Angels are key players on our economic recovery team

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10

It’s a busy time as we prepare for AZEC10: The Great Reset on November 17th,  As I’ve been chatting  with sponsors, attendees and our fabulous line up of speakers, I have been giving lots of thought to the components needed to get our economic engine firing on all cylinders again. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts on what it will take to get our economy growing again with ABC15’s Angie Holdsworth.Continue reading

After the Bubble Burst It Was Time to Hit the Reset

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10 – Investor and CEO Paul Winandy

PaulWinandyAfter the tech bubble burst in 2000-2001, large scale software implementations at Fortune 500 companies were non-existent. Doing what had worked before was not working.  As AZEC10 Investor Panel participant Paul Winandy shared “My consulting practice hit a wall and I had to retool and redefine myself.”  So Paul switched from services to software and joined an early stage software company here in Phoenix (Khimetrics) which was later acquired by SAP. After another SaaS startup (SkillSurvey) and managing ATIF. Today he is CEO of the fastest growing EMR solution for physical therapists (WebPT). 

WebPT is the first web-based physical therapy documentation system in the world. The system offers a brand new approach to practice management and patient documentation as the application is designed to improve clinic productivity, increase revenue, reduce expenses and enhance a more stress-free clinical environment. The digital documentation system combines an intuitive dashboard user interface with practical physical therapy logic to create a user-friendly documentation solution. WebPT’s goal is to revolutionize the industry utilizing sound technology and innovative methods to provide the strongest, most effective solution to assist with increasing clinic profits and improving the quality of practice.

Paul is an active angel investor focusing on investment opportunities in enterprise software, Internet commerce, technology enabled services and medical devices with 10 different investments in my career. The results: 3 failed, 2 returned 3x, 5 are in process.  He brings a unique perspective to early stage entrepreneurship coming from a family of entrepreneurs.

My grandfather ran a diner in downtown Chicago for 30 years. My father started his own chemical manufacturing firm which was angel funded, made the Inc. 500 list and was sold for a very nice exit. And I’ve been a part of six different startups in my career … 2 bootstrapped; 2 angel funded; and 2 VC funded. The results: 2 failed, 2 made the Inc. 500 list and exited for > $150M, and 2 are still growing and doing well.  (Paul Winandy)

ATIF Invests in Arizona (About ATIF)

http://www.ATIF-AZ.orgThe Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF) is an active community of accredited investors who invest in high-potential technology companies based in Arizona.

ATIF members participate in four investor meetings a year to consider investment opportunities presented by finalists screened by our selection process. Since May 2007, ATIF members have invested over $2.3 million in Arizona-based technology ventures that have presented at ATIF meetings. 

With over 50 members ATIF’s growth is really the result of contributions from all our members. Each of our members is involved in the entrepreneurial community and actively promotes ATIF to other investors.

JKW:  How do you see your role in the AZ Entrepreneurial Eco-system?

PW:  In Addition to the companies I have worked with and led, I’ve also been an active angel investor so I have a lot of experience with startups and investing. I know both success and failure. I’ve made money and I’ve lost money. Through it all I remain steadfast in my belief that the path to truly great wealth is to build successful startups into scalable enterprises.

My role is to pass on my hard earned experience to the next generation of entrepreneurs and to motivate others to invest in them.

JKW:   What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

PW:  I plan to focus heavily on WebPT to help it reach its potential. By AZEC11 we should be the premier EMR solution for the physical therapy industry.

JKW:  WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10? Why will you be there?

PW:  I actively support local organizations that offer real value to early stage tech entrepreneurs. AZEC has consistently hosted a strong conference with speakers that provide sound advice and counsel. I am honored to be a part of this event.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

…there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10. If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Going Green in a BIG Way – Debra T Johnson of Eco-Edge

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10

EcoEdge_Debra JohnsonWhen CorePurpose was just getting started in 2002, I made what was, at the time, a BIG investment (at least it was big to me since it was my personal money and we were not making any yet) as a Mentor Sponsor at AVCC (The Arizona Venture Capital Conference which has evolved into Invest Southwest .)

