Venture Madness Competitor Spotlight: Beacon Biomedical

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beacon biomedicalBefore Beacon Biomedical decided to enter the Venture Madness competition, they were looking for the smartest next move for their business. When the angel investors they’d been meeting with suggested they talk to the Arizona Commerce Authority about the competition, the Beacon leadership team realized this might just be the thing.

“After looking the application over and initially talking to the ACA about the merits of this event, we decided to go for it,” said Don Weber, CEO and president. “In our minds it was a great way to not only hone our presentation skills,” he added, “but more importantly to elevate our exposure.”

Beacon Biomedical is developing cancer-screening tests that can be used by primary care providers to screen their patients, in their own offices. With Beacon Biomedical’s technology, a test for undiagnosed breast or colorectal cancer will be able to be completed from a finger-prick of blood, with results in less than ten minutes and cost to the patient of under $50.

When the company first entered the Venture Madness competition, Don and his team were faced with the challenge of going up against other startups who were also highly qualified, but in very different lines of business. “It wasn’t so much unexpected as it was a learning experience,” Don said. “We were able to hold back our tendency to get into the weeds technically and focus more on the merit of the business model.”

In collaboration with their mentors, the company worked to sum up their entire business in only three minutes for the first round of the competition. They distilled the thesis of their value proposition to include enough “wow” factor to get through to the next round. Don notes that even if you aren’t ultimately named the winner, there’s a lot that startups can learn from being involved in any part of the competition. “The process helps companies improve their elevator pitch, and, with plenty of feedback provided, adjust and tweak their business plans, presentations and possibly even their expectations as to the merits of their plans.”

Through the competition, Beacon Biomedical learned about the support systems available for growing startups right here in Arizona. “There is no shortage of individuals and companies here in our own backyard that have the requisite business acumen and willingness to help you succeed,” Don said, adding that the local startup community has “access and a network to the investment community if you have the right business plan, model and commitment.”

Beacon Biomedical advanced to the final four of the 2015 Venture Madness competition. They were awarded $5,000 for their success. To learn more about the company, visit