About AZ Disruptors

AZ Disruptors is a startup incubator for software companies.

For the latest Arizona Startups and Arizona Tech News, visit AZTechBeat.com.

Subscribe to News

RSS Feed Follow AZ Disruptors on TwitterTwitter

Or you can subscribe by email.


You will get a confirmation email.



Entries in Incubator (11)


AZ Disruptors Pitch Day Highlights

If you missed the AZ Disruptors Pitch Day event, here is a quick one-minute highlight video:

Watch AZ Disruptors Pitch Day Highlights on YouTube

It was a fantastic event. Lots more videos, including the pitches themselves coming soon! 


AZ Disruptors Pitch Day Judges Announced

The AZ Disruptors offices are now completely done and furnished. We are now getting ready for the big "Pitch Day" event that's coming up this Friday. There will be 15 startups pitching for up to 5 spots in the AZ Disruptors Software Incubator.

We are excited to have a fantastic mix of people, from angels and investors to entrepreneurs and software CEOs who will be attending this event. Additionally, we are extremely excited about the team of 5 judges that we have lined up:

Francine Hardaway, Ph.D. is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and now a partner in Stealthmode Partners, an accelerator for growth companies in Arizona and the Bay Area. Her expertise is in bringing tech products to market. She is a founding member of Social Media Club and the founder of the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences. She is also a blogger, a beta tester for social media products, and a geek-to-human translator. She blogs for her http://blog.Stealthmode.com, writes The World of Startups Outside Silicon Valley for FastCompany.com and on Huffington Post.

Greg Head has a successful history in the software business with a track record of creating winning products, brands and businesses. He is currently Chief Marketing Officer for Infusionsoft. For over 15 years, Greg helped grow the ACT! contact management and SalesLogix CRM businesses from startups to global brands. He has a passion for helping emerging technology companies with their marketing and growth strategies. 

Jim Goulka is the Managing Director of ATIF—Arizona Technology Investor Forum—the active angel group in Phoenix focused on companies developing new technologies. He is currently CEO of an early stage software company that offers project management tools for large enterprises. In the past he has been CEO of an angel backed software company (sold to Apple), a venture backed software company, and a national technology transfer entity that markets technologies developed by NASA. Jim started his career in corporate finance at units of JPMorgan/Chase andCitibank. He holds two degrees from Yale.
Mike Wolf is a 26 year software veteran with EDS, Capex, Computer Associates, VIASOFT, and Vitrix. As a co-founder of VIASOFT, he helped drive the company from initial startup, to one of Arizona’s most successful software IPO’s. As General Partner of Lobodos Ventures, he has invested in numerous local startups, while mentoring and advising hundreds of young entrepreneurs. He has been a founding Board member for such organizations as the AZ Software Association, AZ Technology Council, AZ Angels, AZ Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA), and the MIT Enterprise Forum. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Quantitative Systems from ASU, where he supports their Venture Catalyst Program.

Steve Zylstra is President & CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. Steve is a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards in Arizona and a leading advocate for improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. He has served in numerous technology leadership and advisory roles to the Governor and currently serves on several association, industry and community boards. He also served over 20 years in the aerospace & defense industry as an engineer and executive. Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering technology from Western Michigan University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science in Technology from the University of Advancing Technology.

While regretebly, we haven't been able to accomodate everyone who has wanted to attend this event, we will be live streaming the event Friday morning. Be sure to subscribe to the AZ Disruptors News and Blog to stay posted on where you can find the link to watch the event on your own computer:


You will get a confirmation email.



AZ Disruptors "Event" Room

Today, we setup the AZ Disruptors Event Room. This will be the room where the Pitch Day event will take place on May 20th. It's complete with a 10' wide projection screen, speakers, wireless mic and room for up to 80 people to participate in the event.

After a day of going through AZ Disruptors applications, I can already tell it's going to be a fantastic event.

We will be filling this room with entrepreneurs, investors, angels, VCs and software CEOs to watch some of the best software startups in the valley pitch for a chance to participate in the AZ Disruptors Software Incubator.


58 Companies Apply for AZ Disruptors Incubator

This weekend marked the application deadline for the AZ Disruptors incubator. We have received 58 applications for consideration in our first AZ Disruptors incubator. Surprisingly, lots of submitters waited until the last day. While we received applications on 27 different days since we started getting the word out back in January, a full 20 of the submissions (34%) happened on the day of the deadline.  Very interesting indeed.

