Arizona is known for the Grand Canyon, golf courses and a whole lot of tourism. But if you take a deeper look, the beautiful desert state has a vibrant tech ecosystem, filled with innovative startups from Tucson to Flagstaff and everywhere in between.
If you ask any leader in the tech ecosystem, their ultimate goals are to help startups build great businesses, support the community, and retain and attract talent. Coined by the entrepreneurial community group #yesPHX, “The World's Most Generous Community for Entrepreneurs,” is a real thing. The hashtag, which you'll find all over social media, now stands for “a unifying banner for Arizona's diverse startup ecosystem, 100 percent community-owned, bootstrapped, and yours to help lead.”
If you are thinking of building a business in Arizona or transferring your startup to the desert, there is an abundance of options where people will help you launch, grow and scale. Check out the list below, updated as of August 2017, for a comprehensive collection of the Arizona accelerators, incubators and innovation spaces currently in operation, what they're looking for, and how you can apply today.
Each year, Arizona State University has been ranked in the top five for entrepreneurship programs and most recently #1 by the US News & World Report. Applying to the ASU Entrepreneurship+Innovation program unlocks many options for founders. Their Venture Devils program caters to three types of entrepreneurs: student-led , faculty/staff-led or community led. By being accepted into this program, founders will receive dedicated mentorship from some of the finest minds at ASU, access to community tech leaders, workspace and opportunities to obtain funding through pitch competitions and demo days.
AZ TechCelerator is a business incubator focused on tech and home to nearly 60,000 sq ft of workspace. Their four-building campus has the space, tools and resources you need to grow your business at affordable rates. The AZ TechCelerator helps scalable technology and innovation companies accelerate to market with the help of affordable space, free and low cost expertise, management and financing support, and the mutual support of other early stage growth companies. Managed by the City of Surprise Economic Development Department, the AZ TechCelerator is aimed at new product commercialization, job creation, and improvement of the economy and quality of life in the Surprise community. Preferred candidates are small technology companies, such as those with a focus in life science, medical devices, healthcare innovation, information technology, renewable energy/sustainability, defense, or other product innovations. Preferred candidates will have completed a business plan, and expect to become self-sustaining in less than five years.
Bioaccel is a nonprofit that provides funding and business expertise to develop early-stage life science technologies that drives economic development through the accelerated commercialization of late-stage basic and applied research in the life sciences with a biomedical focus. In their own words, they accelerate startups to help entrepreneurs avoid the “Valley of Death.” BioAccel focuses on diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, tools, and services.
Apply for the Bioaccel accelerator program here.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) is a full-service incubator focused on supporting emerging technology companies specializing in bioscience, medical devices, and green technology industries. Their facility is located on the campus of Gateway Community College and they have a variety of programs and services available to entrepreneurs, including on-site high-quality prototype and intellectual property services, 8 wet labs, 6 light manufacturing spaces, fully furnished offices/suites, pro bono mentoring from over 50 industry and area-specific professionals, including legal, financial, human resources, marketing, intellectual property, and more.
Become a client here.
Chandler Innovations is a city-wide business incubation and entrepreneurial development program sponsored by the City of Chandler and powered by NACET, an Arizona-based non-profit organization that builds and grows startups into viable businesses. They offer group coaching and one-on-one support to early-stage founders, CEOs and entrepreneurs with tech-focused, scalable businesses that will most likely need investment dollars to quickly scale and grow. They also offer short-term office space and collaborative work-space for their incubation clients. Their programs and workshops, funding preparation, advisor network, community partners and connector events are designed to boost your startup into a thriving business. They are looking for scalable, tech-focused businesses in Chandler that will most likely need angel and/or venture capital investment to scale and grow quickly. They are co-located co-located with Arizona TechShop and ASU at ASU Chandler Innovations Center.
Complete the application here.
Co+Hoots Foundation is an arm of the CO+HOOTS family of coworking spaces, educational programs, outreach, and more. CO+HOOTS has been ranked the no. 1 innovative workplace in Arizona, no. 2 in the nation, and one of the top ten coworking spaces in the world. Their shared central Phoenix office location promotes collaboration and provides a professional, inspirational and self-sustaining space to grow and nurture entrepreneurialism. The CO+HOOTS Foundation is the flash point of innovation and a hub of connection in Phoenix that provides entrepreneurial, business and technology education to young companies and help them grow. They help pair founders ready to scale their business with top tech leaders in Phoenix and position them for success.
