Announcing The JamPad’s Founding Group
The Starting Lineup of Founders & Builders in AZ’s Hottest Startup Group, The JamPad
Crazy to say, but 3 months has already passed since The JamPad was founded and had it’s first official assembly. In the first 3 gatherings, we’ve taken over places like The Henry, Dough Bird, and Culdesac. We’ve talked in depth about a plethora of topics; the state of the Phoenix startup scene, and more specifically Tempe, AZ’s startup scene, JamPad’s role in building the new & future ecosystem and solutions it can start bringing to the table, the heavy lifting required to get startups off the ground, the funding paradox of startups and AZ’s lack of seed capital, and much more.
As the founder of The JamPad, I’m incredibly proud of who we have as a base in the group. These are the first set of trailblazers, pirates, rebels, and doers that will play a pivotal role in turning Arizona into a legitimate startup hub on a national scale, with Tempe being the stomping grounds. You’ll notice how divergent the set of startups are below (from robotics, marketplace dynamics at scale, and edtech, to social finance, health-tech, the future of VC, and consumer software). This has shown me that there are truly real builders that “get it”, building real things here in Tempe, AZ, that could one day very well go on and become large, enduring organizations. So without further delay, let’s get into these builders, one by one. (note: this is in no particular order)
I. Collin Taylor, Co-Founder at Revolute Robotics
Collin, a proud Arizonan, has been building since youth. He started his first company as a sophomore in high school. Today, he’s the CEO and cofounder of Revolute Robotics, a startup building hybrid ground & aerial robots for inspection, scouting, and surveillance. The company is currently in the demo stage and is focused on continuing to raise grant funding from the National Science Foundation, DoD, and DoE.
II. Ken Mooso, Co-Founder & CEO at PersonaFi
Ken Mooso has over 12 years experience working in the financial industry. He spent his last 5 years working in wealth management at Merrill Lynch. He loves to trade stocks, crypto and talk anything finance related. At the time of this writing, PersonaFi has 5,000 users on their app, $130,000 in ARR, and a user-base / following of over 27,000 traders, and rapidly growing.
III. Mat Sherman, Founder at Seedscout
Seedscout is a platform to help outsiders raise venture capital like insiders. They offer a platform to keep prospective investors in the loop on progress, a free founder community, and an accelerator for founders ready to take the next step in their journey and connects them with resources that are key for all founders like grant capital, core service providers, and access to the entire seedscout network.
IV. Joshua CH. Hsu, Co-Founder & CEO at Introhm
Josh & Introhm are building Squarespace for trainers. An all-in one platform, in which the core technology (using machine learning) allows trainers to monitor their clients’ movements and adjust them on the fly for better results.
V. Michael Houston, CEO at ElevateU
Michael and ElevateU have been keeping things fairly quiet for the past few months in preparation for the crazy EdTech sales cycle that starts in January, adjacent with their current fundraising round.
The numbers just came in from the past semester, and when put up against the behemoth publisher’s best selling textbook in the United States, nearly 80% of students chose ElevateU’s V1 product.
Technology is changing rapidly, so it’s about time the way we learn changes too. Needless to say V2 will show the world, even more so, why it’s time for textbooks to go.
VI. Tim Strother, Co-Founder at Call Your Friends
Tim is dramatically improving the quality of friendships and relationships at Call Your Friends. They believe deeply that staying in touch with friends & family might be the most important thing we all do on a daily basis. They’ve developed a system that seamlessly fits into people’s daily lives to keep them connected with those they love and care about. The company was recently featured in Fast Company and was voted number 2 on Product Hunt. Tim is also a designer, highly talented engineer, philosopher, and lover of people and life.
VII. Benny Guadarrama, Sales Dev at Seedscout
An Arizona native, Benny’s soon to graduate from ASU at the end of the year, majoring in Technological Entrepreneurship and Management (TEM). He’s the founder and host of the Founders Party Podcast, talking with early-stage founders who have the vision to solve problems and disrupt their industry. He’s also helping build the future of venture capital at Seedscout. Benny is an avid learner around categories such as web3, personal finance, and community.
VIII. Adam Laor, Co-Founder & Partner at Sinatra
While Sinatra is still currently flying under the radar, we’re building a platform for Retail & Hospitality (suite of software and hardware for front & back of house operations) for the next generation of the web (3). We’ve launched public beta’s with an international franchisee, as well as one of the largest beverage distributors in the USA. Our team currently stands at 9, & will be doubling that over the next year. I’m also a member of 1517, a group spun out of the Thiel Fellowship.
So, What’s Next? Can Anyone Join The JamPad?
No. JamPad is invite only. We have to keep the group exclusive to legit builders and founders, so the network we create can be of incredibly high potency, thus allowing rich dividends for the Tempe startup scene (PHX techies will have to eventually migrate to Tempe, trust me…). A great way to think about why this is, is the following; say a JamPad founder raises a large round of funding for millions of dollars. They now have to hire dozens of engineers, PM’s, designers, etc, of whom are also getting equity. Thus, as the company gets more mature (larger rounds of funding, revenue increasing, etc) all the way up to a major liquidation event (M&A / IPO), that sets up multiple dividends for AZ & Tempe specifically:
The founders & employees become extremely wealthy & in a position to reinvest back into the AZ ecosystem (legit angel syndicates, seed funds, etc).
The VC’s who invested in said startup are now much more confidant in the signaling Tempe gives off when a new founder in or outside of the network comes to them to raise capital.
There’s now a flagship startup in Tempe! When did that happen last, even in AZ as a whole? (think the size and scale of AirBnB or DropBox). The correct answer, BTW, would be never.
ASU is a hotbed for strong tech talent. Those engineers are now highly encouraged to stay in Tempe and work for those flagship startups, rather than either flock to the Bay or default to Amazon or Microsoft.
ASU students & engineers are now setup to really be plugged into the startup ecosystem, so I’d bet even more companies get started, and we find more incredible founders buried in that student body than ever.
From the outside looking in, AZ (Tempe specifically) is starting to look like a legitimate hub for tech startups, changing the game in a very big way.
So, with that potential on the table and in mind, please take note of the following:
No disrespect, but if you’re in anything not tech-startup related, please don’t reach out; you doing so benefits nobody (not you, not us, and not the ecosystem).
How Do I Reach Out and Get an Invite to JamPad 4 and Beyond?
I can speak for the group when I say this; our DM’s are open to AZ’s best tech startup founders looking to jam, get into a legitimate network with bridges in Silicon Valley and other major hubs & get around people going to the next level alongside them. Hit us up on Twitter (except me, AL) and LinkedIn. I’ve stated in a previous JamBlog, that you can also find most of us frequently in the Arcadia neighborhood (LGO, The Henry) or downtown Tempe (Marina Heights, Culdesac, Mill Ave) for early AM / late PM mtg’s. Or, go to our landing page, drop in a few pieces of info, and we’ll decide if we’ll reach out via LinkedIn. We’re incredibly approachable and want to find more founders & builders to help “get it” faster, so they can save themselves and their companies loads of pain and find themselves winning with greater haste.
Well, that’s easy; if you’re a tech startup founder in the greater PHX area (Tempe, Arcadia, etc), and you think you’re good enough to join The JamPad, come find us through the channels mentioned above.
If you’re not someone that belongs in the group or don’t think you’re ready, to both audiences, we say keep building, keep scratching and clawing, and get 1% closer everyday.
If you’re reading this and about to apply, I & the group truly look forward to meeting you. On that note, Airborne, JamPad!