StartupAZ announces 2021 StartupAZ Collective cohort to encourage startup growth

StartupAZ helps Phoenix startup growth

For several years now, Metro Phoenix has been touted as one of the next major tech hubs in the U.S. The StartupAZ Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to growing Arizona’s startup ecosystem, has announced a new cohort of companies as part of its StartupAZ Collective.

The StartupAZ Collective is designed “to increase the performance and growth of the region’s highest potential startup companies,” according to the group’s LinkedIn profile. Companies selected to be part of the collective commit to one year of helping each other succeed by combining each entrepreneur’s talent, network and resources. The goal is to grow together by helping each other achieve major goals and also improve the community as a whole. 

The following companies have been selected as part of this year’s cohort: 

The year begins with a 3-day summer retreat and continues with monthly Accountability Check-ins with the group. The companies are also mentored by some of Arizona’s most successful founders, including Clate Mask, Brenda Schmidt and Gregg Scoresby, among others. 

The Arizona startup community has been positioned for significant growth since at least 2015. That year, the Arizona Commerce Authority said just that, noting “Arizona is poised for continued growth and strong economic performance in high-tech and innovative industries.”

The group anticipated the top employment industries to include aerospace and defense, semiconductors, electronics and software and IT. These predictions have been more or less realized in the years since, as Arizona has attracted major industry players in semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing. 

In 2018, Shannon Selby, economic and development manager for Phoenix at the time, said that the number of tech companies in Arizona had grown by more than 300% in just five years. And, according to a 2019 report by Arizona Tech Council, Arizona’s tech sector is growing at a rate 40 percent faster than the U.S. overall. 

Arizona’s tech industry even grew in 2020, in spite of — and, in some cases, because of — the global COVID-19 pandemic. Homegrown companies like Qwick and Evercast saw a major surge in growth as each tried to take advantage of the pandemic’s “new normal.” 

In fact, according to a 2020 article for The Center Square, “the Arizona technology industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing economic catalysts for the state. Hosting more than 250,000 jobs, technology employees make up 8.2 percent of Arizona’s workforce and contribute $32.2 billion to the state economy.

The region shows continued progress this year. Arizona Tech Council recently released its 2021 Q1 report and it showed an increase in tech companies, jobs and wages.

Continuing this growth is exactly what the StartupAZ Collective is trying to foster and support with programs like StartupAZ Collective.