As a business incubator professional, I truly enjoy watching entrepreneurs take advantage of the plethora of resources at their disposal within a program – from advice and mentorship to facilities and equipment. VisionGate, a company that has developed innovations for the early detection and prevention of lung cancer, graduated from the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) incubator in Phoenix, Arizona in October 2015 and totally crushed the experience in 3 major ways.
Right now, the Phoenix entrepreneurial ecosystem is coalescing with the momentum of a cheetah running in an open field, and every entrepreneur in the region should make it his/her mission to plug in to our growing community. With that in mind, we thought we would share some of the most populated startup hangouts where a lot of magic happens.
Startups in the healthcare space have inundated the market the last few years, from those companies transforming digital health record management to others that focus on improving the patient experience. In Phoenix alone, we have seen a glut of promising new technologies that include well-funded businesses and their lesser known but no-less-interesting counterparts. Nationally, venture capital in the amount of $4.1 billion was given to digital healthcare companies in 2014; other studies have overall funding for these companies at $6.5 billion. Regardless the message is clear: new and innovative digital healthcare solutions have become not just a startup trend, but a national one. And here’s why.
First off, I promise there will be no spoilers of Batman v. Superman in this post, in case you were worried. Instead I am going to try and clear up the (very) muddy waters of entrepreneurial support organizations. With so many options and - as I will illustrate - nuances within those options, it can be very difficult for startups to navigate the world of professional business resources and services. Hopefully, this post helps make it easier.
With continuous innovation occurring in the medical field, it is imperative for federal regulations to keep pace. Today, most new and follow-on devices experience a lengthy regulatory process, especially when compared with their drug counterparts. But the federal government is trying to address this and other concerns through new proposed legislation. Here is what we know thus far.
Earlier this month, Pitchbook released a landmark report which concluded that one-third of all US startups that raised a Series A in 2015 had gone through an accelerator program at some point in their development. Coupled with similarly promising data about business incubators - including one study that noted 40% of early-stage incubatees sourced their investment through connections within the incubator itself - and it appears that joining these types of programs bear long-term financial fruit for growing companies.
For most entrepreneurs, there is nothing better than having the opportunity to learn directly from those who have chased a similar path. They are among the few who have the insight, experience and empathy for those innovators launching startup companies. Here are three of our favorites, all from Phoenix entrepreneurs who have been there, done that, and have some nuggets of wisdom to share.
I am aware that this may be seem like an unusual topic for somebody who works for a business incubator, but it actually fits very much in line with our philosophy at CEI of trying to elevate our industry in any way that we can. The fact is incubators and accelerators must evolve as fast as the entrepreneurs they serve in order to maintain relevance, and it is something that many fail to do. And I won’t be repeating the 87% stat - the number of companies still in operation after 5 years removed from an incubation program - from a study that was conducted nearly two decades ago but continues to be cited as a leading indicator of success. Indeed, the real value of these startup support organizations has yet to be definitively proven.
PHX Startup Week brings with it the brightest of spotlights on our ecosystem but - when it is all over and the entrepreneur basecamp has been vacated - it can leave a void that is difficult to fill if you are not well-versed in our little community. You might be surprised to know that there are hundreds of networking events, workshops, and conferences throughout the year that can satisfy your entrepreneurial cravings. Here a few of my favorites, in no particular order:
One of the premier showcases for regional startups is the Arizona Commerce Authority’s bi-annual business plan competition, the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC). The AIC is self described as a “$3 million reality check” for technology-based companies to advance the development and commercialization of their innovations, with each winner earning up to $250,000 in non-dilutive, milestone-based funding. What does it take to win one of these prized grants? Whether your company has applied previously or is thinking about it, here are some of the lessons learned from fall 2015 winner and CEI business incubator client: Paraffin International, Inc.