Mentored Launch Graduates Prepare to Soar

Logos for Smartrek, Equisight, YourLabs LLC, and UFree LLC.Four Tucson tech startups are the newest graduates from the Arizona Center for Innovation’s Mentored Launch Program. By applying technology to solve problems ranging from how to eliminate traffic jams to how to find nearby friends with time to hang out, these companies have developed products that are attracting attention to Tucson’s startup scene.

Smartrek offers a collaborative mobile traffic app that encourages cooperation between drivers to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. The app is currently in beta testing in four western cities, and the app will be officially launched this fall.

Equisight Inc.’s Ride the Race® technology takes viewers along with jockeys on the race track. The company’s overall vision is to develop video solutions for live sports, entertainment, and consumers, and to heighten the experience of sports-viewing. See a horse race from jockey Curtis Kimes’s perspective as he takes Ocean Seven to a 6th place finish in last year’s $50,000 John Bullit Stakes at 

YourLabs LLC‘s e-learning software puts detailed learner data directly into the hands of students, teachers, school administrators, and parents across multiple platforms and devices. As an incentive to potential customers, users who register for the free YourLabs Classroom Edition by October 31, 2013 will receive an automatic upgrade to the Teacher Edition when it is released.

Ufree LLC offers a simple way to see if friends are readily available to hang out with the user. And by using geolocation, it also provides information about what is going on near the user’s current location. Ufree founder Stephen Ost, a Startup Weekend alumnus,  was recently named one of the five finalists competing for Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2013 College Entrepreneur of the Year award (the online voting period ends on September 17, 2013, so cast your vote soon).

The Mentored Launch program offered by the Arizona Center for Innovation provides the chosen startups with a structured business development program focusing on technology innovation, product development, and business management. The center is recruiting startups for the 2013 Fall Mentored Launch program—please visit for details, including information about the application process.

Angels in Life Science America | Xconomy

While deal structures, return profiles, financing terms, etc. remain unknown, it is probably safe to say that angels will continue to be a cornerstone of early stage support for life science ventures. Angels’ industry and entrepreneurship experience is too valuable, their instincts and rigor in evaluating quality opportunities is too strong, and their desire to participate in the next wave of life-saving and enhancing technologies is too resilient to allow investment market conditions to remove them from the playing field.

via Angels in Life Science America | Xconomy.

Medical Research & Technology Company to Relocate to Tucson

Biotech firm Accelr8 to move HQ to Tucson

Inside Tucson Business

August 16, 2012

By Patrick McNamara

Article Summary: Accelr8 Technology Corporation plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from Denver to Tucson. The medical diagnosis and instrumentation firm intends to have its new facility in Tucson up and running early next year. It will be located at 3950 S Country Club Rd near the University of Arizona Medical Center – South Campus.

For more details, visit the full ITB article at the link below:


Local “Hackathon” Served as Preliminary Event to Upcoming Startup Weekend 2012 in Tucson

Tucson tech: Hacking apps in 24 hours

August 14, 2012

Author: David Wichner Arizona Daily Star

Over the weekend, about 35 programmers and assorted computer nerds got together in Tucson to compete for bragging rights and prizes in the Old Pueblo’s first “hackathon.”

The object of the 24-hour event at the Spoke6 co-working space was to complete a new mobile , game or other software project from start to finish.

But there was more to the exercise than just throwing together some computer code for grins.

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UA-developed Virtual Agent Being Used to Screen Border Crossers at Nogales

Avatar Virtual Agent

Avatar interviewing Nogales border crossers

Tech avatar being used to screen applicants for streamlined entry


NOGALES, Sonora – With his black tie, dark hair and light blue eyes, a dapper new agent is one of U.S. Customs’ latest tools in screening border crossers

But this handsome, if ethnically ambiguous fellow, who started work Tuesday at the Dennis DeConcini Port in Nogales, is less – and more – than human. He is a virtual agent, an android and a kiosk all rolled into one.

Created by scientists and researchers from the University of Arizona, the artificial agent is called an AVATAR (short for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time). His job is to screen border crossers without prejudice or bias while freeing human agents to address more pressing matters, said Aaron Elkins, one of the scientists who developed the AVATAR.