I was standing at the back of the room getting the lay of the land when I struck up a conversation with an entrepreneur with a vision to help preserve our environment and help companies save money at the same time. That CEO was Debra T. Johnson of Eco-Edge. She’ll be sharing her story and what she has learned along the way at AZEC10 this year.  Here is a sneak peek.

THE CHALLENGE
Balancing the needs of keeping fleet operations going, making them more cost effective, and trying to do the right thing for the environment can often stress even the strongest management teams. Evaluating the ever increasing array of technologies with claims of “green” is a project that most companies find daunting and many simply pass on incorporating environmental initiatives into their operations. (Source: www.ecoedgeco.com)

Eco-Edge addresses this challenge by:

Taking companies with diesel fleet and industrial operations to new levels of profitability, performance and sustainability:

Eco-efficient Solutions

Unprecedented Credibility

Award-Winning Technologies for

Improved Fuel Economy

Reduced Maintenance Costs

More Efficient & Effective Operations

Reduced Environmental Footprint

image

JKW:  How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?

DTJ: As a survivor of the Great Recession, a pioneer in the current business push toward sustainability, and a woman operating in male dominated industries, I like to think of myself as a harbinger of change and an example of “it can be done.”

JKW:  How long has Eco-Edge been in Arizona and how has it  grown?

DTJ: We started here in 2002, working out of my house, dealing mostly in Mexico as “Emissions Product International.” We gradually outgrew our name as we expanded our product line and focus. We learned that the technologies we represent are not yet mature enough for international markets, so our primary focus has been on growing domestically since about 2005 or so.

JKW:  Who helped you/Eco-Edge along the growth path?

DTJ: Wow – so many people that I can hardly begin to name them all! We have been really blessed by having a lot of people really believe in what we do. The most significant ones have been our people at Eco-Edge (and spouses who put up with us). Others whose contribution was critical to where we are now: AAAME and Rena Huber, Frank Thomas, Rick Johnson at Renaissance Forum, Greg Mischel, and so many others.

JKW:  What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

DTJ: Return to consistency in our monthly revenues. The Great Recession really took its toll there because of our heavy reliance on construction related businesses through 2008 (almost 70%), but we have clawed our way back and have diversified extensively, which is showing results. We will also launch at least two of our own technologies developed in house;, whereas in the past, we have strictly sold others’ products.

JKW:  As a leader – did you ever get stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

DTJ: Yes. Many times. There are a couple solutions I try when I am stuck:

· The old “Fake it till you make it” philosophy – which to me means that you have to tell yourself affirmations that get you through the moments of doubt.

· Step back and use the Stephen Covey principle of “sharpening the saw.” Do something you enjoy and that completely clears your head of work.

· The Covey planning and prioritization tools are also something I often come back to when I am stuck. Those tools organize my activities into little steps that can be tackled in a logical order, give a sense of direction, and give a sense of accomplishment that feeds my enthusiasm whenever I cross something off the list.

JKW:  WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10?  Why will you be there?

DTJ: AZEC10 has grown over the year’s into an outstanding resource for entrepreneurs to learn about tools available to us, as well as that we are not alone. Others are facing the same challenges, something which is often not realized as we entrepreneurs try to slay our dragons. I am thrilled that some of the lessons we have learned from issues we have battled through might inspire or help other entrepreneurs in their own quest.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Note:  If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

What Can One Person Do? Find out from Dave McClure at AZEC10

A guest post by Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners

People you will hear from at AZEC10

Dave McClure  - photo by Kris Krug www.staticphotography.com/One man in Silicon Valley is trying to turn  the venture capital industry on its head — by going outside Silicon Valley. Dave McClure, founder of the new SuperAngel/VC fund 500 Startups, travels all over the world looking for ideas and deals. Not only that, but he will do a deal with anyone who pitches him a good idea.
We are fortunate to have Dave coming to Arizona for AZEC10 on Nov.17.
How does he know when he sees a good idea? Well, it’s his history and experience that give him the edge. He’s been in Silicon Valley for twenty years. He was director of Marketing for Paypal in 2004 when it was acquired by EBay.  He has taught a class on Facebook at Stanford. He managed the fund created by Accel Partners, Facebook, and Founders Fund  to incubate Facebook applications. For the past half dozen years, he’s been an active angel investor.

