Arizona saw some big tech developments in May, from expansion, acquisitions and life-saving partnerships to raising millions for local and regional startups.
Another possible TSMC expansion in Arizona
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest chipmaker, may expand even more in Arizona. Reuters reported in early May that sources familiar with TSMC’s expansion plans said the company is planning to build at least 5 more fabs in Arizona, in addition to the previously announced $12 billion plant in Phoenix.
Arizona job growth
The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) projects jobs increasing to over 3.6 million by 2029, an increase from 3.1 million in 2019. While the rest of the country struggles to recover jobs lost during the Covid-19 pandemic, Arizona continues to grow — thanks, in part, to the thriving tech industry. Arizona added about 2,500 tech jobs in 2020, while many other states lost tech jobs.
ElectraMeccanica builds facility in Mesa
ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp., a Canadian electric vehicle company, broke ground on its first U.S. assembly facility and engineering technical center in Mesa. The manufacturer invested more than $35 million on the project, which has the potential to add at least 500 jobs in Arizona.
Tesla no longer accepting Bitcoin
Elon Musk continues to make waves. Tesla announced they would accept Bitcoin as payment, all while Elon continued to promote Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that was literally created as a joke.
Phoenix, Arizona’s home for startups
The recently revised U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 Business Dynamics Statistics ranked the Phoenix metro area seventh for large metros with the most startup business activity. Phoenix, Mesa and Chandler combined for 6,108 startups formed annually. These startups created 37,785 new jobs in 2018, which made up 14.02% of all new jobs.
SiteLock acquired by Sectigo in New Jersey
Sectigo, a web security solutions provider based in New Jersey, acquired Scottsdale-based SiteLock in early May. Demand for web security hit an all-time high as so many moved to working remotely during the pandemic. Cyberattacks are occurring more frequently and seem to be more complex. The SiteLock brand will stay intact with the acquisition, now known as “SiteLock, a Sectigo Company.”
ASU’s commitment to Arizona economy
ASU’s Economic Development team works to help businesses succeed in our pro-business state by positioning them within reach of talented people and a multitude of resources at ASU and across the Valley. The university houses seven “Innovation Zones,” which are collaborative environments where companies can embed themselves and benefit from access to student talent and faculty at one of the top research institutions in the country, as well as other businesses within each Innovation Zone.
Botco.ai wins TiE50 award for innovation in AI Technology
Botco.ai was named a 2021 winner in TiEcon’s TiE50 Awards Program. The company is one of 152 winners worldwide, but the only winner from Arizona. Winners of this award gain visibility and exposure to sponsors, partners and investors, including venture capitalists and angel investors. Botco.ai is a HIPPA-compliant, AI-powered marketing chat software designed specifically to convert more customers in all things healthcare, including wellness, addiction, behavioral health, physical therapy and senior living facilities.
M3bi acquired by Zensar Technologies in India
Scottsdale-based M3bi, a data engineering and digital engineering firm, closed a deal with Zensar Technologies, a publicly-traded software and services technology company based in India. The deal is expected to close by August of this year. M3bi co-founders Anir Khandekar and Suresh Potluri will continue to lead the company after the acquisition.
SaiOx partners with company to send respiratory devices to India
SaiOx, a Tucson-based ventilator company, teamed up with XrossFusion, a medical device firm in India, to deliver critical respiratory equipment technology to hospitals in India. SaiOx developed the helium-oxygen respiratory assist device called Hespiro to help treat patients with respiratory conditions, including Covid-19. Hospitals across India are struggling to provide oxygen to patients with Covid-19 due to a severe shortage of oxygen supplies in the country, according to the BBC.
Sensagrate to increase road safety with Innoviz Technologies
Sensagrate, a software company based in Scottsdale, and Innoviz Technologies, which is headquartered in Israel, announced a partnership to enable a variety of Smart City applications meant to create safer cities by improving road safety. Cities will be able to improve pedestrian and car safety, like preventing collisions at intersections. The software will collect unique data that points to the root cause of pedestrian-related accidents. The LiDAR-based intelligent traffic decisions will improve traffic flow, ultimately reducing congestion, fatalities and emissions.
