California partnerships boost ASU startups

January 27, 2015

After a university technology leaves the research lab, but before it becomes a self-sustaining new product or startup, it must cross the “valley of death.” This challenging period can sink even the most promising ideas due to lack of funds, business expertise, market timing or even luck.

Arizona State University, through the activities of Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), has worked hard to address this challenge by developing a robust mix of services and financial support for university entrepreneurs, whether they be faculty, students, staff or alumni. RubyRide Download Full Image

Arizona has a robust startup ecosystem, but with California right next door there are opportunities to bring in additional partners to support ASU-linked startups.

AzTE, which functions as ASU’s exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization, has worked for years to establish deep connections with investors, technology firms and potential partners in California. Two years ago, the ASU California Center opened to provide a physical base for those activities.

AzTE has collaborated with the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) on a number of events in Southern California, most recently with LAVA at the Beach, which brought together venture capital partners and angel investors from more than 20 firms to share with entrepreneurs how they make investment decisions and what they’re adding to their portfolios. Investors in attendance included venture funds like DFJ Frontier, and angel groups like Tech Coast, Pasadena and Sand Hill.

Two ASU-linked companies participated in the event. Breezing, co-founded by ASU professors NJ Tao and Erica Forzani, made its second trek to a LAVA event to pitch its portable device that can track an individual’s metabolism and use that information to provide diet and exercise recommendations for maintaining or reaching a healthy weight.

RubyRide founder Jeff Ericson also attended the event. RubyRide is an ASU Accelerator company with a monthly membership-based “car replacement service” that offers unlimited rides within “zones” of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

“I was blown away by the quality of both the program and the participants at LAVA at the Beach,” said Ericson. “We met at least 15 investors and were approached by three after the event for more information. This type of event is a great introduction for anyone new to the investment world, and we greatly appreciate AzTE’s support in helping us make this connection.”

In addition to LAVA, AzTE has built relationships with other California-based venture supporting organizations, including StartEngine, AmplifyLA, Tech Coast Angels and the Founder Institute. The ASU California Center has played host to a number of events in collaboration with these groups, including a digital media showcase, a health care startup expo and multiple networking sessions.

“AzTE focuses its economic development efforts on making an impact in Arizona, but when it comes to potential investors and partners, we cast a very wide net,” said Charlie Lewis, vice president for venture development for AzTE. “Our work in California expands the university’s entrepreneurship networks and provides unique opportunities for ASU’s faculty and student entrepreneurs."

To date, more than 70 companies have been launched based on ASU innovations. These companies and their sub-licensees have attracted more than $425 million in funding from venture capital firms and other investors, collecting $40 million in funding in just FY 2014.

ASU business school offers summer college prep programs

January 27, 2015

One of the top business schools in the nation is offering high school students one low-cost and two free summer programs to help them learn what college life is really like. The highly ranked W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is now accepting applications for all three college prep programs, each with a slightly different area of focus.

“All of these programs take a closer look at how to apply for college, learn about financial aid opportunities, and succeed in both school and your career,” explains Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 30 undergraduate business schools by U.S. News & World Report. W. P. Carey School of Business Download Full Image

“Participants will get to work with current W. P. Carey School students and faculty members, as well as local business leaders,” added Hillman.

The three programs being offered are:

The Fleischer Scholars Program is designed for economically disadvantaged Arizona students between their junior and senior years of high school. Participants stay in residence halls with supervising mentors for a week and learn business skills, get college application tips, network and prepare for college. The free program, now in its sixth year, will run in two different sessions at ASU’s Tempe campus: July 6-10 and July 20-24. The program is generously sponsored by local entrepreneur Morton Fleischer and his wife, ASU alum Donna Fleischer.

The Business Scholars Institute (BSI) is a weeklong summer residency program for very high-achieving high school juniors who want to explore going to business school. Participants will learn about business careers and gain connections to honors programs while working with ambitious peers on challenging business projects. This program is in its second year, has a $200 fee and will be offered at ASU’s Tempe campus June 15-19.

The Accounting Career Awareness Program was created for underrepresented high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to learn more about accounting careers. This is the eighth year of the free program. Students will live at ASU’s West campus June 21-25.

“High school counselors and teachers are asked to please identify strong candidates interested in business to attend these programs,” says Danna Remillard, coordinator for undergraduate summer programs at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We provide housing and meals for all chosen students.”

The priority-consideration deadline for the Fleischer Scholars and BSI programs is March 20, with a final deadline of April 17. The application deadline for the accounting program is May 8. Please note that the Fleischer Scholars Program is only open to Arizona residents.

For more information, visit or contact Danna Remillard at 480-965-5187 or;