Encouraging Entrepreneurial Exchanges Globally

Dave sees the entire geek world, no matter what continent it is on. And I mean up close and in person.  A few years ago, he organized a series of trip so called Geeks on a Plane, through which American geeks visit other cities and countries and Dave gets to meet not only them, but the geeks at the destinations. He does this by volunteering to speak at tech conferences. I went with him to China, Korea, and Singapore this past spring, and in two weeks we went to four cities in three countries, attending six conferences for startups and web technology. He has also taken trips to Washington DC to lobby for better immigration policies and to Hawaii to “Re-Think Hawaii.” Next year, he plans some new continents. 🙂 

Dave McClure and Francine Hardaway - Geeks On A Plane - Shanghai - China ( photo by Kris Krug www.staticphotography.com)

In Silicon Valley, he organized Startup2Startup, a monthly dinner where entrepreneurs hear from one of their own. And he’s active in a program that’s trying to get the visa rules changed for non-natives who come to the US for an education and would like to stay here to start companies.

As a champion of the “Lean Startup,” a concept that involves getting the product out to the market as quickly as possible to get feedback, iterate, optimize, and get more feedback, McClure is trying to convince engineers to design products quickly, and move on from their failures. It’s a loop, Dave says. He’s all for killing features that “suck,” and keeping what works.

To that end, he’s now going around the world looking for his 500 Startups, to each of whom he gives a small amount of funding to get the loop going. This goes against traditional venture capital models, which typically make larger investments in fewer companies later in their development cycles. But it appears that, in the current age of apps, the ordinary VCs can’t find the right deals for their huge funds. McClure, flying to Asia, holding his dinners, speaking at entrepreneurship conferences in Arizona, and talking about Startup Metrics for Pirates, is sneaking in right between the legs of the most towering VC names.

____________________________________________________________________

About Francine Hardaway:

Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners has been an entrepreneurial and social venture catalyst for over 30 years.  She spends her time between Phoenix, the Silicon Valley and London and where ever she goes, you can be sure that she is on the look out for the next great innovation.  To connect with Francine, follow her on Twitter @Hardaway or via Google Voice at 816-WRITTEN (9748836)

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10 on 11/17/2010.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Capital is Key to Growth and Growth Brings Jobs

ABC15 10 21 2010 Effective November 5, 2010, the US Small Business Administration will be adjusting the limits and guidelines as to what defines a “Small Business” for a number of SBA programs including SBA loans, small business set asides for government contracts, and other programs.  Basically “small” just got bigger.  This change is designed to make capital and opportunity more accessible to entrepreneurs and small business.  The goal:  help these businesses grow so they can create more jobs.

On October 21, 2010, I had a chance to speak with ABC 15 reporter Angie Holdsworth on why this is good for the economy and creates more opportunity for entrepreneurs.  You can watch the video from the News at 10 and connect to a link to Angie’s story below.  To learn see a snapshot of the SBA loan history for FY 2009, FY 2010, FY 2011 YTD ( the US Government is already in Fiscal 2011) click here.  These are big numbers BUT with President Obama signing the Small Business Jobs Act into law on September 27, 2010, there is $30 Billion more in SBA loan support available. And for it to help “re-set” the economy it needs to move from banks to business.  By making the pool of eligible businesses larger, the hope is that the money will move the economy  forward faster.

  You can see the original video and ABC15’s Angie Holdworth’s full coverage at ABC15.com 

Small businesses, and specifically those in the second stage category of 10 to 100 employees with $1M to $100M in revenue are the single most productive segment for net new job creation.  Data from the Edward Lowe Foundation’s research site Your Economy.org illustrates the impact of second stage companies as the singe largest driver in the creation of net new jobs year after year.  These companies need capital to grow and do their bit for job creation and the economy. The SBA’s action is designed to open up access to capital and opportunity to more of these companies.

