Inside the AZ Tech Innovation Summit: industry updates, bill signings, Mark Cuban and more

Technology. Innovation. Investment.

All are important parts of any business ecosystem, which is why invisionAZ was created. The organization’s goal is to promote and create a framework that allows technology, innovation and investment to flourish while supporting Arizona startups and entrepreneurs.

At the third annual Arizona Tech Innovation Summit yesterday, invisionAZ brought together tech leaders to celebrate the industry’s progress and discuss ways to launch it further into the future.

The event featured high profile leaders including Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Representative Greg Stanton (CD-9), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Lucid Motors Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson, and Shark Tank host Mark Cuban.

“All of you are here today to foster relationships and build bridges that will grow Arizona innovation,” Sinema said, kicking off the summit. “I’m excited to keep working with all of you and doing my part to foster a new, vibrant tech ecosystem in our state.”

Lucid Motors zooms into Arizona

Rep. Stanton sat down with Rawlinson to ask him questions about Lucid Motors’s 2016 announcement that the company planned to open a facility and factory in Casa Grande, Arizona.

After years of delay, Lucid — an automaker that creates “state-of-the-art” electric vehicles — announced it would be moving forward on its Arizona facility after receiving funding from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia last year.

“We’re thrilled to be back. There’s been a little bit of a delay, but we’re back and it’s game on again,” Rawlinson said.  “We received over a billion dollars in the fall of last year. A large part of that investment is heading towards Arizona to create a state-of-the-art facility and factory to build the Lucid Air in Casa Grande.”

According to Rawlinson, Arizona was a prime location because of the state’s business-friendly environment and geographical location.

“We looked at 13 different states, we looked at about 65 different locations and there were compelling reasons to choose Arizona,” Rawlinson said. “A large part of that was the superb support that we’ve enjoyed both from the public and private sector here in the state. We had a warm welcome, we see the state is super business-friendly. It’s also relatively close to, geographically, our base in Silicon Valley in California. We’ve [also] had great support from across the border… There’s a very rich vein of supply chain available and it’s just 400 miles south of here.”

Rawlinson also said that the key to creating a world-class product is having access to a world-class workforce.

“I’m very confident that we have that right here on our doorstep with all the support from the local colleges and make no mistake: these are high-tech, high-quality jobs in a world-class manufacturing environment,” he said.

House Bill 2673 becomes law 

Ducey signed H.B. 2673, a bill that establishes a Property Tech (PropTech) Sandbox in Arizona, into law at the summit.

“PropTech is becoming a big business,” Ducey said. “With the passage of this forward-looking legislation, we are once again sending a message to the nation’s and to the world’s innovators: if you’re looking to lead the world in technology and innovation then Arizona is the place for you.”

PropTech is a growing industry that refers to real estate businesses that use technology to disrupt and improve the buying, renting, selling, design, construction, and managing of residential and commercial properties.

According to Ducey, “PropTech is changing the way that we rent, buy, sell, develop and manage residential and commercial property.”

Being a leading in the PropTech industry comes only a year after Ducey signed a bill creating Arizona’s Financial Technology (FinTech) Sandbox at the second annual summit.

“[We] will be the state that leads in this category. It will be the friendliest state in the nation in which to grow and scale a business,” Ducey said. “Let’s continue investing in the state of Arizona. Let’s look where we are today verse where we were four years ago. Imagine where we can be next year, and four years from now.”

A Shark in the Desert

Mark Cuban, host of Shark Tank and well-known entrepreneur, was the 2019 keynote speaker. During a fireside chat with Thiel Capital managing director Jack Selby, Cuban shared stories from his past and gave entrepreneurs tips for creating their own business.

According to Cuban, he has been an entrepreneur his whole life.

“I was that kid in the neighborhood that was always trying to sell you something,” he said. “After I graduated from college, I was like, ‘What can I do? I want to start my own business. I don’t want to get a regular job.’”

His first business venture was selling powdered milk. Cuban said that the powdered milk tasted bad but “people don’t need good tasting milk if they save a lot of money.”

The business failed after two weeks, but Cuban said failure is needed in entrepreneurship.

“You learn from your failures,” Cuban said. “I always tell people, doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you just have to be right one time then everyone calls you an overnight success.”

Cuban also addressed the issue of there being too much content available to the public.

“There’s never too much content,” Cuban said. “The challenge of content isn’t can you make it? Or is there too much? The challenge of content is can you tell a good story? Now storytelling has evolved.”

The most important part of success is effort, Cuban said.

“Ninety-nice percent of the time the difference between being successful and not being successful [is effort],” Cuban said. “The one thing in life each and every person in this room can control from now to evermore is your effort.”

Emily Richardson

Graham Bosch

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