Venture Madness tips off with Thunder Dan Majerle

Photo contribution by Thomas Hawthorne
“Never bend down or show you are tired,” was Thunder Dan Majerle’s mind set when competing for a slot on the US National Team at the 1988 summer Olympics, and a message about perseverance to startups pursuing their dream and preparing to compete at Venture Madness.
Presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Venture Madness, a competition that pits 64 startups from around the southwest in a head-to-head bracket for the chance to win a share of $50,000, kicked off with the top 16 startups competing for the next round.

Jonathan Ariano, chairman of Invest Southwest congratulated the top 16 startups that made it, “The line up is fierce, and your hard work and tenacity has earned each of you (startups) a place in venture madness.”
Sandra Watson, president and CEO Arizona Commerce Authority, acknowledged the vast about of entrepreneurial activity happening in Arizona including the 50 plus incubators and accelerators, 40 co-working spaces, and between 2012 and 2014 Arizona businesses realized $834 million in venture capital investments.
“We are committed to making Arizona the most entrepreneurial and innovative state in the nation, [and] the best place to start a business and scale a business,” Watson said.
Majerle also discussed some keys to success with his five restaurants. He said, “If this is going to work and I have my name on the building, I have to do more.” He stressed that it’s important to do what you love and care about the details of your business, especially the people.
“I’m the majority owner of every bar and put my own money into it. It’s about the services and I try to pick little things that will make us more successful.”
As for the people working for his restaurants, “I knew I had to be successful, and I try to show up as much as I can. I know every manager, cook and service person to be successful…everyone is like family.”
Venture Madness continues until Friday. Follow all our coverage at AZ Tech Beat.