APRIL 4, 2012

Arizona Commerce Authority names 25 semifinalists for The Arizona Innovation Challenge

Companies are one step closer to receiving up to $250,000

aic logo PHOENIX – The Arizona Commerce Authority announced 25 companies will move on as semifinalists for the first round of the 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge. A panel of expert judges evaluated more than 300 applications from start-ups, judging each on a set of criteria including technology potential, marketing strategy, management team, and the potential for job and wealth creation. Finalists will be named in mid-April, with winners selected in May. Winning companies will receive anywhere between $100,000 to $250,000.

"As evidenced by the impressive pool of applicants, Arizona is the place to be for entrepreneurs. It has long been a goal of the ACA to elevate Arizona to become the number state in the nation for start-ups. We are pleased that the 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity recognized Arizona as such," said Don Cardon, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The challenge – which is the largest financial prize of its kind in the country – advances innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona by supporting early stage ventures in Arizona's targeted industries of renewable energy and sustainability, bio and life sciences, electronics, information technologies, aerospace and defense and advanced manufacturing. The ACA doubled its commitment to the Arizona Innovation Challenge for 2012. Initially funded at $1.5 million, the ACA will commit $3 million to the program, creating two rounds of competition ($1.5 million in award money for each challenge).

Start-ups receiving awards will be required to commercialize their technology solution and generate revenue within one year of the award. All companies will receive significant feedback generated from the evaluation process and a seasoned panel of evaluators, be invited to partner with commercialization resources across Arizona, and will be evaluated for eligibility in other ACA incentive programs like the Angel Investment Program.

The 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge semifinalists are:
Agave Semiconductor
BCR Diagnostics
Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals
Care H2 Energy Systems
Cummings Engineering
Desert Dog Marketing
Discern Science
Earth Knowledge
HJ3 Composite Technologies
IPO Solutions
Kutta Radios
MaxQ Technology
PureTech Systems
Serious Integrated
Solar Pool Technologies

Arizona is a recognized leader in the nation for entrepreneurial activity. The 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity ranks Arizona #1 in the nation for entrepreneurial activity. Arizona also ranked fifth in the U.S. for start-ups, sixth in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and innovation and in the top ten in the U.S. for small business lending. Through a suite of programs, including the Arizona Innovation Challenge, the Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund, the AZ Fast Grants, and the AZ State Trade and Export Promotion Program, Arizona is helping start-ups bring their ideas to life, expand, and serve as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth.