Osborn Maledon – uniquely committed to Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

March 1, 2014

As our 2014 New Year’s resolution, the Business Law group at Osborn Maledon renewed our commitment to nurture, support and grow Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by investing our individual time and talents, together with our firm’s resources, in key organizations and events that we believe will continue to drive this important sector and diversify the Arizona economy.

Our key priorities in 2013 and 2014 include:

  • Invest Southwest –Two Osborn Maledon partners are playing key roles in Invest Southwest, an organization dedicated to connecting the investment community with promising startups in the region. Jonathan Ariano is chairing Invest Southwest’s unique upcoming event, Venture Madness, and Tom Curzon serves as a member of the Invest Southwest Board. Both attorneys’ practices focus on growth-oriented, entrepreneurial clients. Osborn Maledon has been involved in Invest Southwest and its predecessor venture capital conference since inception in 1992.
  • Venture Madness, a new “March Madness” event for startups, will premiere in March 2014 by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. Venture Madness will present an innovative new format pitting 64 of the region’s most promising startups in competition, with industry experts and the public voting to advance the competitors in brackets, similar to the traditional basketball springtime ritual. The competition will culminate in a final event March 5-7 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale where 16 finalists will live-pitch to advance through the brackets. Winners receive a share of $50,000 in cash prizes, and one startup will be crowned the 2014 Venture Madness Champion. To relive the best moments of Venture Madness 2014, check out this short video, the kickoff toast narrated by Jonathan Ariano.
  • Arizona Innovation Challenge– Powered by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Innovation Challenge is a business plan competition that awards qualified, innovative start-up and early-stage companies capital to grow their businesses in Arizona. Every year the ACA awards a total of $3 million to 12 of the most innovative companies in the state. The Challenge is the largest technology company business plan competition —$1.5 million in the spring; $1.5 million in the fall. Osborn Maledon partner, Tom Curzon, has been deeply involved (principally as a judge) in the Challenge since inception of this important innovation in our ecosystem. 
  • Venture Ready –Venture Ready is the Arizona Commerce Authority’s business mentor program is a collaborative effort to create winning companies by nurturing entrepreneurial talent in the state of Arizona. Venture Ready begins by partnering a company with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). The EIR coaches the company through five panels of experts, investors, and entrepreneurs with deep been-there-done-that experience; they collectively take the company through intake, marketing, finance, dry run, and final/graduation. In each, the company pitches its business model and strategy to the expert panel and receives an iterative series of specific feedback items to identify gaps and strategic opportunities and to improve the model. Partners Tom CurzonBill Hardin, and Jonathan Ariano serve on a number of Venture Ready panels.
  •  Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference (November 2013) – Osborn Maledon was the lead law firm sponsor at the eighth annual conference, an opportunity for networking and examining issues such as the rise in digital journalism, how women transform entrepreneurship, and the rapid shift to mobile. http://azentrepreneurship.com/
  •  Southwest Regional Angel Conference – Osborn Maledon was the lead sponsor for the conference hosted by the Tucson-based Desert Angels, one of two leading angel groups in the region. Osborn Maledon partner Bill Hardin, former Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council on Innovation and Technology, moderated a panel, “Going from ‘Oh No’ to ‘OK’,” where the audience heard Angels’ war stories and advice on how to avoid similar issues as they advance their companies. His practice also focuses on growth companies. http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/southwest-2013/
  •  MIT Enterprise Phoenix Forum – Osborn Maledon was one of the founding sponsors of this technology-entrepreneur-focused networking organization, and Tom Curzon has served on its executive committee since inception. The firm continues to be an active annual sponsor. http://www.mitefphoenix.org/
  • Seed Spot – Osborn Maledon supports Seed Spot, a nonprofit incubator that focuses on finding, supporting, and funding entrepreneurs that have social impact, improving the human condition. Seed Spot is also Arizona’s lead entity for StartupAmerica, an Obama administration initiative to celebrate, inspire and accelerate entrepreneurship. http://seedspot.org/