Over the next 2 weeks, we will be contacting every applicant to let them know the next steps in our efforts to pick the top 18 candidates to pitch on the AZ Disruptors Pitch Day on May 20th.

If you'd like to receive an invite to the Pitch Day event, please submit this form to request an invitation. If your invitation is accepted, you will be notified to RSVP in a separate email. The event is free, but invitation is required.


NextSlide and AZ Disruptors Presentation

You've definitely heard of YouTube. You may have also heard about SlideShare. But you probably haven't heard about this fanstastic local startup called NextSlide. It's like having YouTube and SlideShare combined in the most perfect way.

The best way for me to describe what NextSlide does, is to show you. Here is the presentation I gave at last week's local .NET event:

NextSlide makes it super easy to put together a video and the slides of a presentation perfectly tuned and bookmarked. You can easily skip to a particular section or enjoy the entire presentation the way it was intended to be: with audio, video and slides all in synch. Great stuff! 



3 Days Left to Apply for AZ Disruptors

Just a quick reminder that the application deadline for applying to AZ Disruptors is coming up this Friday, April 29th.

Applying takes less than 5 minutes! No business plan needed. Just the raw details of your product, team and current status. We don't want projections either. It can't get much simpler.

If you have a software related idea, working prototype or product with real users, we'll consider it all. And if you are selected to participate in the AZ Disruptors incubator, here is what you get:

  • Free logistics for 4 months to build your product & company. The logistics include:
    • Office space
    • Furniture
    • Internet Connectivity
    • Snaks and Drinks
  • Free mentorship & guidance to help determine deliverables
  • An office environment with lots of techies from other software companies
  • $20,000 in Cash
  • At the end of the 4-month incubation phase, you will:
    • Have a kick ass deliverables which will include a usable product & a company foundation
    • Get the ability to demo your company & product in front of Angels and VCs
    • Help with getting your company to Phase II by raising additional funds

We are looking for software startups that are trying to create solutions for markets that are large and fragmented with lots of players. We want solutions that are disruptive to the marketplace in their ease of use, in their speed and in their cost.

Apply to the AZ Disruptors Incubator Now



Announcing the AZ Disruptors "Pitch Day"

As the April 29th deadline for submitting your software startup quickly aproaches, we have lots of great updates to inform you about.

Right this minute, the AZ Disruptors office furniture is being assembled. This is the space that Arizona's new disruptive software startups will utilize to create the next awesome software company. As with Axosoft's offices, the space is designed for "team rooms" of up to 6 people per room. Each team room will be home to anywhere from one to as many as three new startups.

New startups will also be able to use the rest of the office facilities, including a comfortable kitchen with seating for 40, a lounge area with XBox Kinect and the Wii, a gym that's designed to kick your butt into shape and five different conference rooms that can accomodate 2 to 70 people for various types of meetings. The facilities are nice, but the real value of the space is having access to the people who have built two successful and profitable software companies, Axosoft and TransferBigFiles.com (and countless failures too).

The AZ Disruptors "Pitch Day"

The AZ Disruptors "Pitch Day" will be the day that new software startups will compete for 1 of 5 spots in the AZ Disruptors incubator. Each potential software startup will fine tune their pitch to a 10-minute presentation covering:

  • Product - What you're going to build. Demo the product or prototype if possible.
  • Target Market - Who you're going to sell it to.
  • Current Size of Market - Value of competing products being sold to your target today.
  • The Team - The people who are going to build this product and company.

Notice there is nothing in there about a 5-year projection of sales or your exit strategy. Be sure to keep that out of your presentation. We will assume that you will magically hit your projected $28 Million of sales in Year 4 and generate $10 Million in profits before getting bought out by Microsoft, Google or Apple. Save us the burden of sitting through the slides.

Pitch Day Will be Friday, May 20th


8:00AM Arrive and Breakfast
8:45AM Event Start & Introductory comments
9:00AM First Set of 6 Pitches
10:30AM Short Break
10:45AM Second Set of 6 Pitches
12:15PM Quick Lunch
1:00PM Third Set of 6 Pitches
2:30PM Short Break
2:45PM Top 5 Pitch Winners Announced
3:00PM Wrap up


How's it all going to work?

