Local Business Wins World’s Largest Pitch Contest | Tech Parks Arizona
   The University of Arizona

Local Business Wins World’s Largest Pitch Contest

Sylvan Source, a University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) client, was announced as a winner for the world’s largest startup pitch contest, the Unicorn Battle Final Cup. Sylvan Source is part of an elite group of extraordinary international startups from different industries that competed and won the preliminary Unicorn Battles. The very best companies were selected during the preliminary Unicorn Battles® covering North America, Latin America, Silicon Valley, Asia, Middle East, Southeastern Asia & Oceania, Africa, Eastern & Western Europe this Spring. Only 10 extraordinary ventures from different countries pitched live at the UNICORN CUP on July 15, 2021. Sylvan Source was the only top three award-winner from the United States. 

The Unicorn battles attract famous venture capitalists and angel-investors seeking to find the best deals for their portfolios. Over the years $296 million was received in funding by past winners. The Unicorn Battles are crucial connection events, bringing together entrepreneurs and investors by showcasing the best and brightest startups across the globe.   

Laura Demmons, co-founder and CEO of Sylvan Source has devoted herself to making an impact globally by founding an industrial-municipal water treatment and thermal energy management company. The business seeks to tackle issues that plague the industry such as the cost and energy needed to treat water as well as the size and complexity of the systems. Sylvan Source systems are half the cost to own and operate, and have fewer points of failure, versus the competition.   

Sylvan Source was founded in California in late 2010 and incorporated in Delaware, therefore Demmons’ involvement in Arizona’s startup ecosystem was not initially on her radar. However, when she visited her parents in Green Valley, Arizona in 2020, she reached out to Anita Bell, Director at the UACI and a power connector with the Department of Energy, who walked her through the benefits and application process for the University of Arizona Center for Innovation. Upon acceptance, Demmons and her team started to receive a tremendous amount of support from the people and resources in Arizona.   

“Demmons said, “Over the past year, the UACI team has provided strong tactical and strategic guidance for our business models, plans and presentations which has made us even more competitive as we present our company and our opportunity to investors and customers alike. We are delighted to be included in the UACI program and look forward to making a positive difference globally and in our local community.”  

About the University of Arizona Center for Innovation 

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region. For nearly two decades, the program has directly served over 160 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done through providing access to people, programming and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Startups go through a structured program that takes them through a continuum of education provided by mentors, advisors and community collaborators. UACI also provides access to service providers, industry cluster groups, interns and connections to potential customers and strategic partners. Entrepreneurs utilize various physical spaces that include offices, wet and dry labs, meeting rooms, a prototyping center, collaboration areas and the infrastructure to support these spaces. The UACI is part of Tech Parks Arizona, which brings together university, industry and community, creating “interactive ground” to advance technology innovation.   


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