,000 in seed funding, mentorship and institutional bragging rights. 
The event, which showcases Arizona’s top student startups, fosters collaboration and friendly competition among the state’s universities and highlights the statewide entrepreneurship ecosystem that is growing in Arizona. This year’s event will be hosted by Arizona State University at ASU Skysong in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Entering its third year, the competition is designed in collaboration with the University of Arizona’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, and Northern Arizona University’s NACET LaunchBox. During the competition, four teams, selected as some of the most promising student ventures, and their respective universities will compete for $30,000 in funding, mentoring, and the Startup Territorial Cup, a perpetual trophy that goes to the winning team’s university each year.
“We are thrilled to host ACVC, one of the most exciting student entrepreneurship competitions in the country,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean of entrepreneurship and innovation at ASU. “Arizona is home to one of the most thriving student entrepreneurship communities in the country and ACVC offers an opportunity to showcase the new entrepreneurial talent coming out of our public universities.”
At ACVC, student teams pitch their startups to a panel of judges that includes Kyle McIntosh from MAC6, Bob La Loggia from AppointmentPlus, Jonathan A. Coury from Hool Coury Law, PLC, and Mario Martinez from MRTNZ Ventures. Each startup is evaluated on seven criteria: problem and proposed solution, strength of team and advisors, market opportunity, go-to-market strategy, budget, progress made toward launch, and overall quality.
The grand prize winner will take home $10,000 in funding and secure the Startup Territorial Cup for its university. Two first runners-up will each receive $7,000, and the following three second runners-up will each receive $2,000. A hosted reception will follow the pitch competition.
Hool Coury Law Group and MAC6 generously sponsor the Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition by providing $15,000 each in prize money to ACVC winners.
Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition
When: March 27, 2015
Where: ASU SkySong, 1365 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Time: Welcome (12:00 – 12:45pm)
       Pitches (12:45 – 4:30pm)
         Reception (4:30 – 6:00pm)
Arizona State University
PACE provides tangible threat mitigation solutions to minimize inherent risks media and other high-risk professionals face while providing public access to vital information.
EpiFinder provides clinical decision support technology to neurologists who want to know more about and effectively diagnose epilepsy syndromes in real-time at point of care.
All Walks Project
All Walks Project is dedicated to creating awareness and developing training and resources for volunteers to work with survivors of human sex trafficking.
Connected, collaborative communities.  Feel Free is a movement that promotes face-to-face interactions within local communities.
Northern Arizona University
Travel, stand, and walk knowing your backpack is covered with SecurePax; a fast, easy, and stylish way of preventing backpack theft before it happens.
DoorSock builds relationships between local businesses and new customers, enabling the establishment of brand loyalty at a young age.
Sponge is a learning app that takes big bodies of knowledge and breaks them down into quick challenges played on your lock screen.
University of Arizona
TruView securely stores and redacts digital evidence for law enforcement agencies. Our services increase efficiency, reduce costs, and prevent public perceptions of evidence tampering.
Team Members: Rey Sanchez, Stuart Van Pelt, Bryan Waxman, and Blake Wilson
CrateCrops is an aquaponic technology manufacturer that creates experiential STEM platforms for K-12 schools by incorporating aquaponics, vertical gardening, and automation inside repurposed shipping containers.
Team Members: Reilly Cleal, Scott Downey, Yale Jesser, Philipp von Bieberstein and Shawn Ludgate
Infinurja designs, produces, and sells products that use organic waste and natural biological processes to generate enough electricity to power homes 24/7.
Team Members: Nicholas Jennings, Vinay Nenwani, and Adam Ross
InHouse Real Estate Marketing Platform 
InHouse Real Estate Marketing Platform provides real estate professionals with an intuitive, unified web application for brand enhancement, lead management, and marketing of listings. 
Team Members: Brittany Auclair, Onye Chi-ukpai, Mat Friedman, Cooper Kowalski, and Luis Palomares
Kyle is Co-Founder and Creative Excitant of MAC6.  Armed with a marketing degree and an extensive professional and volunteer background, including work with various for-profit and not-for-profit companies, Kyle became interested in how he could pair the community spirit of a non-profit with the sustainability and reach of a for-profit company.  From this perspective, a mission evolved: to tear down the barrier between the two sectors and promote Conscious companies through the MAC6 Leadership Academy.  Kyle works to inspire communities around the world through Conscious Capitalism.  He  believes that true capitalism and a long-term approach to business have the potential to solve all of the world’s problems, no matter how large.
Bob La Loggia is the founder and CEO of AppointmentPlus, an 80-person, fast-growing SaaS business based in Scottsdale. He is a multi-time entrepreneur who is highly involved in the Arizona startup community. He serves on the boards of the AZ Tech Council, Seed Spot, the ASU W.P. Carey Center for Entrepreneurship, and Arizona Tech Investors. He also serves on the advisory boards for 7 startups. Bob is also an angel investor through the Desert Angels, Social Venture Partners and Arizona Tech Investors. He was named the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year and a Phoenix Business Journal Tech Titan, and his company has won a number of awards, including CareerBuilder’s Best Places to Work. But Bob is not only passionate about building his business, he’s also passionate about helping Arizona develop a world-class startup ecosystem. Bob attended the University of Arizona where he majored in Management Information Systems.
Jonathan Coury’s practice is concentrated in numerous areas of business transactions and strategies, with a focus on representing emerging growth companies and entrepreneurial clients. Jonathan presently represents and advises emerging companies on legal strategies for growth and various legal aspects relating to their businesses, including raising capital, creating effective capital structures, and building strategic relationships. Jonathan’s emerging company practice includes representing entrepreneurs and companies in the sale, acquisition, merger, divestiture, and spin-off of their businesses. Jonathan is a past Chair of the Invest Southwest Capital Conference (2012) and currently is a member of the Invest Southwest Board of Directors. Jonathan is an active member of numerous entities involving capital formation and entrepreneurism and sits on the boards of a number of non-profit entities based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mario Martinez II is a technology entrepreneur and the founder of MRTNZ Ventures, where he is currently focused on investing and advising early stage technology companies. He has focused his energy on family, friends, philanthropy, and carving out a niche in the region’s venture community. He has served on the board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Technology Council, and the Arizona BioIndustry Association. Among his other awards and achievements, Mario was recognized in 2013 as one of Phoenix’s 40 Under 40, an award given to those making the biggest strides in improving their communities. Mario brings nearly 20 years of experience in product management, sales & marketing strategy, business planning, and sales operations. Prior to creating MRTNZ Ventures, Mario founded and served as CEO of 360 Vantage, a company designed to reinvigorate the Life Sciences industry with next generation cloud and mobile sales and marketing technology. The business scaled under Mario’s leadership with 246 percent organic growth in the last three years before strategic partner IMS Health (NYSE: IMS) acquired the company in May 2013. IMS Health went on to have one of the largest IPO’s of 2014 raising $1.3B.

