Home Blog

What type of “Valley” might Tucson become?

In Mr. Andreessen’s view, there shouldn’t be 50 Silicon Valleys. Instead, there should be 50 different kinds of Silicon Valley. For example, there could be Biotech Valley, a Stem Cell Valley, a 3-D Printing Valley or a Drone Valley. As he noted, there are huge regulatory hurdles in many of these fields. If a city wanted to spur innovation around drones, for instance, it might have to remove any local legal barriers to flying unmanned aircraft.

Marc Andreessen on the Future of Silicon Valleys, and the Next Big Technology – NYTimes.com.

0 515

          It was about a year ago that Elliot and I started 2Shoes.  We met at Startup Weekend 2012 and kept in touch over the next year.  One day, we decided to grab coffee and catch up.  Both of us being the type of people to learn news things, we thought it might be fun to work on some ideas.  Elliot was currently working at Canyon Ranch, though soon to be the marketing director of United Way Tucson, and had time to spare.  I was just finishing a year of startup failures (or lessons) and was looking for the next project.  Over the next two weeks, we brainstormed a few concepts, one of them being a way to increase engagement in the ever-growing college lecture hall.  2Shoes was born.  We spent about 3 minutes on choosing a name– we went with 2Shoes as a play on a goody two shoes in a classroom– and started working on exactly what our fancy new idea actually was.  We decided that a web-based app might be the most viable solution, but we had one problem.  Neither of us were technical co-founders and had zero experience creating an app.  What could go wrong, right?

0 596

Beginning today CoLab Workspace will be partnering with 2shoes, a startup out of Startup Weekend 2013, for the moderation of questions & engagement at all Innovation Talks.

You can see 2shoes in action during David Higuera’s Innovation talk at 12pm on IDEA School & Innovation in the Classroom

Register for the talk here:


Submit a question using 2Shoes here:

http://2shoesapp.com/ (code: David)

2Shoes was founded by Danny Kirk and Elliot Ledley at Startup Weekend 2013.  You can see their Startup Weekend pitch and final presentation here:

0 316

On May 23, Cox Business and Inc. Magazine hosted Get Started Tucson and Scraps on Scraps came away the big winner.

Inside Tucson Business reported the story:

“Scraps to Scraps co-founder Shannon Sartin, said 60 percent of private waste is compostable. However, once it’s in the landfills, food and scraps release excess amounts of methane gas.

By taking the effort out of composting to reduce amount of compostable foods in landfills, Scraps on Scraps will provide residents with a air-tight bucket for $13 a month. Scraps on Scraps will pick up the bucket once a month. The waste is then turned into compost and used at local farms, including through a partnership with the University of Arizona.”

0 546

On Friday 21 student entrepreneurship teams competed for around $20,000 in prizes at the NewVenture Competition and Showcase at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Each of the teams were given three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, followed by a two minute question and answer period. The judges then picked finalists for the second round later that day. Out of the 21 teams only three could be victorious and receive money for their startup business idea.

The grand prize winner receiving $10,000 for their idea was EasyEye, Instant Custom Readers. The team consisted of Jeffrey Hamilton, Ashley Hauer, Zachary Poll and Matthew Schwartz. According to the event program, “EasyEye is the Dr. Scholls for reading glasses. We provide a kiosk to walk consumers through the process of choosing which reader glasses to buy.”

According to their pitch, the user would be able to walk up to the adjustable focus eyeglass which then picks the correct prescription eye ware for the customer. Then on the kiosk the user is able to pick their style of frame and receive their reading glasses.

Despite their win on Friday, the team is unsure whether or not they will pursue the launch of their idea. “It could go either way,” Poll said.

Although EasyEye may not decide to launch, the second and third place winners, were adamant about launching their companies.

Third place winner Intelliwound, “develops wound care devices that aid clinical decision0making by providing objective tools to measure wond health. Early identification of non-healing wounds and infections helps reduce amputations,” according to the event program.

The Intelliwound team consits of Manish Bharara, Chris Marin, Anil Potharaju and Jeffrey Walcott. For third place they won $2500 and according to Bharara they plan on pushing ahead to launch their company. But before this happens Bharara said, “we need to identify the immediate next steps and take action. So based on how long it takes for us to get there I think that might delay the formation of the company a little bit.” Although Bharara said there are many steps to be taken still he plans on launching in about six months.

Although he and his team received third place in the competition, Bharara spoke very highly of his competitors. “I think they were all great, all the 21 teams did a great job. At the end it is the top three but I think everyone did a great job.”

