Making Connections, how Far Downtown Phoenix has Come, and a Podcast Appearance on Business in Arizona

Lots of new content to share out there from PADT on that is published by other people.

Two blog posts in the Phoenix Business Journal went out since the last update:

We meet fellow business people that become part of our network almost every day. At work, at dinner, and at events for our kids. Sometimes we even make connections while being driven to dinner. And those connections can pay off someday. In “Make connections wherever you can, even with your Lyft driver” I explore the impact of our more connected world.

I was at a business dinner, off on some tangent about the types of early-stage capital available in the state when I didn’t hear what my dinner companion said because the train behind him was too loud. Looking over his shoulder, past a crowd of pedestrians, I could see the Phoenix Art Museum was glowing yellow in the sunset behind the train. And then it hit me over the head – Phoenix has a real downtown now. I ponder this change in “Street side pizza, trains, and museums: downtown Phoenix, how far you have come.

We were lucky enough to be asked to participate in this great local podcast for Business in the Phoenix area. Here is the description: Eric Miller, Principal & Co-Owner at PADT, talks about product development and angel investing. PADT is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing products and services. Links can be found here:

iTunes: https://apple.co/2DE32lv
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IBrRSF
Stitcher: stitcher.com/s?fid=176919&refid=stpr

Phoenix Business Journal: Phoenix is not Silicon Valley — and we shouldn’t want it to be

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I spent some time working in a coffee shop. It’s different there.  “Phoenix is not Silicon Valley — and we shouldn’t want it to be” is a look at what I observed and why I’m happy to be part of this community.

Phoenix Business Journal: ​What the heck is happening? There is too much going on in Arizona tech

We have a problem now in the Arizona Tech community – there is just too much going on.  In “What the heck is happening? There is too much going on in Arizona tech” we look at how why this is a good thing and what we can to make it even better.

AZ Business Magazine: It’s time for Arizona startups to grow up

At some point it’s time to get real.  “It’s time for Arizona startups to grow up” looks at how we need to stop focusing on getting ready for success and start achieving it.  We were pleased to be the first article in AZBigMedia.com‘s new “Silicon Desert Insider” blog shares my thoughts on how its time for some tough love. Brought to you by AZ Business Magazine, it focuses on the technology side of business in the Phoenix area.

​Phoenix Business Journal: The Arizona startup market needs bridge funding for growth

Just-Published-PBJ-1The state of Arizona has made some great strides in creating a vibrant and growing startup community. Only a few things are missing and the big one right now is that “The Arizona startup market needs bridge funding for growth” Check out the article to get my feelings on the topic, what our problems are and how we can fix them.

Phoenix Business Journal: Pitching a startup well: What I learned while competing for the Unicorn Cup

Just-Published-PBJ-1We had a lot of fun while learning a lot during the first ever Perfect Pitch competition at PADT.  This is an event where startup mentors get up and pitch the same fictitious company. During that process, we learned a few things that are useful for anyone trying to fundraise for a startup or those who mentor companies.  “Pitching a startup well: What I learned while competing for the Unicorn Cup” highlights those lessons.

First Perfect Pitch Startup Presentation Competition a Success – CEI Takes Home the Unicorn Cup

perfect-pitch-16-all-2The verdict is in, if the company barq! actually existed they would have raised a lot of seed money yesterday.  Members of the Phoenix area startup community gathered at PADT to try out a new idea: what if the experts who mentor and coach startups tried their hands at pitching a company?  The result was fun, funny, and educational.

title-slides-perfect-pitch-2017Local incubators/accelerators CEI, Seed Spot, and Tallwave joined PADT in pitching a totally made up company, barqk! to a group of judges who are startup experts.  We talked about poop, doggy depression, bessel functions, big data, valuations, and the cat revolt. In the end we ended up with four fantastic examples of how to pitch a company and how to answer questions from investors.  One of the best parts was that every single team finished their pitch in the 10 minutes they were given, and they covered everything that needed to be covered. Yes, it can be done!

And the winner is… The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI).  Tom Schumann and Patti DuBois told a story, explained the product, and got across the value to the investors of the product

.  perfect-pitch-16-winners-text

You can watch the recording of the presentations in the video below.  Take some time to watch the pitches and get a feel for barqk!, and how different organizations approach telling the story and more importantly, attracting investors.  The audience noticed that each team had a unique take that represented their strengths.

