Tag Archives: Mitzi Montoya

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.

ASU’s engineering schools merge

Arizona State University is merging its two successful engineering schools. The move will enhance and expand engineering education opportunities, lead to growth in the number of engineering and technology graduates, strengthen and increase the impact of research and simplify engagement for industry.

This is a natural next step for ASU’s successful College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) and the Polytechnic campus, where the college is located. Both are now about a decade old.

CTI will be renamed the Polytechnic School, and will be housed within ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The school will continue to have unique programs, and the engineering and technology programs will be expanded at the Polytechnic campus.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the change Feb. 5.

“For ASU to pursue its mission of innovative education and research, there needs to be continuous evolution and improvement of the university’s schools and campuses,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “By incorporating the Polytechnic School within Fulton Schools of Engineering, a top 50 nationally ranked engineering school, Poly will attract more students and expand research possibilities faster than could have been done otherwise. The Polytechnic School brings to Fulton a number of high-quality applied engineering programs and additional research facilities and programs.”

In recent years, ASU has constructed new academic facilities at Poly, built a residential life academic village, and added new recreation facilities. The goal remains to have 15,000 to 20,000 students there.

“The merger of CTI and the Fulton Schools represents a logical fusion of two very successful programs,” said ASU Provost Robert Page. “It will provide our students with a better-defined set of program options and allow new synergistic connections among our faculty.”

Both CTI and the Fulton Schools share a strong interest in innovative, experiential education, student success and use-inspired research directed toward solving societal challenges in areas such as energy, health, sustainability, education and security.

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the United States, with more than 10,000 students. CTI has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. The Fulton Schools undergraduate program ranking from U.S. News & World Report puts them in the top 25 percent of ranked programs. Both schools have faculty that have been honored with the highest awards in their fields.

Mitzi Montoya, who has served as vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation since 2011, has been promoted to vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and university dean for entrepreneurship and innovation. In this new role, Montoya will synthesize activities across campuses and continue to enrich the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

During her time as dean of CTI, Montoya spearheaded several initiatives designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. She was pivotal in bringing TechShop – a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio with locations nationwide – to the ASU Chandler Innovation Center. She also launched iProjects, which connects ASU students with industry to solve real business problems.


ASU joins STEM mentoring initiative

Today, the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) at Arizona State University announced its partnership with the “Million Women Mentors” (MWM) initiative. MWM will launch Jan. 8, 2014 during National Mentoring Month, in Washington, D.C at the National Press Club. The initiative will support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors – male and female – to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

As a partner in the movement to increase the representation of women in STEM degree programs and careers, CTI has joined with MWM to help proliferate the opportunities for young girls to engage with STEM mentors. The partnership with MWM aligns with CTI’s recently developed Women’s Council for Science and Engineering that brings together partners from the community, college and industry to support academic initiatives and scholarships for women students pursuing STEM degrees at CTI.

“The underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM is of national concern,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “It isn’t enough any more to just raise awareness, we need to start implementing change that will move the needle. As a partner in the Million Women Mentors program we are part of a national movement that can inspire more young girls to pursue STEM degrees and careers, as well as mentor and sponsor them along the way.”

In the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. Today 80% of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and knowledge and skills in hard sciences. While women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, just 24% are in STEM fields, a statistic that has held constant for nearly the last decade. While 75% of all college students are women and students of color, they represent only 45% of STEM degrees earned each year. Too many of these young women begin in STEM degree but leave those degree paths despite their good academic standing, often citing uncomfortable classroom experiences and disconcerting climate. Even when women earn a STEM degree, they are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM field even though STEM jobs pay more and have a lower wage gap: 92 cents on a dollar versus 75 cents in other fields.

Even more concerning is the underrepresentation of women in engineering, specifically. In 2013, women made up only 19% of the national engineering class, a mere one percentage point increase from 2009. This, along with the need to increase representation in other science, technology and math fields is what drives special academic initiatives like the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) club at CTI.

Million Women Mentors is a collective effort of more than 40 non-profit, media, education and government industry partners and nine corporate sponsors. Through efforts planned during National Mentoring Month, CTI will actively engage girls, mentoring and STEM. CTI will host a Badge Blast & Imagine Engineering Day for the Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus—Pine Council, Inc., from 9am-3pm on January 25. The fun-filled day of hands-on badge activities and engineering-focused projects will engage girls in grades two through 12 with the opportunities found in STEM degrees and careers.

To become involved with CTI or Million Women Mentors you can find more information by visiting: innovation.asu.edu and MillionWomenMentors.org.