Coming in second place receiving $5000 for their idea was a “mobile-based application that allows users to compete as teams for money by completing easy, mobile-based tasks that businesses create to gain exposure,” called Yamotask. The team consists of Trevor Cohen, Terrence O’Connor, Jack Padden and Zoe Thrope.

According to Cohen they do plan to launch their company hopefully by the end of the year. They plan on partnering with a mobile-application developer named 2XL Games based out of Phoenix to push on to develop their application. Cohen said that he and his team were “thrilled” to receive second place in the competition.

In addition to the three top winners there were five additional awards given out including the Best In Class Award which was chosen by the teams competing against eachother and the People’s Choice Awards which was voted on by attendees of the event through Twitter. Both awards were granted $1000. “Bottleknows Wines is a series of quality wines featuring educational labels that help novice wine consumers understand the wine world,” and they were awarded the Best In Class award. “The Liist is an addictive and engaging online social community for established couples, monetized by affiliate marketing and local ‘date-destination’ businesses,” and they were awarded the People’s Choice Award at the competition.

Although not every company was able win that should not discourage them from pursing their idea and launching according to Emre Toker, Senior Mentor-in-Residence at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in the Eller College of Managment.

“Some students feel a little discouraged, you know? Especially after the competition because they weren’t in the number one, number two, number three,” he said. “The thing that I want to tell all the students is that the only judge that matters is the customer. If you’re brave enough to go out there regardless of what the judges say that’s the only thing that matters.”

0 475


There is a lot of interest and passion surrounding startups in the business world, and      this is no different on a college campus.

The University of Arizona’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program will be hosting a      showcase this Friday May 2nd, which will feature over 20 presentations of student  projects.

“The event this week is a year-end celebration, and a fun way for us to showcase our students,” says Patricia Sias, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program Director.

The groups of students first met at an orientation at the end last school year, and had intermittent contact over the summer, before fully beginning working together this past August.

The goal for the teams is to complete a project that is launch or investment ready, although students are not required to proceed with their projects after they finish.

The event will begin with a showcase of the 21 teams in the Atrium of McClelland Hall. Each group will have a three-minute pitch, followed by two minutes of questions. After deliberating, the judges will invite six of the groups back, where they will engage in a longer, 10-minute Q&A. The event will culminate in the selection of first, second and third place, along with a corresponding cash prize.

The upcoming event is the second one that the student will participate it. Last week, the teams were given their “final review,” where educators from other entrepreneurship programs across the country helped in judging the teams.

The judging process for the review lasted two days, over which teams gave both a 15-minute presentation, as well as at least 10-minutes of fielding questions. Rather than being judged on the potential success or failure of their venture, students are judged on how well they learned what was intended.

The McGuire program was first created in 1984, as one of the first entrepreneurship programs established in the country.

“The goal of the program is for students to be able to develop entrepreneurial skills first hand, by going through the process themselves,” says Sias.

For more information and times for the event: http://entrepreneurship.arizona.edu/events/yearend.asp

0 759
Adam Goeglein's 12+ multi-function tool.

Adam Goeglein’s 12+ multi-function tool.

Indegogo and KickStarter, probably the two most prominent crowd-funding websites on the internet, help many startup businesses get their launch. Despite having these available tools, some startup businesses never get enough footing to take the leap into success.

Adam Goeglein a Communications Senior at the University of Arizona has three projects under his belt already, yet two of them have not shown much promise.

Crownwood Eyewear, the first project he sought funding for thorough Indegogo,  is a cheaper alternative to designer sunglasses.  Goeglein believes that the campaign to fund this project never took off because he said he didn’t advertise well enough. This lead to his project not being fully funded and thus failing.

0 500


CoLab’s monthly Innovation Talk welcomed in journalists Mari Herreras and Henry Barajas of the Tucson Weekly, Dylan Smith of the Tucson Sentinel, and Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star to discuss sustaining good, local reporting and how news media continue to evolve.

0 490









DxInsights, a non-profit organization focused on advancing the field of diagnostics in the healthcare industry, will host a diagnostics summit titled “Innovative Pathways to Better Health” at the Miraval Institute on May 4-6. The two-day gathering is aimed at bringing together leading innovators in the field of diagnostics and personalized healthcare.

Why hold such a summit in Tucson? Mara Aspinall, the president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, arguably the global leader in the field of diagnostics, cites the timing of the event with the inaugural season of the Miraval Institute’s think tank, which, in partnering with the University of Arizona, is intended “to facilitate communication surrounding pertinent health, wellness, and sustainability issues,” according to the institute’s website.