4 Arizona companies honored on EdTech 150
The ASU+GSV Summit, a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley, announced its annual EdTech 150 list, highlighting 150 of the leading and most transformational private companies in the Education Technology industry that focus on global learning. The list includes 4 companies headquartered in Arizona. Chandler-based CampusLogic and Scottsdale companies Parchment, Proctorio and Weld North Education were all included in the second-annual list.
Arizona Technology Council wins major awards
Arizona Technology Council was awarded the 2021 IMPACT Business of the Year, as well as the Exceptional Innovator Award in the Small to Medium Business category from the Greater Phoenix Chamber. The Council was selected for these awards based on its influence on innovation, public policy and overall economic growth in Arizona.
YellowBird raises over $1 million in seed round
YellowBird, a gig economy marketplace headquartered in Phoenix, has closed its seed capital raise with more than $1.7 million in funding. The YellowBird marketplace connects businesses with vetted Risk and Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) professionals on-demand for projects of any size. The company will use the $1.7 million in seed money to hire more employees and scale in markets across the U.S. in order to meet the growing demand for freelance workers in a variety of industries. They also plan to invest in further developing YellowBird’s artificial intelligence platform.
Sonoran Founders Fund plans to raise $10 million, invest in local, regional startups
The Sonoran Founders Fund, led by CEO and co-founder Romi Dhillon and co-founders Dan Burns, Cathy Eckstein and Kevin Groman, announced plans to raise and invest $10 million into Southwest-region pre-seed and seed-stage startups in 2021. According to the fund’s website, the group looks to invest in the SaaS, marketplaces, AI, Fintech, Edtech and healthcare IT sectors.
Invest Southwest expands Venture Madness competition to companies nationwide
The 2021 Venture Madness event, Arizona’s longest-running VC conference and pitch competition, is open for applications through June 3. The competition features six categories: SaaS; Deep Tech, Hardware and IoT; growth; Institutional Tech; Biotech, healthcare and life sciences; and consumer.
Now you’re caught up on all the news from May, here’s a recap of the resources and tips we shared over the month.
The most important slide in your pitch deck
Potential investors really only need to see one thing. Veteran tech entrepreneur and investor Hamid Shojaee told April 2021 PHX Startup Week attendees that in order to be successful at fundraising, all you need to show is growth.
How to land VC meetings
Pitching to venture capitalists isn’t easy and it takes thick skin. But it can be very fruitful if you’re strategic, prepared and persistent. You can’t pitch a venture capitalist without first landing a meeting. Here’s tips veteran entrepreneur and Defendry CEO Pat Sullivan recently shared on how to get in front of prominent VCs.
Arizona VC firms to consider
Over the past two years, Arizona startups have received more venture capital than ever before. According to ClearData, Arizona is still trailing the major U.S. startup hubs by a fairly wide margin. Even as the dollar amount increases, Arizona founders struggle with fundraising. To make things easier, we’ve done the research and made a list of all the biggest venture capital firms in the Valley.
Startup speak: Acronyms to know
In order to talk the talk, entrepreneurs must be familiar with the acronyms widely used in conversations with investors. Being fluent in these acronyms will help you better pitch your business and understand what the heck those VCs are talking about. We rounded up the most important acronyms and terms you’ll need to know to provide the best information you can during your pitch meetings and answer all the questions potential investors throw at you.
15 ways to make your pitch stand out
You listened to all of our advice and landed meetings with multiple VCs. Now what? What should you say? And, maybe more importantly, what should you stay away from? There’s plenty of advice on how to pitch, so we rounded up some of our favorite points here.
How to improve company culture — and minimize drama — in your growing startup
Establishing and nourishing the company culture is crucial to the success of your company. Some businesses struggle with drama or rumors or disgruntled employees, especially as it grows. So, how do you transform your workplace back to the thriving and energetic place you once knew? Or, if you’re just starting out, what tips do you need to know to foster positive culture? Here’s tips Synapse Studios and CarbonQA co-founder Chris Cardinal shared on the AZ Tech Podcast this week.