invest southwest venture madness

Invest Southwest Announces New Investment Opportunities for Venture Madness Competitors

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PHOENIX (December 21, 2016) – Invest Southwest announces today that MRTNZ Ventures, Grayhawk Investments, the Arizona Founders Fund and Tallwave Capital have committed to creating an unprecedented pool of $300,000 in potential investment dollars that will be available to one or more of the 2017 Venture Madness Top 16 finalist companies.

“For nearly 25 years, Invest Southwest has been connecting early-stage companies with potential sources of seed capital they need to scale and succeed,” said Karen Katzorke, Executive Director of Invest Southwest. “This new investment pool provides an exciting opportunity for our Venture Madness companies to build relationships with key investors and help secure investment funding, which is core to our mission.”

Following the competition, the Top 16 finalists will be carefully evaluated by each of the four accredited investor groups. Potential investments will be subject to the negotiation terms and investor due diligence.

“We are proud to be providing additional resources through this new partnership to help grow the best companies in our start up ecosystem,” said Mario Martinez II, Managing Director of MRTNZ Ventures and former Chairman of Invest Southwest. “Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness event is a critical part of helping identify those companies, and I look forward to learning about this year’s finalists.”

“The momentum within Arizona’s start-up community continues to build every year, and Venture Madness offers us the opportunity to engage with the emerging ecosystem and invest in some of its best and brightest,” said Connor Tryhus of Grayhawk Investments. “The competition provides us an excellent introduction to those companies to evaluate them for long-term investment opportunities.”

“In addition to the funding, we believe that the mentoring and guidance that come with investments are extremely valuable to early stage companies,” said Nate Mortensen, Principal at Tallwave Capital. “We’re very pleased to have formed this partnership that will allow us to offer more of these critical resources to some of the region’s best startups.”

“The Arizona Founders Fund is focused on ensuring that Arizona’s startup companies with high-growth potential have every opportunity to succeed,” said Romi Dhillon, founder of the Arizona Founders Fund. “We are very excited to be participating in this partnership which will allow us to make new connections and provide additional resources to startups in our community.”

Due to the addition of the investment pool, the cash prize portion of the competition has been reallocated as follows: $10,000 to the first place winner, $5,000 to the second place winner and $2,500 to both the third and fourth place winners.

Applications to compete in Venture Madness are being accepted until January 5, 2017. The initial field of 64 companies will be narrowed by a selection panel during two bracket-style, head-to-head online rounds in January. The top 16 finalists will participate in the live pitch competition at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, AZ on March 8 – 10, 2017.

To learn more about Venture Madness, apply to compete, or purchase a conference ticket please visit:

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 year-round opportunities for investors to connect with emerging growth companies. Its signature event, Venture Madness, is a unique competition presented in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. Venture Madness pits 64 thoroughly evaluated emerging companies against one another in a bracket-style, head-to-head competition to crown the champion of champions. Visit for more information.


Media Contacts:

Karen Katzorke
Invest Southwest

Susan Marie
Arizona Commerce Authority