July roundup: Arizona tech stayed hot in the heat of the summer


July proved to be another big month for Arizona tech, with local companies raising millions, out-of-towners relocating to the Valley, and plenty of events and cohorts popping up to support startups. This month, we put a spotlight on diversity and talked to leaders from around Phoenix to give founders tips on how to diversify your company.

Social Leverage raises $99 million

The VC firm’s fourth venture fund will help the group invest in early-stage SaaS, fintech and consumer startups. 

Medtech company Anuncia announces relocation to Scottsdale

The headquarters will be at SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, which provides the company with access to research and development opportunities, as well as bioscience and healthcare talent. It also allows collaboration opportunities with local universities on new medical technologies that deliver safe and effective therapy to patients who suffer from life threatening conditions, like CSF disorders.

Multi-state smart city collaboration forms between Arizona, North Texas groups

Three smart city associations, two of which are based in Arizona, joined forces to take a “region of regions” approach to collaborate and evaluate new financial models. 

ASU to launch digital record app in the spring

Arizona State University announced plans to launch a student digital record app, called Pocket, in Spring 2022. Decentralized digital learning record platforms like Pocket are designed to give students more control of their data and records, like the ability to store credits, grades and a portfolio of work in the app.

State legislators pass extension of angel investor tax credit

The incentive, more commonly known as the angel investor tax credit, encourages investment in early-stage companies and tech startups in Arizona. The tax credit has made a $1.38 billion economic impact over the last six years.

WynnBET, San Carlos Apache Tribe to pursue sports betting license

WynnBET will work with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Gaming Enterprise, which operates the Apache Gold Casino and Apache Sky Casino. Wynn Resorts acquisition of BetBull in 2020 allows WynnBET to provide social sports betting technology and one-of-a-kind experiences. 

StartupAZ announces 2021 StartupAZ Collective cohort to encourage startup growth

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. 

Startup Connection event to explore using technology to build community

The theme of this year’s event is “harnessing technology to build community.” Presenters and panelists will explore the ways technology has impacted how organizations build relationships and conduct business with its stakeholders. 

Scottsdale-based Symmetry to be acquired by $3.8 billion fintech startup Gusto

The deal is meant to allow Gusto to build out its existing small business-focused software. Symmetry is used by employers including ADP, AT&T and Walmart, and serves almost 40% of the U.S. workforce. Gusto has even used Symmetry since 2012. 

GoDaddy moves headquarters to Tempe

The move is not a downsize of the company or a reduction in employees. Instead, the consolidation is in anticipation of a hybrid work model continuing into the future.

Major Edtech company Transact Campus appoints new CEO

Transact Campus has announced the appointment of Nancy Langer as the company’s new CEO. Langer will oversee Transact’s campus commerce technology, as well as the company’s huge ecosystem of integrated payments and ID solutions. She looks forward to leading the company at what she calls a “pivotal time” full of “tremendous” opportunities as it moves toward becoming a mobile-first platform for student payments and other financial transactions.

Arizona startup funding: Hammoq raises $3M, Better Agency raises $2.1M

Hammoq said the funding will be used to expand its team and continue iterating its product offerings. Better Agency, which launched in 2019, was bootstrapped until this point, and the founding team never planned to raise outside capital. This seed round will be used to invest in the company’s product growth and to expand the team locally.

GCU grad bringing Tesla battery technology to … longboards

We know techies love electric cars, but have you ever considered electric longboards? What if you found out you could hit 30 miles per hour?

UArizona-led team receives $3M grant to use your Apple Watch to change healthcare forever

The group’s goal is to develop a way to get high-quality, more affordable remote healthcare to more people — especially those in rural areas.

ASU biomechanics professor addressing fall prevention through new partnership

Thurmon Lockhart hopes to predict and prevent dangerous falls, especially in older populations or those recovering from orthopedic surgeries.

Trainual earns top ranking for small companies in AZCentral’s 2021 Top Workplaces

Trainual ranked no. 1 in the small company category, in part due to its commitment to build an exceptional workplace, culture and employee experience.

Future of Tech Commission holds Arizona town hall on internet equity, access

The Covid-19 pandemic shined a thousand lights on digital equity and access. Rural schools, especially, faced major challenges while attempting to teach online during the pandemic. 

Global IT consulting company TCS to invest $300M, adding jobs and expanding STEM education in Arizona

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions company headquartered in India, has announced plans to invest more than $300 million in Arizona by 2026 and hire more than 220 employees here by 2023. The company will also expand the reach of its STEM and Computer Science education programs in Arizona schools over the next two years.

Fundraising platform Virtuous closes $18M Series B raise to support major growth and hire locally

The Virtuous platform is designed to improve the way nonprofits fundraise and build relationships with donors by providing these organizations with useful tools and minimizing time-wasting tasks.

Struggling with hiring and people management? Kate Rogers Sieker has you covered

AZ Tech Beat caught up with Kate to get her thoughts on one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face — hiring the right people for the right positions and then helping them grow.

