There are many reasons Arizona is considered to be the start-up capital of the Southwest. One of them includes our growing ecosystem of investors who are willing to make bold investments in our most promising early stage companies.


In case you missed it, two of these investors made surprise, $100,000 contributions in the final days of Venture Madness 2016, boosting the prize money to $300,000 in the start-up business competition.


But that’s not all. What some people don’t know is that these investors, Mario Martinez of Mrtnz Ventures and Connor Tryhus of Grayhawk Holdings, have committed the same amount for 2017, as well. That’s a huge jump from where the competition was three years ago, and it speaks to its growing influence and sustainability as a leading start-up competition in the Southwest.


“We’re not interested in striking out. We’re interested in co-investing alongside Mario (Martinez) to help continue to build momentum around this event, Venture Madness, and for the sector within the state of Arizona at large,” Tryhus told the Phoenix Business Journal’s Hayley Ringle.


Venture Madness, presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, pits 64 of the most promising start-ups in a head-to-head, bracket-style competition. You can read more about the winners and the surprise investments in this Phoenix Business Journal story.