August roundup: Arizona tech gains momentum during monsoon season

Arizona tech

August was a rocky month in terms of world news, but Arizona tech continues to make good progress toward building a solid tech ecosystem. Last month we saw acquisitions, major investments, notable recognition and programs aimed at improving diversity across different fields.

Scottsdale entrepreneurs named 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year

Trainual founder Chris Ronzio and Emerge founder and CEO Andrew Leto and Michael Leto (respectively) were named by Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year for 2021 in the Mountain Desert Region.

Wireless charging startup Aira closed $12M seed round

Chandler-based Aira announced it raised $12 million in seed funding, mostly from local Arizona investors. 

Arizona Technology Council got bigger

Bianca Buliga was named the Council’s new director of marketing and communications, one of a handful of new additions announced at the group’s quarterly board meeting.

KOAM opened first West Coast facility in Phoenix

The logistics company has a relationship with Lucid Motors and wanted to be close to the other EV companies opening manufacturing facilities here. 

Invest Southwest named 25 finalists for the 2021 Venture Madness conference and pitch competition

For the first time ever, the competition was opened up to companies nationwide, though the majority of finalists are still based in Arizona. and STChealth joined forces to provide easy access to immunization records

The companies rolled out MyIR Mobile in Arizona, which is designed to make immunization records easily accessible. 

Tucson Electric Power collaborated with Hawaiian startup to prioritize renewable energy

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and Shifted Energy in Honolulu are partnering to use machine-learning technology to turn electric water heaters into thermal energy storage assets. 

Arizona’s public universities will be part of $50M investment from National Science Foundation

ASU, UArizona and NAU are part of the five new NSF INCLUDES Alliances, an initiative to improve STEM participation and education of underrepresented groups.

Phoenix chipmaker changed its name and broadened its focus

ON Semiconductor, one of Arizona’s largest public companies, is now onsemi and will also focus on building a sustainable ecosystem.

Keap added new features to help small businesses grow

Keap announced new text marketing features, like automated and broadcast text messaging, to help companies communicate more effectively to their customers.

Facebook made a big bet on Mesa

The social media giant announced plans to build a $800 million data center near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Arizona named #2 for Best Business Climate of large cities

Arizona was named #2 for Best Business Climate of large cities and landed in the top ten in several categories on the Business Facilities 2021 state rankings report.

WebPT cofounder launched a scholarship program to improve BIPOC representation in physical therapy

Rizing Tide Foundation, launched in 2020 by WebPT cofounder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, announced five new scholarships, to be given to aspiring physical therapists in underrepresented communities. 

University of Arizona announced a program designed to advance health technology

University of Arizona Health Sciences will launch HealthTech Connect, which is a consortium designed to build opportunities for companies and organizations to pursue cutting-edge innovations in health technology. 

A for Arizona will lead the charge to improve the many problems with school transportation

A for Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Arizona education, has been selected as program administrator for the Arizona Transportation Modernization Grants Program, which is designed to address the many problems with current school transportation, especially those in underserved communities.

Recruiting software Paradox acquired Baltimore-based Traitify

Paradox, a platform designed to improve hiring and recruiting, announced its acquisition of Traitify, a mobile-first digital assessment platform based in Baltimore, to further simplify the recruiting process. 

Sion Power announced it will release a high-power, rechargeable lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles

Tucson-based battery manufacturer Sion Power introduced its Licerion rechargeable electric vehicle battery, which will be capable of storing 400 wh/kg.

Phantom Space acquired a microsatellite tech firm

Phantom Space Corp., a space transportation technology manufacturing and development company based in Tucson, acquired Florida-based microsatellite tech firm Micro Aerospace Solutions (MAS).

Digital Air Strike joined CDK Global’s Fortellis Automotive Commerce Exchange platform

Consumer engagement technology company Digital Air Strike announced it will contribute to the Fortellis Automotive Commerce Exchange platform built by CDK Global.