Shiva K. Planjery

Shiva K. Planjery of Codelucida, which will participate in Venture Madness.

The majority of startup businesses fail within the first five years. However, three local tech companies are determined to beat the odds. Codelucida, Emagine Solutions, and Reglagene are receiving help from UA and the Arizona Center for Innovation to succeed in the business world. And all three recently surpassed one of the biggest hurdles in the Arizona startup landscape: Getting accepted into Venture Madness.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for these companies,” said Bruce Wright, president of the Arizona Center for Innovation. “Becoming involved makes a really good support system for businesses like these.”

Venture Madness pits 24 of the most promising startups against one another in a head-to-head competition. Since 2013, Venture Madness, in partnership with Arizona Commerce Authority, offers startup companies the chance to pitch their ideas to investors, receive funding, compare business plans and network. 

“It’s going to be a great learning experience,” said Courtney Williams, co-founder of Emagine Solutions technology. “You get to learn about all of the innovations being made in the Southwest.”

Emagine Solutions Technology produces mobile software that can essentially turns doctors’ tablets and phones into ultrasound machines. Recently passing their two year anniversary as a company, they received a great deal of help from the Arizona Center for Innovation.

“They helped us with financial models, funding opportunities, workshops, marketing,” Williams said. “They also encouraged us to participate in as many opportunities as possible, including Venture Madness.” 

Codelucida is another local tech startup heading to Venture Madness. Codelucia specializes in error correction and storage for flash memory. Already they have received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Spring 2017 Arizona Innovation Challenge. The Arizona Center for Innovation also played a major supporting role for the burgeoning company 

“AzCI provided the critical spark that we needed,” said Codelucia CEO Shiva Planjery, who received his PhD in electrical engineering from UA. “They provided a lot of early stage help. They were really good at finding resources, improving our applications, and getting us involved with the Tucson entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Over the next few weeks, Williams and Planjery will get their companies ready for a fierce investment landscape in Phoenix. There is $50,000 in cash prizes at stake, and any company can succeed. But perhaps even better than immediate money, the companies will get the opportunity to network and have theri ideas pitched to potential investors.

“We’ve been very successful so far in preparing companies for these kinds of presentations,” said AzCI manager Anita Bell. 

Bell also says that AzCI worked with well over 100 companies in the past and the success rate for those companies is higher than those who go it alone.

AzCI did a really great job,” Williams said. “I can’t even count all the ways they helped.”

The Arizona Commerce authority announced the top 24 companies for Venture Madness on Jan. 4, and the event itself runs Jan. 29 - 30 at Galvanize Phoenix.

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