Our judges were Jim Goulka from Arizona Technology Investors, Christie Kerner from ASU, Carine Dieude of Altima Business Solutions, and Linda Capcara with TechTHiNQ, and they did a fantastic job, especially with keeping a straight face when the contestants responded with some very inventive responses. Their contribution was important.

If you are interested in doing a similar event, here is some background information:

barqk-logo-200-1Rules:

  • Each team gets a copy of the angel group funding application and a logo.
  • Each team gets 10 minutes to pitch
  • The judges have up to 5 minutes to ask questions
  • The other presenters can listen in
  • PowerPoint slides are allowed
  • Some variation from the company application is allowed for humor or to fill gaps, but everyone should stick to the same basic material

Here is their angel funding application, everything you need to know about them is in there: barqk-angel-application-1.pdf

We look forward to doing this again, hopefully as part of a larger startup event. Thank you to all who participated by pitching, judging, or being in the audience.

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Who will win the Unicorn Cup next?

Nerdtoberfest: Perfect Pitch Startup Competition and the Fight for The Unicorn Cup Heat Up

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William and Mahatma guard The Unicorn Cup before the competition.

The teams are set, the judges have confirmed.  Details on the fake company has been shared. It is time to see how the professionals pitch a tech startup. The area’s best startup incubators and accelerators are facing off in this head to head competition to take home the awesome Unicorn Cup and bragging rights.

The teams are:

Thomas Schumann and Patti DuBois from CEI
Nate Mortenson from Tallwave
Wiley Larson from ASU
Lauren McDannel and John Johnson from Seed Spot

Our distinguished panel of judges consists of

Rebel Brown of Cognoscenti
Carine Dieudé of Altima Business Solutions
Jim Goulka of ATI
Christie Kerner of ASU
David McCaleb of ATI

Perfect Pitch is a contest where teams present the same fictitious technology startup company.  A group of expert judges will determine who gave the best pitch. The event is part of PADT’s Nerdtoberfest celebration of engineering and manufacturing in Arizona, and takes place from 4:30-6:00 on Thursday, October 27th at our Tempe offices.

Everyone is invited! We will have an overflow area set up if we get more than can fit in our seminar room where you can watch live.  We will also be streaming the event live to the world (watch this blog and social media for the link).

barqk-logo-200-1If seeing the best of the best pitch is not enough, here is some info about our fictitious Company: barqk!

At barqk!,  we deploy the latest cloud based machine learning and big data algorithms to convert your dog’s barking into words on your mobile device so that you can understand your pet’s needs, if they are sick, and be made aware of danger.

Dog owners face significant problems communicating with their pets. Although you can train a dog to obey commands, the dog cannot tell it’s owners what it needs or wants. This leads to significant stress for the owner and may lead to death when the animal cannot communicate an obvious and present danger.

Barqk! has created a cloud connected wearable device for dogs that records their barking and uses machine learning and big data algorithms to convert dog-speak into human-speak. The translated words are sent via text or through our app to the owner’s phone. Initially the owners provide feedback to the network, and the responses of all owners to every dog’s bark are collected as big data then fed through our proprietary algorithms that use Bessel functions and advanced machine learning approximations to develop a consensus on what a given bark means. Over time a translation for each dog will be developed and we expect 87% accuracy.

 

Phoenix Business Journal: ​Getting your product made: 6 suggestions for outsourcing the manufacturing of your product

Just-Published-PBJ-1Getting a new product manufactured is one of those critical steps that new companies often assume is just a matter of finding a vendor and outsourcing it. In “Getting your product made: 6 suggestions for outsourcing the manufacturing of your product” I go over some suggestions on how to make this critical step a success.

Phoenix Business Journal: ​Being the lower cost option is just the start – 5 ways we can make Arizona a preferred place for growing startups

Just-Published-PBJ-1People around the country are starting to recognize that Arizona is a great place to grow tech startups.  Right now our big advantages is low cost but we can do more. In “Being the lower cost option is just the start – 5 ways we can make Arizona a preferred place for growing startups” I suggest five things we can focus on as a community to make that happen.

Phoenix Business Journal: ​Has the Arizona biotech community achieved critical mass?

pbj-phoenix-business-journal-logoThe Arizona BioTech industry has come a long way, but has it come far enough to be self sustaining?  In “Has the Arizona biotech community achieved critical mass?” I take a look at where we are and how close we are to this critical goal.

Phoenix Business Journal: ​6 things that make the Arizona technology startup community unique

pbj-phoenix-business-journal-logoIn those documentaries on the animals of the desert, at some point they always say something like “the harsh environment shapes desert dwellers into uniquely strong and beautiful creatures.” The same is true for our tech startups. “6 things that make the Arizona technology startup community unique” takes a look at this environment and what we need to do to take advantage of it.