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UA-operated HiRISE Camera Successfully Captures Picture of Curiosity Rover Landing on Mars

Curiosity Rover Parachuting to Mars

UA-run HiRISE camera snaps parachuting rover of Mars rover as it lands

Source: Arizona Daily Star

Date/Time: August 7, 2012

Author: TOM BEAL

HiRISE has done it again.

The UA Lunar and Planetary Lab team that operates the high-resolution camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a clear, stunning image of the Mars rover Curiosity descending by parachute toward the surface of Mars on Sunday night.

The single image had been planned for months, and after Curiosity, formally known as the Mars Science Laboratory, landed at 10:31 p.m. Sunday, the Tucson-based team waited for it.

About 1:30 a.m. Monday it received it. It clearly showed the Curiosity capsule suspended from its giant parachute, plunging toward the Martian surface.

It was the second image of a Martian landing caught by the HiRISE team, led by Alfred McEwen. HiRISE had also captured the descent of the Phoenix Mars Lander in May 2008.

The photo was planned months in advance, said McEwen of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab.

The orbiter and the HiRISE camera had to be carefully positioned at the right place at the right time. The time delay in transmissions left no room for last-minute changes.

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Voice Analysis Technology Developed by UA Being Used at Arizona-Mexico Border to Facilitate Crossings

Scientific American

Avatar Officer Installed at Arizona-Mexico Border Station

A new kiosk is expected to streamline applications for frequent traveler benefits, freeing up human officers to catch drug smugglers

By Larry Greenemeier  | Monday, August 6, 2012

AVATAR AGENT: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is installing an updated kiosk in Nogales, Ariz., to test its ability to help enroll applicants in its Trusted Traveler program at the Mexican border. Unlike its predecessor, the new Nogales kiosk speaks and understands both Spanish and English (rather just English) and wears a tie rather than a black T-shirt.

People crossing the Mexican border into Nogales, Ariz., this week will have a chance to meet U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s newest officer—a polite yet no-nonsense bilingual gatekeeper with a thick shock of black hair and a striped gray tie. He may not have a name or join his fellow officers for coffee or lunch breaks, but his presence will likely be welcomed both by them and the commuters who regularly pass through this southern Arizona outpost on their way to and from Mexico.

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Local Startup Founded in 2000 Awarded SBIR Contracts from USDOE in the Amount of $2 Million

Tucson tech: Firm gets $2 million contracts for special chips

Ridgetop’s radiation-hardened micro-device being developed for particle accelerators

July 31, 2012  • David Wichner Arizona Daily Star

A Tucson-area company that has long specialized in predicting failure is prognosticating success with technology to help scientists unlock the secret life of atoms.

Ridgetop Group recently won two Small Business Innovation Research contracts worth $1 million each from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop analog-to-digital signal processor chips for particle accelerators used in research.

Particle accelerators are used by physicists to smash sub-atomic particles together to learn about the elemental building blocks of matter – sometimes discovering whole new classes of particles in the process.

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Local Startup in 1979 Sold to Roper Industries for $1.42 Billion

Tucson software firm sold for $1.4 billion

Fla.-based Roper buys Sunquest in 1 of biggest merger deals here

July 21, 2012 – Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star

In a $1.42 billion deal, Roper Industries has bought Tucson medical software developer Sunquest Information Systems Inc.

The all-cash merger announced Monday includes cash tax benefits totaling $25 million.

The deal is believed to be among the highest dollar-figure mergers in Tucson-area history, ranking alongside Roche Holding AG’s $3.4 billion purchase of Oro Valley’s Ventana Medical Systems in 2008 and Texas Instruments’ $7.6 billion purchase of Burr-Brown Corp. in 2000.

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OV Exploring Ways to Facilitate Development & Growth of its Biotech Industry

Oro Valley looks to streamline process to attract new biotechs

Inside Tucson Business

By Patrick McNamara | Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 12:15 am

With an eye toward expanding its cluster of medical-research firms, Oro Valley officials have begun discussions about ways to streamline the development process to attract more biotech companies.

We’re trying to create our own success and our own destiny,” said Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath.

The crux of the plan, which in its early stages has the support of the town council, would include amending the zoning code to establish an economic expansion zone in one area of Rancho Vistoso in northern Oro Valley.

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