IdeaFunding, Southern Arizona’s largest and longest entrepreneurial conference and pitch competition, celebrated its 25th year anniversary during TENWEST Impact Festival’s 6th year from November 1-5, 2022. Twenty-five state-wide companies had the opportunity to pitch in this year’s pitch competition and the grand prize winner was Divine Hair Goods, receiving $25,000 as the main stage winner sponsored by UAVenture Capital.
The prize was awarded during the final pitch competition for IdeaFunding, a day-long conference where nearly 400 investors, entrepreneurs, startups and students convened to empower the local startup ecosystem and accelerate entrepreneurship and sponsored by the Arizona Commerce Authority. The twenty-five companies were selected after two-rounds of down-selections from an original applicant pool of 100+ teams. The Main Stage companies included Divine Hair Goods, Fraqtals, Imanyco, MindReady and Orgo. 2023 IdeaFunding awardees included:
$25,000 Main Stage Grand Prize sponsored by UA Venture Capital awarded to Divine Hair Goods
- Divine Hair Goods specializes in salon products that make the salon experience better for the client and the stylist. Their flagship product, the Speedee Cap, cuts drying time in half and allows the stylist to increase the capacity of their salon.
$5,000 and 1-Year sponsorship with the University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) Second Place Main Stage Winner sponsored by Startup Tucson and UACI awarded to Fraqtals Innovations
- Fraqtals is the iPhone of screen-printing machines. It’s an innovation to the world’s most commonly used apparel printing process. Fraqtals sells speed, simplicity and efficiency to brand makers, print shops and crafters. Fractals also took home the $1,000 People’s Choice Prize.
$5,000 Social Impact Prize sponsored by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona awarded to Luna y Sol
- Luna y Sol is a South Tucson inspired coffee spot that will serve as a creative venue that promotes community, creativity and connection.
$5,000 Adelante Prize sponsored by Community Investment Corporation awarded to The Earnest House
- The Earnest House is a transitional living program for men and women in Tucson. They welcome individuals afterincarceration, rehabilitation treatment and/or homelessness. Earnest House also won their industry vertical room in the morning. CIC also awarded additional Adelante prizes to Divine Hair Goods, Imanyco and Nopalito Network.
$2,500 Vertical Room Prizes awarded to each company below.
- Tech Industry Vertical: EarthEn
- Healthcare/Life Science Industry Vertical: Metfora
- Consumer Product Industry Vertical: Better Than Provisions
The five mainstage companies were also awarded a one-year long sponsorship with UACI. All five companies will take part in UACI’s programming. Mainstage judges included Fletcher McCusker, UA Venture Capital; Karla Morales, AZ Tech Council; Hope Schau, McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and Tony Wilkins, Standing Oak Ventures. Additional IdeaFunding sponsors included McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, SALC, Arizona FORGE, Thomas R Brown Family Foundation, Hexagon, Hecker Pew PLLC, Optics Valley, Desert Angels, Osborn Maledon and the Flinn Foundation.
IdeaFunding was day three of the TENWEST Impact Festival presented by the Arizona Commerce Authority and co-led by Startup Tucson and UACI. Produced by Ranch House Media, part conference, part party, the Festival welcomed over 1,200 conference attendees and in it’s first year, the TENWEST Street Fest had over 5,500 attendees and featured 100+ local vendors.
TENWEST and IdeaFunding will return to Tucson in November 2023. To learn more about TENWEST, IdeaFunding and the work of Startup Tucson and UACI, visit tenwest.com.
About Startup Tucson
Startup Tucson is 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to transform our region’s economy through entrepreneurship and education. Startup Tucson executes this mission by providing education and culture building programs and events to grow a high-impact entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem. You can find information about the organization and upcoming opportunities to engage at www.startuptucson.com. For questions or comments, please reach out to Liz Pocock directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the UA Center for Innovation
The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region. For nearly two decades, the program has directly served over 200 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done by providing access to people, programming, and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. UACI is part of Tech Parks Arizona, which brings together university, industry, and community, creating “interactive ground” to advance technology innovation.