IdeaFunding Announces 25 Finalists to Compete for Over $75,000 at TENWEST

IdeaFunding has played a significant role in the entrepreneurial landscape for over 25 years and is Southern Arizona’s largest and longest running pitch competition. Over the past two months, early-stage startup companies from all over Arizona have participated in several rounds of company pitch presentations at IdeaFunding, part of the TENWEST Impact Festival by Startup Tucson.

IdeaFunding is co-led by the University of Arizona Center for Innovation and presented by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

A total of 25 Arizona-based startup companies have been selected as finalists, five of whom have been designated to compete on the main stage of IdeaFunding on Nov. 9. Startups that have advanced to the final phase of IdeaFunding will present their businesses in front of a live audience during the TENWEST Festival. By competing in two rounds of IdeaFunding, participants have completed robust training and polished their pitch through rigorous mentorship provided by UACI. 

In the final round of IdeaFunding, 25 startups will compete for a total of over $75,000 in prizes. Companies selected as finalists are divided into four vertical industry rooms; food, consumer products, technology and medical sciences, and software as a service.  All innovations showcased on the final stage come from Arizona, including some inventions stemming from UArizona.  

Finalists that will compete for $2,500 in cash prizes awarded in each industry vertical include: 

FoodConsumer ProductsTech & MedicalSoftware as a Service
Big Red’s Hot Sauce4D BlockBeyond SiliconBreathe EV
EnvieEva’s Santa HatsFringe MetrologyCapSource
Purple Tree TruckLuna ScrubsMacula Vision SystemsCourseer
SuncliffeWest MajorNexoTerraEduFi
Tucson TeaXocoTG RECYCLINGMy Health Navigator App

Of the 25 finalists, five companies were selected to pitch on IdeaFunding’s mainstage competing for a grand prize of $25,000 and second place prize of $5,000 in cash–both also winning a year of incubation programming and space at UACI valued at an additional $10,000. 

The five main stage finalists include:

  1. Berry Cultured

Berry Cultured is a lifestyle kids brand where culture and play are celebrated. Berry Cultured celebrates diversity in all shades and strives to preserve childhood wonder through cultural play. The startup offers beautiful, high-quality exclusive products ranging from gifts, crafts, toys, party supplies and stationery. Berry Cultured provides a world of imagination to delight and empower kids as they learn the beauty of who they are, the enchantment of unity and love through culture.

  1. BioBolt Medical

BioBolt Medical introduces a breakthrough technology that allows surgeons to perform procedures with greater speed, efficiency, and precision. The startup is focused on developing a product that can pierce, manipulate, and fix all meshes and tissues with the speed of a stapler and the strength of a suture. BioBolt’s unique and patented deployment system works for all mesh types, enabling surgeons to utilize biologic meshes more often, improving patient outcomes and reducing surgical time.

  1. Carbon Utility

Carbon Utility has created a scalable and modular grid-based Direct Air Capture system and partners with commercial customers to lower their carbon footprint to meet reduction goals. Global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions are reaching new highs at the same time that consumers demand brands to focus on sustainability, Carbon Utility reuses CO2 captured from the air to create low-carbon products.  The products (1) replace fossil fuel sourced CO2 used in food & beverage production, (2) enhance food security and production with commercial greenhouse CO2 supplementation, and (3) displaces fossil fuels by creating neutral transportation fuels using only air and water. 

  1. Cocktail Lab AZ (Ray Ray’s Sonoran Spirit Tea)

Cocktail Lab AZ creates and shares cocktail experiences via educational seminars, group activities, catering and craft drink mixers. The startup’s flagship product, Ray Ray’s Sonoran Spirit Tea, is a light, refreshing, carbonated hard tea. Ray Ray’s fills a space in the market that isn’t beer or a cocktail and celebrates the Sonoran Desert by including regional flavors in its tea. Better for you and the environment, Ray Ray’s is low calorie, low ABV, naturally gluten free and ready to drink, packaged in recycled aluminum and compostable six-pack rings.

  1. The Earnest House

The Earnest House is a transitional living program, housing individuals after incarceration, treatment and/or homelessness. The company provides safe, sober homes and resources to address the housing gap for individuals returning to society. The Earnest House aims to be the bridge clients need to progress toward their life goals and creates distance from what holds them back by providing the following resources: 24-hour on-site staff, job lead assistance, help obtaining medical coverage and food stamps, transportation, and personal hygiene items as needed.

Companies selected to advance as finalists were selected based on merit by local community leaders who served as unbiased judges. The judges include: 

  • Gina Catalano, Founder, Venture Solutions 
  • Andrew More, Director, BlueStone Venture Partners
  • Andre Whittington, CEO, Growth Partners Arizona

Tucson is invited to watch the finalists pitch their businesses on Nov. 9 as part of IdeaFunding 2023, which is day six of TENWEST. 

IdeaFunding is supported by Arizona Commerce Authority, Pima Community College, Cox, Community Investment Corporation, UA Venture Capital, Rio Nuevo, UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth Partners Arizona, Hexagon, City of Tucson Economic Initiatives, Thomas R. Brown Foundations, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Hecker Pew PLLC, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, FORGE, Pima County Economic Development, Osborn Maledon, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, Flinn Foundation, Desert Angels, and Town of Oro Valley.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button