AzCI Clients Win Pitch Contest at IdeaFunding Competition | Tech Parks Arizona
   The University of Arizona

AzCI Clients Win Pitch Contest at IdeaFunding Competition

Tech Parks Arizona and Tech Launch Arizona are pleased to announce that two Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) start-up companies won at the 2014 IdeaFunding event.

IdeaFunding brought together over 280 members of Southern Arizona’s entrepreneurial community on October 23, 2014, from young startups to experienced serial entrepreneurs and investors. Delivering the latest best practices in today’s startup environment, the annual event offered panels, presentations, a keynote speaker, award ceremony, and two competitions.

IdeaFunding’s business competitions provided 30 entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their new innovations. Pitch competition teams had three minutes to present their venture concepts to a panel of judges. The top two winning teams were:

 1st Place: Grafted Growers

Grafted Growers has designed a system for plants to grow at a higher density and a higher quality than traditional systems. Their high-density, small-footprint system operates at one-tenth the size of a traditional grower and offers up to 55% cost savings to growers in the production of grafted seedlings. The greenhouse tomato market is a $1.4 billion market. (Awarded $2000) 

In addition to the cash prize, Grafted Growers also had the opportunity for a 5-minute presentation at the Desert Angel dinner. The Desert Angel's dinner was attended by over 150 Desert Angels and guests, including investors from all over the Southwestern Region, who were there for the Angel Capital Association Southwest Summit.

Grafted Growers recently joined the Arizona Center for Innovation. AzCI has worked diligently the last few weeks to modify the laboratory facilities to fit the company’s specialized needs.

2nd Place: Codelucida

The solid state drive (SSD) industry faces major issues because of technology costs. As the reliability of such computer memory increases, speed drops and power usage goes up. Codelucida’s flash memory controller, based on a technology invented by UA researchers, provides greater capacity, reliability and speed, with lower power usage. The University spinout has a utility patent, is filing three more patents this year, and is building a working prototype. (Awarded $1000)

Codelucida has been with the Arizona Center for Innovation for over one year. Shiva Planjery, Ph.D., founder of Codelucida states, “Over the past one year, AzCI has played a huge role in developing the business acumen of our team through its mentorship, workshops, and other events, not to mention the great supportive environment they provide. The other great thing about AzCI is being able to interact with other entrepreneurs who are all working on cutting-edge technologies, and being able to learn from each other's experiences.”

Arizona Center for Innovation assists entrepreneurs in turning innovative ideas into successful businesses by providing facilities including office, wet and dry lab space and a structured business development program called Mentored Launch which includes a program of workshops, seminars and networking events. The companies also receive individual coaching from mentors experienced in technology innovation, product development and business management. AzCI is actively recruiting clients for its 2015 Mentored Launch Program. For details on how to apply, please visit

AzCI is located at the UA Tech Park and is a component of Tech Parks Arizona which is part of Tech Launch Arizona, a University of Arizona initiative to create an ecosystem of invention, commercialization and impact.

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