The best way to learn if this change benefits YOUR business is to talk to the SBA.

Representatives from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and Greater Phoenix SCORE will be be on hand at the fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference (AZEC10) on November 17, 2010 at the Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix.  Both the SBA and SCORE are great resources for entrepreneurs in gaining a better understanding of how they might use SBA programs to access capital for growth, compete for government contracts, and use other programs specifically designed to help small businesses grow and create jobs. 

In addition to the opportunity to learn more about the great resources available from both the US SBA and Greater Phoenix Score, attendees at AZEC10 will hear from and meet thought leaders from around the country, successful CEOs who are making it happen even in this economy, as well as  entrepreneurs from across North America.  To learn more about AZEC10, this year’s speakers, and to register, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  She also serves as an Ambassador for Greater Phoenix SCORE.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

 

Looking at Life and Entrepreneurship Through a View Finder

A guest post by Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners 

Kris Krug www.staticphotography.comLegendary photographer (and all around nice guy) Kris Krug has much to say about both photography and entrepreneurship, because he is both a photographer and an entrepreneur.  Based in Vancouver, Kris travels all over the world to take pictures for  National Geographic, Rolling Stone,Business Week, the Financial Times, USA Today, the LA Times, PBS, Ion Magazine, Wikipedia,Heads Magazine, The Victoria Times-Colonist, the Seattle Stranger,Westender, The Terminal City News and various other online and print publications. He has also co-authored the book “Killer Photos With the iPhone.”

But the photographs are almost the back story.  There’s a man behind the art, a man  who cares deeply about technology, the web and the world. His LinkedIn bio says he’s a “technarist,” and a cyber-punk antihero, and that’s his “professional” profile. When you meet him, you don’t know whether to be drawn first to the photography or to the human being. He’s one of the most evolved, well-rounded humans on the planet.

copyright Kris Krug, www.staticphotography.comAfter publishing a ground-breaking online magazine for several years, Kris was president of Bryght – a “web 2.0” start-up that offered a unique hosting service. Through enthusiastic outreach, Kris helped create a marketplace for community-centric websites and his evangelism spawned an eco-system of related companies in Vancouver. He moonlighted as a fashion photographer, shooting subjects from executives to rock bands for fun and profit. He also organized PhotoCamps and PhotoWalks for aspiring and established photographers to exchange tips on both artistic and business lens of photography. 

And then he became an entrepreneur on his own. He makes money through his passion, photography, even though he licenses his work through Creative Commons. How does he do it? You will have to hear him to find out.

Well known in the blogging community, he  speaks at conferences and media programs around the world about Internet tools, new media, and evolving copyright standards. He is an organizer of the Vancouver tech conference Northern Voice as well as a catalyst for workshops and “un”conferences – most recently in Beijing and Shanghai where Kris participated in international economic leadership events in advance of the 2008 and 2010 Olympics. I met him first at Gnomedex in Seattle, and then had the extreme pleasure of traveling with him this spring to China, Korea and Singapore with the GeeksonaPlane, group, organized by Dave McClure, another headliner at AZEC10.

Copyright: Kris Krug, www.staticphotography.comKris’ skills bridge the technology, business and art communities. Through his unique approach to aesthetics and open business, he encourages collaboration to produce personal and professional expression online. As a bit of an “Internet rockstar,” he actively touts Vancouver as the most exciting and productive place to start a web business and openly assists new tech enterprises with entrepreneurial challenges.

You must see the work.  But you can do that on Flickr.  It’s much more important to meet the man in person, and hear his life philosophy, his enthusiasm, and his wonderful spirit emerge.

