Five years ago, StartupAZ Foundation was nothing more than a shared vision among a group of entrepreneurs and community leaders who believed our ecosystem could be so much more. We wanted to create something that would empower local entrepreneurs to grow, give back and positively impact the state — and simultaneously begin to shift Arizona’s economy away from the volatile real estate industry and more toward innovation and technology.
Today, as we enter our fifth year under the dedicated leadership of our board — Jack Alling, Ji Mi Choi, Brad Jannenga, Jim Prendergast, Gregg Scoresby, Brenda Schmidt and Sarah Strunk, along with our chairman, Tom Curzon — I find myself continually reminded of the acts of generosity and collaborative spirit that have fortified Phoenix’s startup ecosystem.
This is prevalent in so many ways — from the dozens of Arizona-based startups and venture firms that have taken the Generosity Pledge, to the founders and startup leaders who have dedicated themselves to the growth and success of one another. And every year since the launch of the StartupAZ Collective, an initiative dedicated to increasing the performance and growth of the region’s highest-potential startups, I’ve seen this spirit of generosity play out among the StartupAZ Founders in Residence network and the founders in the Collective.
These benevolent entrepreneurs actively contribute to the Valley’s generosity flywheel by casting aside the fear competition and instead opting for collaboration and alliance in driving their collective performance. It’s often these acts of generosity that build up our community and local economy more than capital. The performance numbers of the Collective members back this up. In the last two quarters of 2019, these companies increased their revenue by an average of 329 percent.
Brandon Clarke is co-founder and interim CEO of StartupAZ Foundation.
StartupAZ Foundation formed in 2015 to empower a stronger statewide ecosystem for high-growth companies to scale, catalyzing Arizona’s new economy rooted in technology and innovation. To be considered for the Collective, companies must have a scalable business model with an innovative, market-defining technology.