Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness Competition Seeks Next Unicorn Company, Now Accepting Entries for March, 2016 Event

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Bracket-style match-up event offers $100,000 total cash prize to startup winners, applications open October 1, 2015

Venture Madness 2016
We want to give great ideas the boost they need to succeed. We’re looking for founding teams who already have a great idea and are demonstrating some significant early traction.

Invest Southwest announced today that entries are now open for the 2016 Venture Madness competition. In partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Invest Southwest will select 64 early-stage companies to compete in the bracket-style, head-to-head competition for a chance at the $100,000 shared prize. The match-up highlights innovation in the Southwest with a prize that is double the value of last year’s contest. The annual three-day event brings more than 250 attendees to Arizona including top tier investors and innovative companies both on a local and regional level.

“Venture Madness is where participating startups really have to show off their innovations and ability to execute,” said Mario Martinez II, Invest Southwest’s chairman. “This is where we – along with other investors and Arizona's startup community – look to see who’s the next big thing. Venture Madness is a competitive, difficult and grueling process for these companies to go through. The ones that make it to the end? Those are companies you know are going to be significant. It’s a fun time, but it’s serious business too.”

The competition is an Arizona based event open to any rapid-growth company located in the Southwest region of the US that demonstrates unique value and early market traction. The call for entries will be live from Oct. 1, 2015 through 3pm MST Dec. 17, 2015. The competition begins with a “March Madness” bracket-style competition that features quick pitches from startups looking to attract investor interest and expert guidance. An expert selection panel consisting of investors, seasoned executives and local business leaders will select 16 competitors to advance to an in-person, three-day live pitch event to compete for a portion of the $100,000 cash prize.

“Doubling the prize money this year sets the stage for Venture Madness to fuel even more growth for companies on the rise,” said Martinez. “We want to give great ideas the boost they need to succeed. We’re looking for founding teams who already have a great idea and are demonstrating some significant early traction. They need to be willing to really showcase their company for the chance to receive this much-deserved prize and recognition in the community. Better yet, they’ll build relationships with mentors and investors that will help advance their journey for years to come.”

The 2015 winner of Venture Madness was the financial-aid software startup CampusLogic, Inc., who won the grand prize of $30,000 after competing in the four-week tournament. Runner-up and people’s choice awards went to EndoVantage and Picmonic.

"Winning Venture Madness was a great vote of confidence for our business,” said Gregg Scoresby, CEO of CampusLogic. “We were fortunate to come out on top against so many amazing AZ companies. It's been a great catalyst for growth. We've more than doubled since winning the competition."

The applications deadline is December 17, 2015 and the first bracket of 64 will be announced in early January, 2016. Companies that apply between October 1 and November 15, 2015 will get two complimentary tickets to the March, 2016 live event, and an exclusive meeting with top-tier investors.

To download the application or for more information visit

About Invest Southwest
Invest Southwest is the premier organization for connecting investors with the best and brightest ventures in the region. In addition to providing valuable information on topics important to the investment community, Invest Southwest offers year-round opportunities for investors to connect with emerging growth companies. Its signature event, Venture Madness, is a unique competition presented in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. Venture Madness pits 64 thoroughly evaluated emerging companies against one another in a bracket-style, head-to-head competition to crown the champion of champions. Visit for more information.

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Karen Katzorke
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