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AZ Disruptors is a startup incubator for software companies.

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Entries in Startup (17)


Starting Axosoft: My Talk at AZEC Conference

Yesterday, I was at the AZ Entrepreneur's Conference and I have to say it was a quality conference with a great attendee list. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also had Axosoft's video team at the event who recorded my talk. If you are interested here it is:

Watch it on YouTube



Maker Bench is Where Makers go to Make Stuff

For all of my adult life, I've been a software engineer. I make bits. You can't really touch the bits I make which makes it hard to explain what I make to non-software people like my mom. I have always wanted to also make, ummm, stuff. Stuff is touchable. Bits are not. Stuff are easier to explain than software. 

Ideally, I'd like to make bits and stuff that work together. I think that's why I've always admired Apple as a company. They make stuff and they make bits. It's very rare for companies to do that. Google and Microsoft for the most part just make bits. So does my company, Axosoft. There's nothing wrong with that, I'm just saying I relate to Google and Microsoft more than I relate to Apple, which is probably why Apple has a more mystic awe for me. Bits, I know. Stuff, not so much. Bits and stuff, I've never done. It's interesting how companies generally do one or the other, almost never do they do both.

Anyway, I'm going off track here, except I'm not. A lot of software engineers feel exactly the same as I do. In fact that was one of the driving forces behind why David Uhlman started Maker Bench with his friend Jordan Bendor. David and Jordan wanted to create a place where people could make stuff. All kinds of stuff. Wood working, jewelry, sewing, metal-working, electronics and everything in between.

David (left) and Jordan founders of Maker Bench in Tempe AZ 

I love what Dave and Jordan are doing. Their idea is very disruptive. They've built a place that's open to anyone to go to and make stuff. They provide the tools and even help implement the ideas. For frequent visitors they have very affordable membership programs to provide access to all the tools and the shop 24/7. More importantly, they're building a community of people who also want to make stuff. They've put together classes for using a laser cutter, welding, making jewelry or even making your own mini CNC machine. That's very cool stuff!



I visited Maker Bench because my 6-year old son is very much into making stuff with Legos and he's ready to start building more advanced things. On our visit to Maker Bench he got his first soldering lesson by building a battery operated LED pin. Because he assembled and soldered it together himself, he absolutely loves that pin and he learned how to solder. I'm very jelous! He just loved the idea of melting metals together and who wouldn't? Melting metal is just a cool thing to do. It's worth at least a few lines of code.

During my visit to Maker Bench, I also learned about an open-source hardware device known as Arduino. WOW! Basically, the Arduino is a little 32-bit C-Programmable micro controller that costs $32.95. They sell them at Maker Bench and they also stock the Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis (published by O'Reily) which has hundreds of little projects that can be done with the Aruino device. The Arduino devices are taking the hardware prototyping world by storm. They've basically become cheap enough that people are making simple projects for personal use. At about $33 per device, it's also cheap enough to experiment with low-quantity commercial applications. Rather than having to build 10,000 devices to make hardware be cheap enough, you can build it from an Arduino board and it's already cheap.

The Arduino is an exciting and inspiring little device. After learning about this whole new world, we've decide to open up AZ Disruptor startup submissions to allow for software/hardware startups. That means we will be open to accept software startups that will make their products that much more attractive using a low-cost hardware add-on. Companies like Square are a great example of that.

So if you've ever wanted to make stuff, stop by the Maker Bench in Tempe. I love their motto: Less talking and more making. So perfect!

Great job to Dave and Jordan.


Event: Legal Issues For Startups...Lunch and Learn 

If you're a startup, you don't have time or money for the pesky little details that can turn out to be exceptionally important to your success. You know, things like making sure your legal structure will be attractive to VC Investment, your "Terms of Service" and "Privacy Policy" documents on your web site and whether or not to spend time and energy on Trademark details.

Learn from two of the tech industry legal veterans...AZ Disruptors is hosting Tom Curzon and Jonathan Ariano from Osborn Maledon for a "Lunch and Learn".

Here are the details:


Legal advice for startups. Topics will include preparing your startup for VC investment, privacy policies, terms of service, trademarks and Q & A.


Tuesday, August 2nd at 11am - 1pm


AZ Disruptors Offices

How Much

It's Free, but space is limited and you Must RSVP. RSVP NOW


AZ Disruptors Pitch Day Videos Are Here

It's been an amazing few months at AZ Disruptors. We launched this web site in January and over the course of the past 5 months, we've been promoting the idea that a software-focused incubator can (and will) get off the ground here in Arizona. There has been tremendous excitement, enthusiasm and support from the tech community. We are very greatful for that.

If there was any doubt that there are viable software startups in the valley, the next 15 blog posts about the valleys top new startups and their pitch videos should put such doubts to rest. Each day, I will highlight one or two of the top 15 companies that submitted to participate in the AZ Disruptors incubator.

Lets get it started...


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:


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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.


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



Startup Weekend at Chandler's Gangplank

If you have been considering doing a startup, then you should definitely checkout the 3-day Startup Weekend event being held on June 24-26 at the Gangplank offices in Chandler, AZ.

"Startup Weekend Chandler/s goal is to discover the most promising entrepreneurs in the Valley of the Sun. With pre-events such Speed Team Networking and Startup 101, participants are prepared before heading into the weekend to maximize their 54-hours. After completion, teams that can successfully demonstrate the core functionality of their startup are invited to participate in a 60-day Roadmap to Launch program, culminating in Launch Weekend events that include a pitch to investors from across the U.S."

More information and registration at: http://chandler.startupweekend.org/


AZ Disruptors Blog to Cover Local Tech News

As the AZ Disruptors incubator gets close to Phase II (where we actually pick software startups to help incubate), we thought it would make sense for this blog to start covering some of the other news of Arizona-based software companies. Specifically, we want to cover:

  • New Software Startups
  • New Product Launches
  • Major News That Affects Local Software Companies
  • Major Events Targeted Towards Local Software Companies

We need a TechCrunch that's focused on Arizona-based activities. That's what we hope the AZ Disruptors blog can become.

To facilitate the new direction, we've put together a Submit Your News page. This is not going to be a pass-through. Every submission will be reviewed and if deemed appropriate, an article will be written about the submission. We want to keep the quality as high as possible. If you're interested in writing for us on a regular basis, email me at hamids at axosoft.