With 2014 quickly coming to an end, it is time to celebrate the successes of startups in Arizona tech! We spoke to some proud AZ startups who shared some of their major updates from the year and gave some advice for budding startups.
Aqwastream – a refill water bottle dispenser with tailored digital media station
CEO Mare Van Dyke says, “If a physical product is part of your entrepreneurial dream, be sure to allow enough time to give it a hearty test. Add to this the fact that most investors want to see traction before any consideration of funding will be made. Be prepared for a long and sometimes painful process.”
- Aqwastream’s one-year Pilot Program is now complete. The personal water bottle refill and digital media station performed as designed, capturing data from over 89,000 users.
- A full data report of age, gender, time-of-day and viewing time is now available
- To date, over 120,000 water bottles were filled in the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the campus of ASU, Tempe.
- Read more about Aqwastream at AZTB
Beaconstream – real-time geolocation coupons sent to ones’ smartphone
Founder Venkat Nallapati says, “A startup must quickly differentiate itself and its advantages or it will falter. Emerging companies need to take advantage of mobile marketing tools to make sure they retain a competitive edge. 1.75 billion people on the planet own smartphones, but fewer millennials than ever are subscribing to magazines, newspapers, or cable packages. The time for mobile marketing is now.”
- Redesigned our mobile app – It now offers loyalty points, and is so user-friendly that you can get started without a complicated training ramp-up.
- Redesigned our beacon – our beacon now has a rechargeable battery, a USB port, a battery indicator and an optional belt clip, all while keeping a slim three-inch diameter
- Developed a web portal to help our uses manage their beacons, no matter the size of their business
- Developed a free business app that allows on-the-go beacon management
- Added exciting new client: Innovative Dining Group
- Read more about Beaconstream at AZTB
Bosse Tools – shovel and tool company with an ergonomic twist
Vice President Aaron Gagleard says, “Do not let anyone tell you that your idea is not worthy or viable. EVERYONE will tell you to do something else or why your idea won’t work, only you can make it work and put in the hours to make it come to fruition… You can always find funding, PR, marketing but you cannot find motivation you need to find it within.”
- Has launched their new branding, custom website, began taking pre-orders and have had numerous articles written (i.e. Pop Science, Thechive.com, Uncrate.com etc.).
- Have begun manufacturing their first pilot run of products to fulfill early adopters and commercial buyers’ interests.
- Received approximately $750k in funding
- Granted three US patents and 40 international patents
- Read more about Bosse Tools at AZ Tech Beat
Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) – Phoenix-based incubator
CEI Executive Director Jeff Saville: “The best advice we can offer any startup company or entrepreneur is STAY RELEVANT. Always strive to be the best version of yourself within your industry, within your company, and in all aspects of your life because, as a result, you will always be seen as an innovator and a leader no matter what you do.”
- CEI will be adding several new services in 2015, including additive manufacturing as well as competitive intelligence, which will further enhance CEI’s reputation for providing relevant services in support of Phoenix-area entrepreneurs
- In its first two years, CEI startup companies have created an aggregate total of 114 jobs at an average salary of $56,000, showing the incubator’s commitment to its core mission of quality job creation
- Partnered with Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT) to launch “PADT Startup Labs” at CEI which will provide additive manufacturing services to startups and entrepreneurs in the community with a particular focus on medical devices (
- Featured as the lead to Fortune Magazine’s “Phoenix Rising” special advertisement. (December 2014)
- Became an approved incubator of HubSpot’s “Jumpstart” program, enabling the incubator to provide the inbound marketing software platform at a discounted rate to eligible startups enrolled in its program; other notable incubators that are part of the program include Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups
- Read more about CEI Gateway and the startups that emerge from within at AZTB
Crowd Mics – an app that turns your smartphone into a microphone
Co-Founder Tim Holladay says, “Clearly identify the BIG idea of your startup. What is the big problem you are solving or the big disruption? Communicate that in everything you do and say (in persons, pitching, online, social media, website, etcetera.”
- Hired 4 developers and adding more jobs!
- Have gained several new clients including Univision and ASU
- Won Startup Connect AZ, SXSW V2 and Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) 2014 Event Innovation Battlefield
- Read more about Crowd Mics at AZTB
Intrakr – low-cost inventory management solution for small businesses
Founder and CEO Kirk Morales says, “Iterate Fast. Don’t spend too much time in development without testing your idea or updates with customers. This includes developing features you don’t know are needed or pre-optimizing technology that may never get used.”
- Partnership with Square (1 of just 11 apps allowed in marketplace)
- App Listing for Shopify
- Customer base increased 4x since launch with new partners
- Read more about Intrakr at AZTB
Pure Chat – live support and sales software for small businesses
Marketing and Business Developer Arielle Hurst says, “Start out as a free product to gain a following and get the customer feedback you need to achieve product/market fit. This will help you iterate on your first product, so it’s in tip-top shape when you come up with a pricing plan.”
- Since July, we’ve reached 130,000 accounts and introduced pricing plans that have widely adopted by users.
- Released Android and Kindle apps
- Underwent a user interface makeover
- Became the first company to offer hosted chat pages
- Users had over 1 million chats in 2014
- Read more about Pure Chat at AZTB
- Engaged 5 new customers
- Received $51k in funding
- Successfully completed animal studies for the medical application
- Presented at the Tech World/Tech Connect 2014 in Washington DC (where 4 of the 5 new customers engaged)
- Presented at the Fall 2014 American Physical Society (APS) in Orem, Utah
- Read more about SiO2 at AZTB
Smart Armor – smartcase that allows you to lock up personal items via smartphone
CEO Justin Zastrow says, “Listen. Be constantly listening. Humility to learn by absorbing information and feedback from everyone you speak with will increase your overall knowledge upon which to take action.”
- Changed their name from Mobile Safe to Smart Armor
- Partnered with the founders of Lifeproof TM to produces smart mobile safe systems that protect your most valuable possessions.
- Smart Armor delivered first go-to-market product this December, available for pre-order March 15, 2015.
- Second product in the backpack/travel space will be available via Kickstarter February 1, 2015.
- Read more about Smart Armor at AZTB
Traklight – DIY intellectual property software
Digital Content Coordinator Emily Ely says, “Revenue, revenue, revenue! Obtaining it, whether through direct sales or SaaS, is tough regardless of your market. In the beginning, the CEO is the company’s best sales person, and it can be challenging. But a snowball effect will begin to take place as you gain more traction with your paying users. More paying users shows investors you are solving an obvious problem, attracting more investment. This offers more revenue to expand your sales team, exponentially allowing you to attract more users (and thus more investment interest). But it all starts with revenue.”
- Traklight received $435,000 angel funding
- Traklight announced collaboration with Legal Zoom, Unified Patents, Solo Practice University, and WayFounder
- Read more about Traklight at AZTB