Manufacturing Open House Highlights – October 2015

padt-mfg-openhouse-2015-1Here at PADT we help people who make products, stuff that gets manufactured.  So we focused our open house yesterday on advanced manufacturing and invited the community to come out and network, learn, and share.  Even though it was a busy week for technology events in Arizona, we had a great turnout on a surprisingly cloudy Wednesday evening.

October is Manufacturing month and this open house was part of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s coordinated events to highlight manufacturing in Arizona.   You can learn more about other events in the state here.

This event was a bit more casual and less structured then past PADT open houses, letting attendees spend more time one-on-one with various experts and dig deep in to technologies like metal 3D Printing, urethane casting, topological optimization, and scanning.

What struck all of us here was the keen interest in and knowledge about the various tools we were showing across a wide range of attendees.  From students with home built 3D Printers to managers from local aerospace companies that are on the forefront of Additive Manufacturing, the questions that were asks and comments that were made with insightful and show a transition of this technology from hype to real world application.

Below are some more quick snapshot taken during the event.

A big thanks to everyone who made it out and we hope to see more of you next time. If you have any questions about the application of advanced manufacturing technologies to your products, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884.  As always, visit www.PADTINC.com to learn more.

padt-mfg-openhouse-2015-2
PADT’s Dr. Dhruv Bhate explains the latest developments in metal Additive Manufacturing.

padt-mfg-openhouse-2015-3
PADT’s Director of Engineering, Rob Rowan, discusses how PADT Medical has helped companies turn their medical device ideas into products.
 

 

 

 

 

Ademola Falade, PADT's scanning expert, describes how blue light scanning has changed how we capture geometry of existing parts.
Ademola Falade, PADT’s scanning expert, describes how blue light scanning has changed how we capture geometry of existing parts.

PADT's Seminar Room was packed with people talking to PADT's expert engineering staff.
PADT’s Seminar Room was packed with people talking to PADT’s expert engineering staff.
 

 

PADT’s 3D Printing Demo room was the place to hang and discuss different ways to use 3D Printing.
  
 

Product Development for Startups – Presentation at The Startup Lifecycle Lunch & Learn

PADT-Startup-Prod-DevThis Thursday PADT was asked to help participate in a lunch and learn entitled “The Startup Lifecycle.” The event was a joint presentation of the Arizona Technology Council and the Maricopa Corporate College and it was held at CEI’s fantastic facilities.  Given our background, we were asked to talk about Product Development, and specifically on Minimum Viable Products and Lean Manufacturing Principles.

You can download my presentation here, or read on to learn more about the event.

lunchandlearn2There were four presenters.  Hart Schafer the Founder & CEO of TheraSpace and an experienced Adobe guy, among other things, kicked things off with a great discussion on customer validation and discovery.  He pointed out the common mistakes in thinking you know your customers and finding out you were wrong to late. Some great examples were given and he shared some practical ways to really find the Problem-Solution fit.

Next was yours truly, talking about those uncomfortable bits in the middle, where you need to actually design your product, then make it.  I covered the concept of a Minimum Viable Product and how to use product development to come up with one. We also touched on how lean product development can be applied in a startup environment.

Then I dived into lean manufacturing, which is a topic worthy of several Lunch and Learns on its own.  The bottom line was that Startups can effectively apply lean manufacturing to get a better product to market faster, and on budget.  I included some examples and advice on how to implement it.

As mentioned above, you can download my presentation here.

This is a picture of me gesturing widely as I explained how a simple cake doughnut is a Minimum Viable Product and one with frosting and sprinkles was not.  All the time hearing Homer Simpson saying “doooonuts” in my head. presenting2

 

NExt up was Nate Curran, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CEI.  He went in to how to commercialize a product.  Another huge topic, but he boiled it down to some basics on commercialization, marketing, and sales.  The last speaker was Russ Yelton, the CEO of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, a successful startup that was a client at CEI. After we talked about what you should do, he shared the real world and how to scale and grow. The big takeaway from his talk for me was the importance of people and culture when you scale and grow.

After a great Q&A session, we posed for a picture:

lunchandlearn-presenters

As always with events at CEI, the venue was great. And, also as always with AZ Tech Council events, the audience was smart, engaged, and full of their own ideas worth sharing.  Yet another indication of the growing and improving startup ecosystem in Arizona.