Venture Madness 2021
Invest Southwest Announces 2021 Venture Madness Event, Opens Competition to Companies Nationwide
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Startup and emerging growth companies can apply to compete by June 3, 2021

PHOENIX (May 26, 2021) — Invest Southwest today announces the call for entries for 2021 Venture Madness, Arizona’s longest running venture capital conference and pitch competition. Early stage and emerging growth companies will compete for cash prizes and get exclusive access to the region’s most active, accredited angel investors and venture capital firms. This year, for the first time, the competition is open to companies across the U.S.

“Since Venture Madness began in 1992, presenting companies like CampusLogic, Swimlane and WebPT have collectively raised more than $1 billion in funding, and approximately 40% secure funding following the event. That speaks volumes about the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit in our region,” said Diana Vowels, 2020-2021 Chair of Invest Southwest and Board Member. “We encourage ambitious companies to apply for the opportunity to gain valuable mentorship and high-impact networking with investors, business leaders and other entrepreneurs. This competition isn’t just for early-stage companies, we encourage those with revenue up to $30M who are ready to scale to apply.” 

In partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Venture Madness will be held on October 6-7, 2021 at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. Prior to the event, finalists will be chosen by an expert selection panel. Companies in six categories who meet the criteria can apply for free on the event website. The six categories this year include:

  • SaaS: SaaS/Software in process of developing product, finding product market fit, and/or generating consistent revenue.
  • Deep Tech/Hardware/IoT: Companies building physical products such as wearables, IoT devices, drones, robotics, 3D printing, space tech, AR/VR, Ag Tech, new materials, etc., as well as software solutions including autonomous driving, computational, imaging and recognition.
  • Growth: Established companies generating up to $30M revenue annually who are looking to scale.
  • Institutional Tech: Fintech, blockchain, cyber and ed tech companies in process of developing technology, finding technology market fit and/or generating consistent revenue.
  • Biotech/Healthcare/Life Sciences: Biotech, healthcare and life science companies with developed solutions in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems for solving health problems and/or improving quality of life such as pharmaceuticals, devices, procedures, systems, computer-supported info systems and more.
  • Consumer: Consumer-based technology, product or service companies focused on individuals and/or households through software, mobile devices and others.

“Business growth in Arizona has propelled the state to become one of the best places in the country to start a company,” said Sandra Watson, President & CEO at Arizona Commerce Authority and Invest Southwest Board Member. “We’re excited to open up this year’s event to companies across the country to help fuel their exposure, growth and potential future impact on expanding jobs and the economy.”

“The exposure presenting companies receive before and after participating really helps drive early awareness and credibility with key audiences, which is critical for a young company,” said Karen Katzorke, Executive Director of Invest Southwest. “ Venture Madness often helps participants build their team, future mentors, board members and investors who help guide and fuel their journey for years to come.” 

Interested companies can apply at the Invest Southwest website: The application deadline is 3:00 p.m. (MST) on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

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About Invest Southwest

Invest Southwest is the premier organization for connecting investors with the best and brightest ventures in the region. In addition to providing valuable information on topics important to the investment community, Invest Southwest offers ongoing opportunities for angel and venture capital investors to connect with early stage and emerging growth companies. Its signature event, the Venture Madness Conference, is a unique competition presented in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. Venture Madness pits thoroughly vetted companies against one another in a head-to-head competition to crown a champion in each category. For more, visit

Media Contact:
Kristin Hege