The Pitch Day event will be a room full of people watching the presentations. The pitches will also be judged by a panel of 5 judges (to be announced) who are involved with the local tech community. The judging of the event will help identify the top 5 pitches.

Each of the top 5 presentors will win an Apple TV.

Being picked as a top 5 pitch does not guarantee a spot in the AZ Disruptors incubator, but it helps! Based on the presentations on pitch day, the AZ Disruptors team will select the companies with whom they intend to have further interviews to determine which companies will be selected. Selection of the companies that will participate in the AZ Disruptors incubator is expected to be completed within 1-2 weeks after Pitch Day.

Request an Invite for AZ Disruptors Pitch Day

The AZ Disruptors pitch day will take place at the event room of AZ Disruptor's newly constructed office space. We will be able to accomodate a maximum of 60 people for the event. Therefore, RSVP will be by invitation only. If you'd like to request an invitation to the Pitch Day, please use the following form:

Request an Invitation to AZ Disruptors Pitch Day (It's Free!)

Please request your invite as early as possible because we fully anticipate reaching maximum capacity.

Stay tuned to more information about the AZ Disruptors pitch day in the coming days by subscribing via email:


You will get a confirmation email.



Intro to AZ Disruptors

We had a great turnout for Friday's AZ Disruptors lunch. In fact, we had a pact house. We had exceeded our max of 30 people and had a standing room when it came to demos. The energy level was fantastic. It was truly exciting to see all the enthusiasm in the room. There are lots of great startup activities going on locally. Stephen Murphey, who was at the AZ Disruptors lunch told us about the new HackSpace at ASU's Skysong building. Hackspace is a place where anybody can go to work on their project or startup and network with others who are doing the same.

Francine Hardaway reminded us about the Startup Digest, a weekly email newsletter that announces current events that relate to technology startups. Be sure to signup!

I had a chance to put together a short presentation that talks about how we expect to support new software startups at AZ Disruptors. Check out the video:

There was also a very cool demo of a new product, which is still in development, called "CityBot - Decision Engine for Travelers" by Greg Solovyev. I think you'll agree this is an impressive product. Check out Greg's 5-minute demo:

A couple of pictures of the event:

Do to the construction sechedule, we're not sure when the the next AZ Disruptors lunch will be, but stay tuned and join us for the next lunch.


LaunchSpot is Another Tech Incubator in Tempe

Today I met with Fred von Graf of LaunchSpot, another software-focused incubator who is also in the planning phases of a Y-Combinator-like accelerator. Fred and I hit it off right away as we think a lot alike and we both have a strong desire to help the Phoenix valley become a bigger player in the technology startup world.

LaunchSpot will be slightly different in that they will provide (potentially free) co-working office space to approved tech companies as well as provide funding to startups. Their offices, which are still under construction will be located at Broadway and 52nd Street in Tempe, AZ.

I see all this activity as a wonderful thing. We have Gangplank in Chandler, LaunchSpot in Tempe, SkySong in South Scottsdale and AZ Disruptors in North Scottsdale all trying to improve the technology startup scene. If we work together, we're finally going to make a dent. It's exciting times to be a startup!

Stay tuned...


More Details About AZ Disruptors Incubator

Today, the framers are working hard to build out the framework of the AZ Disruptors offices. Here is a picture of where things were at as of this morning:

Keep in mind that this space is a brand new 6,000 sq foot addition which is adjacent to the two anchor companies that will also play a part in AZ Disruptors. Once completed, the Axosoft and TransferBigFiles offices will all be one with the AZ Disruptors offices in a 12,000 square foot space.

While the framers are putting up the physical frames to build out the AZ Disruptors office space, we have been a little busy framing the structure of the AZ Disruptors business and how target companies will be funded. Some of those details are now on the home page of the AZ Disruptors web site. We've also changed the structure of the AZ Disruptors web site so that the home page is always showing the latest information about AZ Disruptors. The News & Blog page are now a secondary link. This makes it easier to find out what AZ Disruptors is all about. Sending someone to the http://www.AZDisruptors.com home page will now give them the quick overview of the software incubator and how it will work.