— —

About Francine Hardaway:

Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners has been an entrepreneurial and social venture catalyst for over 30 years.  She spends her time between Phoenix, the Silicon Valley and London and where ever she goes, you can be sure that she is on the look out for the next great innovation.  To connect with Francine, follow her on Twitter @Hardaway or via Google Voice at 816-WRITTEN (9748836)

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

More than just a conference, AZEC is a community builder

All over the country there are lots of great conferences.  There are blogger conferences, women’s  conferences, entrepreneurship conferences, technology conferences, and leadership conferences to name a few.  If you had the time and the money, you could go to a conference almost every week.  Some of them are money makers for individuals. Others are the focus of membership AZEC10_Logoorganizations looking to recruit and retain members.   OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation was not established to run conferences.  Instead, AZEC was born out of a need to raise money to fund programs that help at-risk populations (you know, the people who really need a hand up) attain economic self sufficiency OTEF Logothrough entrepreneurship.  The OTEF founders knew that the best way to raise money for a worthy cause is to to deliver value.  Instead of going to every deep pocket in town with their hands out, they got to work on programs that would do just that.  Since 2006, OTEF and the AZEC series of conference each November have been some of the most benefit rich programs for the cost that you can find anywhere.

OTEF’s work does not stop with the AZEC conference – It starts there.

OTEF’s first program (in 2007) was at the SEEDS House in Phoenix and helped lay the foundation for a new entrepreneurial venture.   Cup O’ Karma offers great beverages and snacks in a comfortable setting with free Wi-Fi, and artwork plus live entertainment Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. All proceeds from Cup O’ Karma support the programs and services offered by NATN, which includes the agency’s Support, Education, Empowerment and DirectionS (SEEDs) program.

SEEDs residents participated in a 12-week entrepreneurship program offered by Photo of Cup O' KarmaOTEF and taught by OTEF Executive Director Francine Hardaway, Ed Nusbaum, and Phillip Blackerby.  Together they developed a business plan, which included owning and operating a coffee shop.  The SEEDs residents would operate the café while learning employable skills such as customer service, community relations, marketing and outreach, purchasing and management.  From its grand opening in June of 2008 until today, Cup O’Karma has been the place to go for  great beverages in a comfortable atmosphere with free Wi-Fi, local artwork, and live entertainment weekly. Located at 1710 W. Southern Ave Between Dobson & Longmore in Mesa, Arizona  (across from Mesa Community College), Cup O’Karma has become not only a place of new beginnings for the SEEDS women but also a vibrant part of the community they serve.

Since AZEC10 marks OTEF’s fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, I thought it would be a great time to reach out to Monalou Callery, founder and chairman of the National Advocacy & Training Network and the SEEDs Program and the Founder of NATN and the Assistant Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to touch base.

JKW:  Tell me a little about SEEDS and your work with OTEF.

MC: SEEDs ( support, education, empowerment & directions) is a transitional housing program for battered/sexually abused women that cultivates and nurtures each individual to become independent and self sufficient through all avenues of life skills and entrepreneurship.

OTEF opened a door for small non profits (like SEEDS)  to think beyond just offering social services to people in need and think on a much larger scale in terms of revenue generating opportunities that individuals, agencies and businesses together can unite to solve many of our social issues today.

Obstacles lead to resilience and undiscovered opportunity. Opportunity paves the way to untapped sources of tools and alternative skills for business management I would otherwise never have considered. A phrase I believe to be so fitting for us,

“Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey.”

JKW:   OTEF was honored to have the opportunity to work with the SEEDS women to develop the concept and plan for Cup O’Karma in 2007 as part of that journey.  What has happened since then?

OTEF Training at SEEDsMC: Cup O’Karma has been in operation since June, 2008. Since opening our Café, sales and customer base has doubled; we have tapped into community groups such as musicians, artists, crafters, that our agency would have never crossed paths and worked so closely together to pursue our mission. The women not only gain job and people skills but it has given them the complete confidence to know they are more than capable of operating a business, developed leadership skills, or just in knowing that they can accomplish  anything  they set their minds on.

JKW:  Who and what helped you and the team  along the growth path?

