Political Bites: Local Public Transit

What, if anything, can cities do to lessen the impact of transit budget cuts on residents?

Most cities are facing their own budget issues and probably are not in much of position to shoulder the impact on behalf of their residents.  Public transportation is critical to having a vibrant city and stimulating economic development.  However, it is also something that carries a fair amount of subsidization.  As such, it will impact residents.  Raising taxes, rider fares and/or partnering with employers are all options.

Helping Find the Money To Make It

I read the Phoenix Business Journal every week as part of keeping up with business here in Metro Phoenix. I was floored when I read “Finding the money to make it“.  What was incredible to me were the connections back to Gangplank. Eleanor’s Garden is friends with StealthMode Partners who referred Eleanor’s Garden to Integrum.  Integrum brought Eleanor’s first e-commerce site online. Funding Universe did their last Crowd Pitch at Gangplank last month and is getting ready to do another Crowd Pitch at Gangplank this Friday. Funding Universe will be opening an office at Gangplank this month. It is absolutely awesome to see the community rising up in midst of a horrid economy to continue to see success! Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Chandler!

Five Arizona Companies That Got Some Funding

The other day I lamenting about “Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” and this week I noticed that the Phoenix Business Journal a list of entrepreneurs that found funding this year.

    1. $10M Sharp Equity – A resource for buying homes at trustee sales;  specializes in trustee sales, fix-and-flips, wholesale properties and rentals.
    2. $10M Flypaper Studios Inc. – Develops software applications to create, track, manage and share custom Flash projects.
    3. $11M iMemories Inc. – Transforms old home movies and pictures into digital media and gives their owners an online storage home for their digital mementos.
    4. $28M SDCMaterials Inc – Develops a nanomolecular compound that can help reduce emissions from diesel and gasoline, and another that provides composite material for armor.
    5. $43M Ubidyne Inc – Wireless radio company developing a digital system that uses a smaller footprint and less power than traditional mobile system.

      So that should break the myth.  It is possible to raise money in Arizona.  So quit complaining and start being awesome enough to raise some of your own. : )

      Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

      Last week at the Arizona Enterpreneurship Conference (AZEC), a panel from AZ TiE titled “Who Got Funded and Why?” talked for nearly an hour about the dynamics of starting up.  Steve Swedler, Chief Product Guy at Gangplank asked finally stood up and asked,  “Who Got Funded and Why?”.  The moderator  turned the question over to a panelist who gave a jumbled answer that barely addressed why, but completely dodged the who?

      Out of frustration I made a pretty knee jerk tweet and called this the same old bullshit investors in Phoenix hide behind.  As most of the groups haven’t funded anything in 12 months.  Later, Anil Jain one of the panelists let me know that they were not aware that was the topic and that was why they never covered it.  Fair enough.  It still would have been nice to hear which members of TiE had been funded or what the investors involved with TiE were funding.

      At Gangplank in the last 18 months we invested in Authority Labs, Simple Seating and Date Designer. Additionally, many of us have put significant resources into 5th DimensionIntegrum has invested significantly for minor equity positions in various local start ups, trading equity for serivces. Additionally, we have launched two products that have been released to others in the community (Glen Garry and Back Tracker).

      We currently have budgeted just over a $1 million to invest in the community over the next 5 years.  We have been working hard with others to make a home for Funding Universe and Sun Mountain Capital as well.  Between the two of them they could represent over $300 million in additional funding for the metro area. More information on this soon.

      So you can see why it is frustrating to hear Angel “groups” time and time again ride their high horse about why we (the lowly entrepreneur) should respect them.  When in reality the community is finding ways to fund itself.  Which in many ways is how it should be.  We believe in the community and we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.  We hope that these other groups will as well.  We wish we could be doing more.  Providing capital to entrepreneurs is exactly what this economy needs to rebound.

      Note:  The are companies receiving angel funding from individuals and there are some angel groups like ATIF that appear to be doing certain types of deals.