How we put the PHX in PHX Startup Week

These folks really rose to the occasion to pull off the second PHX Startup Week.

When I was invited to help launch an all-volunteer week-long celebration of entrepreneurship in Arizona, I thought: Sure. I’ll attend a few meetings, but there’s no way we’ll actually pull this off.

I was dead wrong.

In February 2015, the first PHX Startup Week drew more than 2,000 startup founders and employees, small business owners, and solopreneurs from across Arizona. Attendance doubled to more than 4,400 at the second annual event.

In 2015, we delivered our minimally viable product. In 2016, we exited beta.

In 2017, we will scale. The founding team has passed the baton to a new organizing crew and these guys are legit. Big love to Stephen Viramontes and team. Go get ‘em!

Running February 20–25 at venues across the Valley, the third annual PHX Startup Week powered by Chase for Business® is poised for its biggest year yet with attendance expected to exceed 10,000.

Get ready for five days of new business connections and inspiring presentations, including keynotes from Insight cofounderTim Crown, venture capital investor Tim Draper, restaurateurs Craig DeMarco, Lauren Bailey, Joe Johnston, and David Birzon, and much much more.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s 100% FREE to attend? Register now!

3 Ways We Put the PHX in PHX Startup Week

The Startup Week concept had already proven itself in Denver when Arizona was selected by UP Global (now Techstars) as one of a handful of cities for expansion in fall 2014.

That’s when a small army of organizers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees went to work. To see their names, check out Jonathan Cottrell’s great wrap-ups from 2015 and 2016.

From the beginning, the founding team sought to put its own unique Arizona spin on the Startup Week concept. For example:

1. We’re the only Startup Week that moves.

We recognized early on that Arizona’s startup scene isn’t tied to one region. So, our central location (aka Chase Basecamp) migrates from one venue to another each day of the week. It’s a lot of work requiring an army of volunteers, but it pays off as new folks walk through the door each morning.

New in 2017: PHX Startup Week is heading further west than ever thanks to the generosity of Grand Canyon University. Don’t miss Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia delivering the keynote on February 21 at GCU.

2. We have a unique entrepreneurial community.

Every startup ecosystem is different. In the past, we’ve honored Arizona’s unique flavor with focus tracks for Hispanic entrepreneurs and for startups in medical devices, education technology, and more.

New in 2017: Greg Head’s team has uncovered more than 270 software companies employing more than 20,000 people in Arizona! SaaS Day will deliver special content for folks in Arizona’s growing software sector February 22 at the UofA College of Medicine in downtown Phoenix.

3. We’ve got the best damn weather of any Startup Week.

And you better believe PHX Startup Week has taken advantage — from sunny lunches à la food truck to beautiful rooftop happy hours to last year’s closing party featuring a bar crawl and outdoor concert.

New in 2017: Ten startups will compete to win a $50,000 investment prize in the inaugural Street Pitch under the stars downtown. The pitches begin at 6:30 p.m. February 22 at Cityscape in downtown Phoenix.

Unifying the Arizona Startup Community … 52 Weeks a Year

PHX Startup Week’s evolution has coincided with the growth of the #yesphx effort to unify Arizona’s startup community.

Our signature event PHX Startup Week draws us together to celebrate each February.

During the other 51 weeks per year, we rally around the #yesphx banner.

We keep up-to-date via social and email feeds with 20,000 subscribers. We connect with one another online in a Facebook group and Slack channel. And we meet face-to-face at semiannual socials that draw hundreds of attendees.

But PHX Startup Week is the main event. Come February 20–25 to celebrate.

Stay the rest of the year to collaborate, innovate, and just plain get sh*t done as we build Arizona’s startup ecosystem together.

Register now!

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You may remember me as the guy with the drink tickets.