MC: By keeping an open mind, listening and hearing all the feedback the women themselves have to offer as we grow..we have grown together.   Whether it is a woman who has no job skills or business background or one with years of business experience, we learn so much from the life lessons of each woman. After all, they are survivors and have learned things that none of us will ever read in a book. Aside from our SEEDs women being key to our growth, members of the community, volunteers and customer relationships and their feedback are the backbone of our sustainability.

JKW:  SEEDS is all about growth.  What’s next for Cup O’Karma?

MC: Cup O’Karma: Community Café for a Cause plans to expand out coffee shop into a place where community becomes instrumental to social change. Our future journey: A community galleria that will move to a larger site, expand our food menu and sell crafts and goods for other agencies, increase opportunities for more musicians and artists and finally to become a resource to any member of the community needing assistance.

___________________________________________________________________________________

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Mohandas Gandhi

Monalou and the SEEDs women are living Gandhi’s words.  They are changing their lives and touching the lives of others.

The attendees, sponsors, speakers and volunteers who came together in 2006 to connect,engage, and collaborate at the First Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference in 2006 did too.  Not only did the receive the benefit of listen to thought leaders including Michael Gerber and panels of local CEOs but they also helped provide the resources to allow OTEF to support the SEEDs women on their journey. That’s why to me, OTEF’s  Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences are special and different from so many others.

AZEC10 on November 17, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona is more than just another conference with great speakers.  It is an opportunity for us to build not just our businesses but our community.  I will be there.  Will you?

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…there will be more AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and the conference.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Get Started

Which company from Startup Weekend Phoenix will be on the main stage at AZEC a few years from now?

It’s a simple fact of life.  Every journey starts somewhere.  And the entrepreneurial journey is no exception to the rule.  Here in Arizona, many of our investors, technology
companies, entrepreneurs, and community organizations understand that journey, that is why they support Startup Weekend

What it is Startup Weekend?

SWPHX-Logo-'10An international non-profit that’s hosted in over 100 cities worldwide. The 3 day event brings together Developers, UX designers, SEO marketers, Entrepreneurs, Graphic Designers, Lawyers and anyone necessary to build a company. The participants pitch their ideas and form teams around the best concepts. These teams have 54 hours to build a prototype and present it on the final day. The best team winning prizes and potential funding.

Why Phoenix?

This year’s Startup Weekend Phoenix is the first in Downtown Phoenix and is designed to tap into the incredible creativity that is developing. Hosted in the CO-HOOTS co-working space at 825 North 7th Street (in the newly renovated Bayless Grocery Building), attendees will be working in the heart of Phoenix’s art district, which will add a unique dimension to this event.  (The valley’s highly successful 2008 Startup Weekend was hosted at Gangplank in Chandler, Arizona.)

 

Photo courtesy of Start Up Weekend PhoenixWhen it is: October 22nd – 24th 2010… 

  • Fri. 6pm-10pm
  • Sat. 9am-12am
  • Sun. 9am-10pm

How much: $75 for the weekend, $20 to attend the Sunday Pitch Night.  Tickets are going fast – get them while you can.  If they are still available by the time you read this, click here to take advantage of a 20% discount.

What to expect if you come to Startup Weekend Phoenix: (swphx)

  • Food and beverages for 3 days (including beer for participants 21+) 
  • The ability to test your ideas and potentially bring them to life
  • Guidance and support from experienced mentors from various backgrounds
  • Networking and team building with like minded participants
  • Exposure for teams with exceptional market potential 
  • Access to Angels and VCs
  • An opportunity to become an entrepreneur

What’s unique about swphx compared to other SW events:

Startup Weekend 2008 was hosted at Gankplank in Chandler, AZThe focus of swphx is on building viable business models. The judging criteria requires that the products or services being pitched have a primary focus on generating revenue, specifically with the goal of being profitable. Many startups focus on building “neat” ideas that generate a large number of users or impressions because people will use their service for free. Instead of focusing on “monetizing” at a later date, swphx is focused on entrepreneurship today.

“Profitability, is in essence, sustainability.”

The organizers and volunteers at swphx want to foster the creation of sustainable companies and believe that “If customers are willing to pay you for something it means you’ve created something of true value.” It’s not to say that services like Twitter are not useful. They are great tools, but that’s very different from being a great business. At swphx expect to be reminded that profitability, is in essence, sustainability. 

Growth comes through collaboration

Walking the halls of Co-Hoots this coming weekend will be entrepreneurs, developers, graphic designers, SEO experts, UX Designers, marketing experts, inventors, lawyers, investors and anyone who has a desire to help build a profitable business.  (They are even letting me pop in.)

AT OTEF and AZEC10, we recognize that this year’s Startup Weekend Phoenix companies may well be the next big success to share there experiences with our entrepreneurial community in the years to come. That is why we have donated an AZEC10 ticket to be awarded to one of the lucky attendees.  After all – every entrepreneur can use a little luck.

Programs like Startup Weekend Phoenix and AZEC are components of what makes our Arizona entrepreneurial community strong and vibrant.  Don’t miss your opportunity to attend swphx (October 22-24) OR AZEC10 on November 17th. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…  There will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Startup Weekend” is a trademark of Cooley Godward Kronish, LLP

Startup Weekend Phoenix logo and photos courtesy of Startup Weekend Phoenix

All rights reserved.

Some like them hot. Just ask investor and advisor Rick Gibson

Rick Gibson ( photo by Mark Goldstein/IRG copyright 2010 all rights reserved)All the HOT companies are in the Silicon Valley – Right?  Of course not.  Great ideas and great entrepreneurs come from everywhere.  Luckily so do strong investor partners and advisors and a great example is Rick Gibson, Managing Director of HOTventures, a “mentor capital fund” for the Southwest U.S., which invests in and advises fast-growth companies, specializing in Information Technology, BioSciences, GreenTech and Media. As an investor and entrepreneurial activist, he’s totally immersed in early-stage growth companies…finding them, making them great, and helping them reach that magical moment, a liquidity events.  Rick has been an investor, advisor or board member in:  Avisere, The Book Patch, Bourque Industries, CopperKey, Flypaper, Funding Universe, GridCoNet, High Throughput Genomics, IVIS, Medipacs, MedSphere, MDS VetInfo, MojoVideo, MSDx, Octopi, Real Time Companies, Regenesis, StrongWatch, USU2India, Virtual Learning Technologies, World Wide Wheat and Zero Waste Wine. He was a limited partner in Solstice Capital II (one of the largest venture capital funds in Arizona) and is a shareholder in Bill Gross’ Idealab.

Rick is also part of the panel of investors who will joining us at AZEC10, the fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference on November 17, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The annual investor’s panel is a perennial conference favorite along with keynotes from national thought leaders and local CEOs who will share their lessons from along the growth path.  (To see more about all the AZEC10 speakers click here.)  

As part of our continuing series on who you will meet at AZEC10, I asked Rick a few questions and this is what he had to share…

JKW:  How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?

RG:  My firm HOTventures builds fast-growth companies.   Throughout AZ, I serve as investor, fundraiser, board member, mentor, coach, speaker and deal guy.  I am constantly am looking for awesome companies, and then acting as a catalyst to help them succeed.

JKW:  How long has  your business been in AZ and how has it  grown?

RG:  HOTventures is now 10 years old.  It began as an opportunity which looked easy then.  We began with zero assets and created potentially millions of dollars of value.  Time will tell.   Call me back in about two years.

JKW:  That’s pretty impressive growth. Who helped you along the growth path?

RG:  Several people.  Often it was about finding the right deals at the right time.  I have been lucky to work with some really amazing people.  As you know, I have a long history with Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, then Harry George, managing director of Solstice Capital.  I was able to be part of the Desert Angels from the very first meeting, and served on its board and screening committee.  I was lucky to get involved with Invest Southwest and meet lots of AZ’s best entrepreneur’s over the years.

JKW:  You lead your own team and support the leaders of your portfolio companies.  Have you ever gotten stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

RG:  I am forever finding major revelations.  Since my role is to make difficult things happen, getting stuck happens regularly.  Often we find a way, sometimes we don’t.  Once in a while, I get deep into something and it fails.  I had one a couple of years ago, and I am still fixing it.

