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AZ Tech Beat | September 20, 2019

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Wasabi Ventures announces expansion to Arizona

Wasabi Ventures announces expansion to Arizona
Chloe Nordquist

Early stage venture capital firm Wasabi Ventures announced the formal launch of its Arizona operations Tuesday after a nine month due diligence process.

Wasabi Ventures’ offices will be located in Phoenix, with cohorts in Flagstaff and Tucson.

“We see great potential in the Arizona ecosystem,” said Wasabi Ventures General Partner Tom “TK” Kuegler. “The combination of strong universities, visionary government leadership, plus an active and increasingly cohesive ecosystem full of strong talent gives us great confidence that the Silicon Desert is a great place to be.”

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TK Kuegler from Phoenix Startup Week

The firm plans on starting 20 companies in the next 24 months here in Arizona. Wasabi’s main office will be based in Scottsdale, at co-working space Deskhub.

READ: Coffee, collaboration and co-working — AZ Co-working Guide

“Wasabi Ventures’ decision to open up shop in Phoenix is a reflection of the strong and growing tech scene in Phoenix and across Arizona,” Deskhub CEO Jay Chernikoff said.

Wasabi will officially announce its plans to form a cohort in Phoenix beginning in July at their launch party at Deskhub on Thursday, June 4.

“There’s a real opportunity here for what we do and how we can be useful and hopefully profitable,” Kuegler said.

The firm partnered with Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology in Flagstaff and Startup Tucson and Innovate UA in Tucson to begin cohorts beyond Phoenix as well.

Wasabi Ventures has three goals for the next year in Arizona, according to Kuegler:

  1. Put 150 Arizona based people through their program in the next year
  2. Find another 8 to 10 already existing startups that they can invest in
  3. Spend time and become part of the startup community here

READ: Wasabi Ventures to open Phoenix offices in 2015

“We’ve looked at a dozen other geographical locations to bring our operations to and we have passed on all of those,” Kuegler said. They turned down operations in places like Atlanta and Chicago but found Arizona worthy of investing in.

Wasabi Ventures also offers a 13-week education program for entrepreneurs called Startup Foundations. Participants learn from the firm’s general partners about the startup world.

“Our move into Arizona is just the first step in our strategy to bring Silicon Valley-style VC services to strong secondary markets, beginning in the Southwest,” General Partner of Wasabi Ventures Chris Yeh said.

The firm currently has existing offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Baltimore.

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