Lucid Motors’ Air on track for second half start of production

Lucid overcame a series of delays, from the pandemic to supply-chain and delivery issues, in order to get the Air manufactured and delivered to customers by the end of the year.

Phoenix-based incubator accepting applications for impact accelerator program

The six-week program offers a curriculum that focuses on topics including pitching, financial projections, customer acquisition and team development.

Mesa startup Desert Valley Tech awarded NSF SBIR grant for mobile blood banking system

The grant will fund research and development of a smart container for use in cold blood storage and transport in extreme environments.

Arizona’s biotech community opposes waiving intellectual property rights of Covid-19 vaccines. Here’s what you need to know

Over the last couple months, you may have heard talk about waiving intellectual property protections of Covid-19 vaccines, in order to allow the manufacturing of these vaccines in other countries. This is a complex issue, so let’s break it down.

It’s SHARK WEEK: Watch for UArizona professor’s invention to be underwater with the hammerheads

The portable and inflatable underwater tent, which was co-invented by UArizona professor Winslow Burleson and professional diver Michael Lombardi, allows occupants to basically camp out underwater.

Arizona’s Parchment acquires Ireland-based Digitary as part of a global expansion strategy

Parchment and Digitary are both edtech companies designed to allow students, academic institutions and employers to request, verify and share credentials, like academic transcripts, safely and efficiently. With this acquisition, Parchment will be part of Digitary’s large global network. 

Looking for a job in tech? Here’s a list of tech startups hiring this year

There are lots of job openings across the state. And, as companies reopen and rebuild following shutdowns for much of the last year, many of these startups are also willing to hire remote workers.

Arizona company collects highly-valued data on baseball movement

Since its founding in 2014, Yakkertech has created a stereo vision imaging system that provides accurate data on the elements of ball movement. It takes this data, stores it and makes it easily retrievable on a tablet.

Fintech startup Dovly raises $3M in bridge funding

The funding will help the company support massive growth plans over the next six to 12 months. To date, Dovly has seen significant momentum, with the company reporting year-over-year growth of 800%.

So you want more diversity in your startup. Here’s how you can get it

Companies and people around the Valley are working to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce. Learn from Per Scholas Phoenix managing director Jaclyn Boyes on what the nonprofit is doing to provide a diverse pipeline of talent to Arizona, and why it’s important to diversify your company now.

ASU smart city lab wins Civic Engagement award from IDC 2021 Smart Cities North America Awards

The lab, which operates out of ASU’s SkySong Center in Scottsdale, allows cities to submit a challenge on its website that will solve a pressing community or regional problem around the Phoenix metro area. 

Arizona ranked no. 3 in country for job recovery

Arizona is number 3 in the country for job recovery, according to a report from the Arizona Commerce Authority. The state’s job recovery rate is 87%, behind only Idaho and Utah. 

Arizona Commerce Authority now accepting applications for Arizona Innovation Challenge

The Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC) advances innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in the state by helping early-stage ventures to scale.

Thinkzilla founder Velma Trayham is new to Phoenix and wants to help companies diversify workplaces, not portfolios

Trayham isn’t just a diversity, equity and inclusion evangelist. She’s an experienced entrepreneur with a lot of knowledge and lessons she’s happy to share.

Lucid Motors debuts on Wall Street after fluke with merger vote, plans to expand Arizona factory

It didn’t go according to the original plan, but Lucid Motors Inc. began trading as a public company on July 26, after shareholders approved a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) the week prior.

EdTech startup Promineo Tech raises $900,000 in seed funding

The startup that partners with community colleges to provide affordable, low-risk coding bootcamps will use the money to expand its Education as a Service (EaaS) program offerings and reach more students.

UArizona sees increase in innovation, including new tool to understand the brain

Even amidst the chaos and slowdowns of the pandemic, the University of Arizona saw an increase in innovation.

Mesa a “natural choice” for US headquarters of Canadian-based Exro Technologies

Canadian-based Exro is a leading clean technology company that has developed a new class of power electronics for electric motors and batteries. Its Coil Driver technology helps to optimize power in electric vehicles (EVs) of all types, from scooters and e-bikes to electric cars and buses.

Scottsdale-based Limelight Networks acquires Layer0

The acquisition is a huge step for Limelight as it advances its strategy as an edge-enabled SaaS solutions provider.

KORE Power to build $500 million manufacturing facility in Buckeye

The facility will be built in Buckeye, near MC 85 and Interstate 10. Idaho-based KORE Power expects to employ about 3,000 people at the facility, which the company dubbed “KOREPlex.” 

Mesa blockchain startup raises $1.4 million, merges with other blockchain company

IPAssets now has the platforms needed to create digital assets and store, view and sell them all under one roof. 

Chandler company launches to defend critical industrial infrastructure systems

SynSaber, a new startup setting its sights on asset and network monitoring solutions to defend critical infrastructure, officially launched last week after securing $2.5 million in seed funding. 

AZ Tech Council wins first in public policy advocacy at 2021 TECNA Innovation Awards

TECNA hosts the awards each year to recognize and honor tech council teams who develop and implement innovative and impactful work.