Mentor your way to the top

We often hear about success stories that begin with some type of mentorship. Whether it be through a formal program or casual guidance from someone more experienced, thriving entrepreneurs usually can point to someone who coached and encouraged them along the way. Long story short, it ultimately contributed to their success.

For small business owners, a strong mentor relationship is an undeniable necessity. Choosing to venture into entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it comes with handfuls of challenges that only another entrepreneur can understand. For many, having the support system could be the difference between giving up too early and finding a way to flourish. Some of the most widely known benefits of enlisting a mentor include:

  • Gaining better understanding of your industry
  • Growing your professional network
  • Receiving candid and constructive advice

As entrepreneurs – especially those of us who have been doing it for years – it is important that we collaborate with others to share our successes and challenges, and one great way to do that is making yourself available as a mentor. In Arizona, where the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, the new generation of entrepreneurs is passionate and eager to grow. These individuals will benefit from hearing what worked for you, what didn’t, how you survived hard times, your advice and support.

Participating in a mentorship program should not be viewed as only a pay-it-forward move toward the younger generation. Many mentors are surprised that they take away several lessons from the relationship that can be applied to their company. For example, if a mentee is fresh out of college, he or she may be able to provide valuable insight into what they’ve learned in school, providing a casual way for the mentor to sharpen his or her skills.

Recognizing the career-boosting value that a mentorship can provide, EO Arizona recently launched a mentorship program that pairs its members – Valley entrepreneurs with businesses generating more than $1 million a year – with Arizona State University and Thunderbird School of Global Management. The first-of-its-kind program here in the Valley provides student entrepreneurs with networking, mentorship, experience sharing, thought leadership, internship, joint events and classroom presentations.

Most importantly, the mentor-mentee relationship ensures entrepreneurs have a trusted network, which I believe is essential to success. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path, and it is important to find other similar entrepreneurs like the ones I have found through EO Arizona.


Paul Dembow is an entrepreneur and school mentorship chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona, a dynamic group of 140 of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. To learn more about EO Arizona and its mentorship program, visit www.eoaz.org.