AZ Tech Podcast

Featuring CEOs, Founders, Investors and others who are shaping Arizona’s future in tech. Hosted by Hamid Shojaee.

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Episodes:

News RECAP – Week ending Oct. 22

This week, AirGarage, a startup founded in Tempe that's designed to improve the public parking experience, announced a $12.5 million raise led by Andreesen Horowitz. MediaKits, a startup that provides “digital resumes” for influencers, raised $1 million.  We also talk about the massive amount of investment capital in Arizona.  We also discuss the metaverse, the...

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Alexis Krisay & Melissa DiGianfilippo, Co-founders, Serendipit – Brands, BFFs and big ideas

Alexis Krisay and Melissa DiGianfilippo started their brand marketing agency as basically strangers, but after running a company together for 12 years, they've become BFFs. They've got a pretty good “marriage” (as they call it) because they complement each other well and never go to bed angry. They also co-host a podcast called “Will It...

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Saeed Eslami, Founder, VisualLive – Augmented reality, bootstrapping and starting from scratch

Saeed Eslami wanted to start fresh after he moved to the United States from Iran. He'd built a successful company in his home country, but he wanted to get an education and find a good job in America. He was willing to work hard and do what it takes. He wasn't afraid to get his...

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News RECAP – Week ending Oct. 8

This week was Invest Southwest's Venture Madness, where up to 25 startups pitch to an audience for the chance to win $10,000. Hamid was at the conference and on this week's news recap, he tells me all about this year's finalists and winners. We also talk about how big tech is taking over the world....

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Alexi Venneri, Co-founder & CEO, Digital Air Strike – Company culture, car dealerships and Richard Branson’s islands

When you ask Alexi Venneri about the challenges she's had while building Digital Air Strike, a multimillion dollar tech company, she answers using with an iteration of one of the quintessential interview answers: “Our challenges have become our strengths.” But the thing is, she really means it. Alexi loves her company and team, whom she...

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News RECAP – Week ending Oct. 1

This week in Arizona we saw a merger between two drone data collection companies. The first is Skynetwest, which was based here in Chandler, joined forces with Mississippi-based Soaring Eagle Imaging to create Soaring Eagle Technologies. Another bit of news was that Arizona Commerce Authority announced the National Semiconductor Economic Roadmap (NSER), which will bring...

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Matthew Pittinsky, CEO, Parchment – Education, college admissions and Atari

Before Matthew Pittinsky was CEO of the EdTech company Parchment, he was co-founder and CEO of Blackboard, Inc., a software used by universities across the country. If you went to college in the aughts, you likely used Blackboard to submit assignments and interact with your class and professor. Matthew has been passionate about education since...

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#26: Josh Snow, Snow Founder & CEO – Consumer products, SaaS and navigating success

Josh Snow (formerly Josh Elizetxe) didn't have much as a kid. He grew up in a dangerous part of Phoenix and could've easily joined a gang. Instead, he spent his afternoons in the Phoenix Public Library reading all the “For Dummies” books he could get his hands on. He taught himself to code and used...

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NEWS RECAP – Week ending Sept. 24

We’re trying something new for season 2! In addition to our weekly interviews, host Hamid Shojaee and producer Adrienne St. Clair will chat about both the local and national tech and startup news of the past week. It’s unscripted and unpredictable. 

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#25: City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego – Tech, Politics and the Future of Arizona

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego made the decision to run for mayor at a time when, she says, her life was falling apart. As it turns out, she won. Now, she’s the mayor of the country’s 5th largest city and also the youngest mayor of a major city. Kate got into politics to make a difference...

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BONUS: Hamid and Adrienne wrap up Season 1 of the AZ Tech Podcast

Hamid talks to AZ Tech Podcast producer Adrienne about their favorite parts of Season 1 and what can be expected this summer before the podcast returns with Season 2 later this year. 

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#23: Chris Ronzio, Founder, Trainual

One day, Chris Ronzio was running a highly-profitable consulting business. The next, he launched Trainual, one of the fastest growing companies in Arizona that streamlines businesses’ training processes.  Watching his mom start her own esthetician business and his dad work and travel often for his corporate job influenced Chris on his path to business. Living...

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#22: JT Marino, Co-founder, Tuft & Needle

Tuft & Needle co-founder JT Marino could be the poster child of how to bootstrap your way to success.  When he was first exploring ideas for the type of startup he wanted to build, he and his friend and co-founder Daehee Park made a very specific set of constraints that included never raising capital.  The...

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#21: Grant McFadden, Researcher, ASU Biodesign Institute

Dr. Grant McFadden is trying to find out if a virus fatal only to rabbits might also destroy cancer cells. He became interested in the myxoma virus in grad school. The virus was first released in Australia in the 1950s to try to control a massive rabbit population . Since then, Grant has turned his...

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#20: Greg Head, Founder & CEO, Scaling Point & Gregslist

Greg Head is one of the biggest champions of Arizona’s tech scene. Even though he’s now based out of Dallas, he runs Gregslist in Phoenix, one of the best resources for entrepreneurs, investors and founders in the valley. Not only that, but he has the experience of marketing major startups and helping them scale to...

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#19: Chris Cardinal, Co-founder, Synapse Studios & CarbonQA

Chris Cardinal has a lot to say, and he proved as much on our latest podcast episode. The co-founder of Synapse Studios and CarbonQA shared his philosophy on balancing big deadlines, while also building positive culture at new companies. He talked about how CEOs of the Big 5 companies, like Elon Musk or the late...

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#18: Ibrahim Mesbah, Co-founder & CEO, RevolutionParts

Ibrahim Mesbah is building the Amazon of buying and selling car parts. It’s a very specific market, but that’s what’s made his company RevolutionParts so successful. It addresses a major inefficiencies and unnecessary costs in the retail car parts market which, as it turns out, is pretty big.   Ibrahim talks to Hamid about growing...

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#17: Danny Jacobs, Researcher, ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration

Dr. Danny Jacobs is, in a way, a space explorer. As part of his research at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, he’s trying to understand how the universe began. Danny’s whole goal is to answer some of life’s biggest and most basic questions, like where did we come from and how did we...

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#16: Pat Sullivan, Founder & CEO, Defendry

Pat Sullivan has built several successful companies in his almost 40-year career as an entrepreneur. One of his biggest successes was ACT, the very first CRM software. With his newest venture Defendry, Pat is trying to literally save lives by using AI and drones to reduce the number of people killed in mass shootings. Even...

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#15: Clate Mask, Co-founder & CEO, Keap

Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, is one of Arizona’s most successful software companies, but the company’s had really high highs and really low lows. In this episode of AZ Tech Podcast, Keap co-founder Clate Mask shares the intimate and emotional roller coaster that comes with building a $100 million revenue SaaS company, including the three...

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