JKW:   What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

RG:  Meet ten awesome entrepreneurs and try to help some of them.

JKW: WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10?  Why will you be there?

RG:  There are rare occasions like this to meet entrepreneurs, at this stage in the game, who are looking to build themselves.  I can’t wait.

JKW: And I can’t wait either.  Every time  I am around Rick and the other great leaders who join us at AZEC I learn something new.   They share lots on event day and all through the year.  For example, here is a quote from the HOTventures website – some  great rules to live by for companies of every size…

Rules To Live By

It is good to trust, but much better to know (not just to trust)

Focus on what should be done, not just what you can do. Then put all effort into how you can do it. While this is much harder, it not only provides the best solution for your customers, but the biggest deterrence to your competition

It is not as simple as knowing what to do. For example, most people know what foods are necessary for an ideal diet and how much they should exercise. However, most lack the discipline to actually perform to this knowledge. Knowledge is good, but the ability to execute is much better.

(Rick Gibson – HOT Ventures)

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear more from Rick and our other great panelists, CEOs and thought leaders at AZEC10 on November 17th. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned.  There will be more AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and the conference.

 

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

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An Entrepreneurial Journey from Film to Fields to Fine Wine

Entrepreneurs come from many fields and many places.  This year at AZEC10 we have a special treat in store for you, the chance to hear from an entrepreneur who came from half-way around the world to create a home and a business in Arizona.  Entrepreneurs are story tellers, risk takers, and creators who take a vision and work together with others to create something magical. The same can be said of film makers and wine makers.  You might enjoy this video as  international film maker and winemaker Sam Pillsbury shares a bit about how he feels about Phoenix and his journey from film to fields to fine wine.

As part of the ongoing series about the people you will meet at AZEC10, I got a chance to ask Sam a few questions about his journey and his experience.  He will be sharing more from the main stage at the conference – but as they say in the world of wine,  sometimes all it takes is a taste to get you coming back for more.

As part of the ongoing series about the people you will meet at AZEC10, I got a chance to ask Sam a few questions about his journey and his experience.  He will be sharing more from the main stage at the conference – but as they say in the world of wine,  sometimes all it takes is a taste to get you coming back for more.

JKW:  How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?

Source: http://www.PillsburyWine.comSP: I grew up in a country, New Zealand, which evolved from seeing itself as a colony of Great Britain to being a country proud to produce great things itself, which included eventually, among other things, wine and movies.   When I first moved to Phoenix, I found a state which still thought that if it was made here, it was not good.  Everyone wanted to live in a Tuscan mansion, which has nothing to do with the Arizona desert and climate.  ABSURD!  I wanted to go against that trend and make a premium world class wine that was 100% original and unique, completely grown and made here.  Ten years ago it was an incredible struggle to be taken seriously, but that has changed remarkably in the last three or four years. I planted my first vineyard in 2000 in Cochise Country and started my own wine label in 2006.

JKW:  Neither the art of film making or the art of wine making are quick or simple processes. As the leader you need both patience and resolve.  Did you ever get stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

SP: I have gotten stuck in the movie making process.  It’s partly due to not being in control, like with the movies I made in the USA.  With the wine venture, I started it because I love wine, but I also set it up so that I could always be in control.  This way my work can not be compromised and I am 100% responsible for what I have produced. That does not mean that I don’t need a great team.  A number of people have helped me and the company along the growth path including Rob Dunaway, Bob Vera, Al Buhl (a former wine partner in Dos Cabezas) and now my executive director Lindsey Higginson.

JKW:  The Pillsbury Wine Company is gaining recognition and high marks as a rising star.  What is your goal for 2011?

SP: I want to make the best wine in America and increase production by 50% in the coming year.

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Sam will be sharing more of his story at AZEC10 on November 17th.  Now that the stage is set, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to meet him and hear what comes next in the Pillsbury Wine Company story

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned.  There will be more AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now an November 17th,

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.