Phoenix’s sister city to the south, Tucson, has blossomed into its own thriving technology ecosystem. Tucson is home to the Tucson Tech Corridor (TTC) and also several big technology companies that employ thousands of Tucson residents such as Raytheon and IBM. Here’s a run-down of what you need to know about the Tucson tech community.
Startup Tucson Overview
- Awarded a five-year contract for $1.44 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration ScaleUp America to launch Thryve NEXT, a growth accelerator program for second stage companies in 2014.
- Credited by Entrepreneur Magazine as having created the Idea-to-Impact Pipeline – a key reason for naming Tucson as an Emerging Entrepreneurial Hub in 2013.
- Awarded a two-year contract of $105,000 in 2014 from the City of Tucson to deliver the Idea-to-Impact Pipeline program and provide business services to early stage companies in 2014.
- Launched Thryve, Tucson’s first ever social impact incubator program, with 12 companies.
- Founded Startup Tucson in partnership with Curtis Gunn, Chairman, Desert Angels and Harry George, Solstice Capital and Justin Williams of the Arizona Technology Council in 2012.
- Created CoLab Workspace, a downtown open-innovation workspace, through a merger of Gangplank Tucson and Toole Ave Hive in 2014.
- Created MonsoonFund, Tucson’s only local crowdfunding platform providing local startup companies pre-seed funding in 2013.
Startup Tucson programs and events
- IdeaFunding: Tucson’s premier entrepreneurship community event
- Startup Weekend Tucson: A weekend program to launch a business in 54 hours
- CoLab Workspace: A community workspace for entrepreneurs and innovators
- Thryve Incubator
- Thryve Impact: a incubator program supporting high-impact companies
- Thryve Express: a 5 week express edition of Thryve Impact
- Thryve NEXT: program supporting high-potential companies with resources to grow
- Next Tucson: Tucson’s only entrepreneurship & innovation festival
- Maketopolis: a community festival of maker culture
- Code for Tucson: a weekend civic innovation
- Cofounder Speed Dating: a professional networking event for entrepreneurs
- Startup Tucson Hackathon: Tucson’s first city-wide hackathon focused on software
- Startup Tucson Makeathon: Tucson’s first city-wide hackathon focused on hardware
- Monsoon Fund: a local crowdfunding platform to support early stage founders
- Startup Drinks: the monthly meetup for entrepreneurs, technologist and investors
- Tucson Job Crawl: a selective job fair showcasing Tucson’s top employers and startups
Tucson Tech Corridor (TTC)
TTC resides along I-10 on Tucson’s rapidly growing southeast side. The TTC encompasses existing facilities and shovel-ready sites for corporate relocation and/or expansion.
- Anchored by University of Arizona Science & Tech Park.
- Shovel-ready sites and top build-to-suit developers.
- Interstate and rail access ideal for logistics.
- Top performing Vail School District.
- 44,000 employees within 1-mile of TTC.
- World-class solar-centric research park.
Tech Parks Arizona
Tech Parks Arizona creates the environment and interactive ground that generates and attracts technology companies and talent in alignment with the research and mission of the University of Arizona (UA). Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, The Bridges and the Arizona Center for Innovation. Tech Parks Arizona is part of Tech Launch Arizona — a University of Arizona unit integrating technology commercialization, industry collaboration and the assets and activities of the Tech Parks.
Tucson Startups/Small Businesses
NoteBowl is a Campus Life Solution: a comprehensive platform for universities that goes beyond the standard learning management system (LMS) by putting the entire university experience in one place. NoteBowl’s vision is to give students, professors, and administrators one location where they can communicate with each other, manage their courses, and engage with their campus community. With a modern, intuitive feel, NoteBowl improves institutional efficiency and increases student success, both inside and outside the classroom. After their successful pilot testing phase during the 2014 summer school sessions, the NoteBowl platform has been implemented into several classes for the UA’s 2014 Fall semester.
Park Genius is a mobile app developed by three entrepreneurs coming out of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. The app allows motorists to pay for parking through their phone at the meter or remotely. Park Genius is currently going through a massive expansion in the town of El Paso, TX.
The YourLabs Knowledge Evaluation System (KES) is a complete learning and assessment platform that gathers detailed student feedback for real-time discovery of gaps in student understanding while informing teachers and students of knowledge level and common mistakes being made in the problem solving process. Earlier in 2014 YourLabs was awarded the National Science Foundation’s research grant.
Top Tucson News
Tucson-based firm hopes to take passengers up to space
Tucson-based Paragon Space Development Corporation has announced plans for a human flight into nearspace, unlike any other spaceflight experience being offered today, allowing passengers to remain afloat for approximately two hours to take in all the sights.
Tucson’s Raytheon awarded $80 million to build more defense missiles for U.S.A.F.
Raytheon Company, a Tucson technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets around the globe, announced yesterday that the U.S. Air Force has awarded them $80 million to create 200 additional MALD-J (Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer) crafts.
Tucson’s Mintec to be acquired by Swedish co. Hexagon
Hexagon AB, a Swedish company and global provider of design, measurement and visualization technologies, has begun negotiations to acquire Tucson-based Mintec Inc., a maker of management and modeling software for the mining industry.
Tucson-based Audio Internet co. raises $3.25M to expand sales & marketing efforts
Tucson-based, AudioEye, creator of the Audio Internet patented audio browsing and automated publishing technology platform. The platform provides a fully audio Internet when connected to voice recognition and artificial intelligence engines. The technology allows navigation and transactions through voice recognition.
33 S. Fifth Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701
Housed in the historic Rialto Theatre building in Tucson, Connect Coworking opened May 2014 and offers its members a sleek and modern interior fit to inspire creativity. There are 172 workspaces of all sizes, a full kitchen with beer tap and a mediation room, among many other perks.
439 N 6th Ave., #101, Tucson, AZ 85705
Spoke6 provides members with a comfortable and professional work environment that promotes collaboration, creativity, and productivity through utilities and services such as a kitchen with a fridge, spacious conference rooms, secure storage boxes, large screen projector and TV, access to free Spoke6 events, showers and lounge area, indoor bike storage, free motor vehicle parking, and high speed WiFi.
17 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701
The January 2014 merger of Startup Tucson and Gangplank sees the latter becoming an initiative of Startup Tucson and will adopt the name CoLab Workspace. The move provides for an increased focus on local collaboration while maintaining a strong regional connection with Gangplank.