The University of Arizona has been invited to participate in Destination Startup, an annual startup showcase held in Colorado designed to highlight some of the best companies in the Intermountain West.
The showcase brings together several of the leading research universities and federal laboratories across the Intermountain West region. Standout startups from these institutions will be the “best of the best” and should be research-based ventures with disrupting technology.
Companies from these institutions can apply and finalists are selected to attend a two-day event featuring seasoned entrepreneurs, VCs and angel investors. There, the startups will be able to build relationships, pitch their ideas and gain exposure. At least 132 investors have signed up online so far.
The goal of the showcase is to get many of the chosen startups, if not all of them, connected with capital, according to Stephen Miller, Director of Venture Development at University of Colorado-Boulder.
“It’s my job to let all this brilliance get recognized and noticed,” Miller told AZ Tech Beat. “It’s just exciting to be in contact with these innovators.”
To date, more than 50 new startup companies have been launched and collectively have raised more than $115 million.
The event, which will be held next February online and in person, was initiated by the University of Colorado in 2018 and included all of Colorado’s research institutions. Then, in 2019, the group expanded to include institutions in the entire Rocky Mountain region. In 2020, the event evolved and opened up to New Mexico and now, UArizona is the first institution from Arizona to participate.
As the group began to expand, Arizona stood out as one of the places in the region where major innovation was happening, Miller noted.
“Arizona is a hotbed of innovation,” he said.
Miller believes it’s only a matter of time that other Arizona universities, including Arizona State University, will join.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that ASU will participate next year,” said Miller.
It makes sense, considering ASU has been named “#1 in innovation” for the last six years.
The last day for companies to apply is Sept. 24. Finalists will be selected by a panel of at least 55 judges from around the country, and winners will be announced the week of Oct. 18.