Here Comes The JamPad: The Group Out to Make Arizona a Bonafide Tech Hub
A Note From The JamPad & Sinatra Founder, Adam Laor
A Bit of Background
I moved to Arizona about 1 year ago from NYC after graduating high school. I previously built one the best independet pharmacies in NYC, successfully launched an herbal supplement, and am now a member of 1517, a group spun out of the Thiel Fellowship.
I came to AZ with little knowledge about the happening metropolis that Arizona has become, but with large ambitions to build one of tomorrows enduring and largest tech companies on the planet.
As of Feb ’21, I’ve been building Sinatra, a rapidly growing startup in Tempe, AZ, building the platformOS for the hospitality industry, coupled with an unbelievably great team that’s growing with haste. However, in the process of getting Sinatra off the ground in the Phoenix Valley, I realized how deprived young builders and hackers are of a vibrtant, legitimate startup ecosystem. From investors and groups who just ‘don’t get it’, to the lack of seed and pre-seed capital available, or the small-minded thinking that exists in the AZ startup ecosystem. I could go on and on, but most of you get it, as we’ve all experienced it at some point as founders. So, just like you, I’ve had enough.
Starting Oct 8, this all changes with The JamPad. The haymakers will be thrown across Downtown Tempe, AZ, and in the heart of Arcadia, PHX. We’re assembling an incredible group of young hackers, builders, and doers, who want to put their own dent in the universe, and build a vibrant startup and tech ecosystem in Tempe, AZ. The group will meet once a month and Jam on all things tech, our startups, challenges we are facing, and much more.
Founders and investors. Engineers and designers. Dreamers. Members of the local press. We want people who can make The JamPad a movement; one that represents eternal youth, guts, persistence, founder support, the rebels, the misfits, and most of all, those who dare to be great.
History Behind the Name (The JamPad)
Where does one even come up with such a unique, quirky, odd name? You don’t. In fact, The JamPad is a revitalization of an unofficial, private group started back in 2010 by Uber Co-Founder Travis Kalanick at his house in San Fransisco. Thanks to those who launched startups in the group and the vast network effects that were created in spite of it, the aggregate market value of those startups today exceeds $100,000,000,000. Some figures that were part of the small network included Gary Vaynerchuk, Aaron Levie, and Ryan Graves. Notable companies from the original JamPad include Uber and Box. It was a place in which founders and makers in the startup community came and just let loose, jammed on ideas on all things startups & tech, ate fantastic food, and even crashed on other founders’ couches. Unfortunately, Travis stopped hosting events at his Pad not long after he begun doing so. However, effective today, we bring back the Jamming (tech, startups, building things, enrishing the AZ ecosystem through a communty of the best startup founders / builders), and the Pad(Tempe & Arcadia AZ). And this time, The JamPad is here to stay.
What Happens at The JamPad?
We are the Temple for Creative Capitalism in Tempe, Arcadia, and AZ’s surrounding cities. If you’re a founder, designer, engineer, hacker, or aspiring-founder, The JamPad (based in Tempe) is the group to join. Some things you’ll find us doing at The JamPad:
Rapping on ideas about things like product, growth strategies, tech trends, startup logistics / life, and more, with other founders, hackers, engineers, designers, investors, guest speakers, and the like.
Hackathons between some of the valley’s best engineers and designers for great prizes such as startup job opportunities, intros to investors, and more.
Live pitch competitions (me make things happen…)
Fresh, healthy meals at the best restaurants in the valley (The Henry, LGO, Buck N Rider, and more)
The JamPad has 2 core, macro things it wants to achieve;
(1) Make Tempe a legitimate tech hub in AZ.
(2) Be the go-to network for tech’s makers, builders, and doers in the state of Arizona.
How to Get Invited to The JamPad
So, how do I actually get invited to the recurring events? It’s actually simple, yet not completely: get in touch with me, or one of the other founding group members:
Tim at Call Your Friends (building the next layer for real connection, and one of the smartest technologists / product people I’ve met)
Mat at Seedscout (amazing founder previously backed by Jason Calacainis. Kickball ace)
Josh at Introhm (building squarespace for trainers using cutting edge tech. One of the most energetic & awesome founders, ever)
Michael at ElevateU (a fellow demolisher of the education system, he’s now rebuilding it the right way. Supreme hacker, BTW!)
Another option is to go here, or drop us a message on LinkedIn (or twitter in other cases like Mat & Josh) to jam with one of us. To reiterate, our aim is to actually build the first real, legitimate startup ecosystem in Arizona. With that being said, we want (and need) to make sure we’re assembling a group of the best founders, engineers, designer, and investors the state has to offer. Now, most may not like that approach, as it’s the antithesis of what other PHX startup groups have preached (IE, anyone can join). In our view, that’s not the right way to build the ecosystem. We need true builders who get it.
Founders building companies that will one day be flagship startups in the big blue buildings on Tempe Town Lake (not Statefarm…). Engineers that are willing to break barriers and think beyond what is normally possible when it comes to building software or hardware. Designers implementing game changing interfaces on unexplored platforms like mobile for frameworks like neo & glassmorphism.
Those of you that “get it” will see the purpose of what we’re building. Moreover, JamBlog, what you’re currently reading, will be a place for members of The JamPad to write about all things startups, tech, VC, product, engineering, design, growth, and much, much more.
Now, some of you might be wondering, why Tempe, though? Arcadia? Where even is that? We’ll cover that in a future article. Just know that the ingredientsto build a startup city are very present in Tempe & Arcadia.
So, it’s time a group takes all these ingredients that Tempe, Arcadia, and AZ as a whole have to offer, and make a world-renowned meal with them. There’s a ton of heavy lifting to be done in order to turn Arizona into a real tech hub that is nationally recognizaed. This is going to take 5–10 years, minimum. Anyhting great and big takes time, and those “big things” start small, right Jeff? Ambitious? Yup. But again, that’s what we’re here to do; back and enable those with guts and those who dare to dream big, and more importantly, execute.
That’s what The JamPad will do. If you think you’re a fit to be part of the movement, sign up here.
A message from Adam Laor, Sinatra & JamPad Founder