Learn more about them here.
Coplex is an startup accelerator and studio that works with non-coding founding teams to co-create new software companies. Their method is different than most as they’ve integrated the principles of the scientific method with lean methodology and created an expanded “build, measure, learn” feedback loop to helps build successful startups.They supply founding teams with education and mentorship in addition to support building products. They have locations in Phoenix, Seattle and Los Angeles, and have co-created over 250 internet ventures with their special approach.
Game CoLab helps developers take games to the next level by offering them the services they need to make dreams a reality. From game development, marketing, to finding a mentor, Game CoLab has everything you need to produce your game, just add a great idea.
Learn more here.
Probably the most non-traditional incubator in Arizona that likes to live dangerously and a community made up of entrepreneurs. Gangplank provides more than the high-speed internet or desk space to get your startup moving. They offer one-on-one meetings with mentors specializing in marketing, financial management and business planning. The collaborative space provides daily opportunities to meet with contractors, investors and future staff. Beyond networking, it is a place to build relationships and gain support from other entrepreneurs. They also offer educational programs for younger people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Gangplank have four Arizona locations and one in Ontario.
Get in touch with Gangplank here.
HeatSync Labs is a community-driven, non-profit shop and workspace where engineers, artists, students, and hobbyists come to make prototypes, art, and other creative projects for free. Their equipment is donated or on-loan from community members. Think of a workshop for mad scientists, artists and anyone creating or making! Membership consists of a monthly donation that comes with perks like voting rights and storage space.
Take their “hacker space” for a spin during public hours or become a member here.
LaunchPoint, in collaboration with the Arizona Incubation Association and Arizona State University, is a technology accelerator for entrepreneurs and small companies. They provide a flexible space, business development assistance and networking and training opportunities. They are interested in consumer web and mobile applications to bio tech and green energy – and everything in between – your idea will grow at LaunchPoint.
Learn more here.
Mac6 is home to a leadership academy that will assess your team and guide them towards a purpose-driven culture. A conscious culture is key to making a difference with your small business, according to Mac6. They help transforming how leaders think, feel, and make sense of the world; then we leverage conscious awareness to help leadership teams simplify and clarify to achieve their vision through their leadership program and scalable operating systems to increase performance. They have close to 100 people working in their Tempe location. They also have three coworking offices (conscious workspaces) so that your business has a place to grow.
Get started with your team here.
NACET is a nonprofit organization that offers four different programs to suit the needs of startups at every stage. They provide learning opportunities such as coaching, access to mentors, and workshops to help grow your business. Founded in Flagstaff, NACET has since expanded to include two other incubator locations in Chandler and Maricopa.
Submit your startup’s application here.
This nonprofit organization is an early-stage incubator for social ventures that can help founders take their back of the napkin idea to a growing venture. SEED SPOT aims to pair entrepreneurs with the resources, mentors, and capital sources they need to grow their business, and provide them support from access to experts in their industry to leading tech executives. They run a series of programs—a 5-day boot camp for specific populations, a 12-week evening program for working professionals, and an intensive 14-week full-time program. These programs meet the entrepreneurs at the stage appropriate for them. They also offer a high school program SEED SPOT NEXT.
Apply to SEED SPOT in Phoenix here.
Startup Tucson is a venture community located in Southern Arizona that offers the workspace and services to grow ventures. Their CoLab workspace is home to innovators, business leaders, mentors, investors and educators who share the vision of creating an impact. Startup Tucson also houses the Thryve program.
Request more information here.
Thryve is a Tucson-based, fast-paced social impact incubator that helps entrepreneurs build their business from start to finish. Their 10-week program is a mix of structured curriculum and unstructured, self-directed work, that includes access to experienced mentors, networking opportunities, and lean startup principles. Thryve provides startups with the strategy and capital to go from concept to successful execution.
Connect with Thryve here.
If you know of an accelerator or incubator that you believe should be added or removed from this list, notify TechCo here .
Read more about the Phoenix tech ecosystem at TechCo