AZ startups named finalists in TiE 50 Awards – one takes top honor

Two Arizona early-stage startups, Vicinity Health and SyCara Local, were accepted into The Indus Entrepreneurship (TiE) 2014 conference as finalists in the TiE50 Awards Program and pitched in front of tech CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors from all around the world.
The AZ startups were chosen out of over 2,800 applicants from 27 countries. The TiE50 track record since 2009 shows that 94 percent of the winners and finalists have been funded, raised over $2 billion, and 104 of the companies have been involved in acquisitions, mergers, or IPOs. These are good odds for our AZ startups.
tie finalists wheezy
Vicinity Health pitched their flagship product Wheezy, a device that allows a patient to monitor and control their asthma through their smartphone. The app provides feedback on the daily impact of the users’ activities and potentially forecasting increased probability of life altering consequences related to their conditions.

Chris & Scott  - Vicinity Health
Chris & Scott – Vicinity Health

Co-founder Scott Shrake, Ph.D, states, “What we are doing is completely different than what is currently on the market. This opportunity confirmed that we have something unique and a high chance of success of pushing through.”
Vicinity Health CEO and co-founder Chris Stiffler developed Wheezy out of his own need to monitor his and his son’s asthma. “I wanted to develop something to help people project potential complications and understand their reactions to certain environmental triggers,” he said.
According to the Center for Disease Control currently 25 million Americans currently have asthma, of this 7.1 million are children under the age of 18.
Vicinity Health was one of the youngest startups to pitch at TiE Con 2014. Following their pitch both co-founders shared the positive feedback they received from attendees and how grateful they were to have a solid team to complete the immense amount of work needed to prep for this opportunity.
“We had a lot of people come up to us who were thrilled with what we are doing. The experience has been incredible; to be surrounded by ingenuity, innovation, and exposed to the mentorship and TiE members is invaluable to a company,” Shrake said.
“The experience was eye opening,” Stiffler said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on how well we work together. I’m so excited to have a team that supports each other and have fantastic talent in every aspect of the company to get this done.”
Shrake said the next steps are to “get back to Phoenix, complete the seed round, move forward to manufacture our beta prototypes and testing the product.”
There were many members of TiE AZ present to cheer on the startups during their pitch. TiE AZ president and EVP Venture Services, Tallwave, Robert Wallace said, “Our mission at TiE AZ is to support AZ startups with access and connectivity they normally couldn’t attain, especially to investors and entrepreneurs. I am proud to say AZ was well represented in the TiE50 and these companies were recognized as some of the most promising startups in the world, and will have exposure to the global TiE network.”
Tallwave + TiE AZ + Vicinity Health
Tallwave + TiE AZ + Vicinity Health

SyCara Local, a Tallwave portfolio company, is the local digital presence and SEO company for brands, franchisors and agencies who need to use local marketing and SEO strategically to generate leads, drive sales and increase revenue for their clients. SyCara Local took home the award for best in the software category and was named a Top 10 finalist. Other companies that pitched against them included a sales CRM solution, cloud-based solutions, financial services and big data.
SyCara Local CEO Dan Boberg shares his reactions to the win. “It’s been great, it’s been a lot of fun, lots of people here, lots of strong companies here; It’s been great to see that Arizona has a really strong TiE chapter and the members that came out to cheer me on.”
Dan Boberg SyCara Local
Dan Boberg SyCara Local

SysCara Local recently rebuilt their product to cater to enterprise, retail and multi-location businesses and launched that product in Q4. Boberg said they also aim to help small businesses thrive using a big data approach—an approach that won the judges over.
“We’ve been building SyCara for over three years. We picked the fastest growing part of the market (mobile-search) to help small businesses take advantage of local traffic using a big data approach – [I believe] it was the momentum that the judges saw.”
Boberg shared that SyCara Local is rounding out their Series A and look to use that capital to add sales, marketing, people and additional resources.
Read more on TiE AZ here
Read more on Sycara Local here
Read more on Tallwave here