Editor’s Insight – November Trend Report: Tucson’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Tucson is home to an exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem that enables startups and ideas to launch and thrive. Thanks to the efforts of our academic network across the University of Arizona, such as Center for Innovation and Tech Launch Arizona, along with groups like StartUp Tucson and others, the Tucson Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is alive and well.

As we were putting this issue of Trend report together, IdeaFunding was celebrating its 25th year as Southern Arizona’s largest and longest entrepreneurial conference and pitch competition. Where early-startup companies from all over Arizona come to participate by pitching their ideas, and this year compete for over $50,000 in prize money. The public is invited to watch the finalists’ pitch on November 3rd. For more information and to purchase tickets to attend TENWEST and IdeaFunding visit: www.tenwest.com.

We have compiled and highlighted over 200 startups and new businesses in this issue. These are the trends to watch.

All startups, by their very nature start out being small businesses, but not all small businesses are startups. The difference with startups is that it’s their goal to no longer be a startup at some point, while many small business owners are more than happy for their small businesses to remain small.

We thank Michael Rossmann for his introduction explaining why startups are important. They are the BIG SMALL to our economy indeed!

The amazing thing I learned about the term “startup” is that it really has no defined boundaries. In fact, I’m not sure there are many boxes that you can lump startups into. Founders come in all ages and backgrounds, while companies can still be considered startups for quite awhile after founding with no hard or fast rules as to when they stop being a startup. They only stop when they stop innovating.

We’d like to thank our startup contributors who were willing to give their time to help us understand their businesses. Emil Tremblay of Ambr Grading; Andy Griffis and Sonny Cray of Delta Thermal; Richard Austin of Reglagene; and Martin Fuchs of Metfora.

Thank you to Kameron Norwood and Dave DiCosola of PackDash; Terje Skotheim of Lightsense Technology; Angel Herrera and Ryan Smith of Zendoor; Collin Taylor of Revolute Robotics; and Cherie Koester of ERX.

And thanks to Kuldip Verma of Vermaland and Anita Verma-Lalian of Arizona Land Consulting; as well as Tony Mangat of Mangat Group for reminding us that innovative startups also exist in the real estate industry and fill some gaps in that market.

I have found a common thread connecting all startups, though: a passion to disrupt, change or enhance the traditional mindset of whatever industry they are in.

Thanks also to Jessa Turner of UA Center for Innovation, for her help and making us aware of the fact that there are 77 Startups associated with UACI.

As Paul Tumarkin of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) states, ‘the University of Arizona is a powerhouse of research and innovation’ and ranked 28 of the top 100 worldwide universities for the most U.S. patents granted for inventions in 2021. This is where TLA comes in, to bring those patents to market. The numbers speak to their success: $1.6 billion in economic activity over the past five years, 2,500 jobs and $561 million in labor income. With triple the startups now, since they began. Our congratulations to Tech Launch for 10 years of innovation and commercialization being celebrated this month.

For our purposes though, it does not have to be tech. Private Investors shouldn’t narrow their criteria to tech alone. As you can see, the definition of a startup is broad. But, while there are a lot of factors that go into the definition of a startup, we are going to leave you with these words from Apple founder, Steve Jobs worth considering:

“You’ve got to have an idea, or a problem, or a wrong to right that you’re passionate about, otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.”

Special thanks to all our contributors and our Trend report team: Patti van Leer, Michael Rossmann, Melissa Vucijevic and Jack Paddock for making this issue possible. We start work right away on a remarkable December issue that will feature 2023 Predictions from experts.

And thank you to our readers for your continued support. As always, we appreciate your feedback and welcome your comments.

Karen Schutte,
Trend report
Managing Editor



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