Tech gets its launch at the University of Arizona

First Friday Pitch Day, an event by Tech Launch Arizona, is an event that allows people to pitch invention ideas in front of business experts. Via Tech Launch Arizona.
First Friday Pitch Day, an event by Tech Launch Arizona, is an event that allows people to pitch invention ideas in front of business experts. Photo courtesy of Tech Launch Arizona.

SinfoniaRX is a nationwide firm that manages medication records and one of the biggest success stories of the Tech Launch Arizona, an initiative by the University of Arizona to brings entrepreneurs’ ideas from concept to store shelves.

The UA created Tech Launch Arizona in 2012 to help businesses from around the state and region bring their ideas to the marketplace. The program teams up UA faculty, researchers and local business experts to help test products and services before they go on the market. If a product from the program is licensed and marketed, the UA gets a slice of the royalties.

The software and business model behind SinafoniaRX were developed by the UA’s College of Pharmacy, whose representatives took advantage of the UA’s Tech Launch to pitch their idea and take their product to the market — an opportunity available to businesses around the country.

Tech Launch hosts First Friday Pitch Day every month in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts. Consider it an “open mic” for businessmen.

“It’s approachable, easy and comfortable for people to present their ideas,” said Dominique Villela, the Tech Launch’s ambassador director. “Tech Launch and First Friday Pitch Day allow you to take your idea to the next level.”

Among the business ventures that have sprung up from Tech Launch is Colorado-based Telecost Biopharmaceutical, which produces a peptide that helps humans produce photo-protective melanin to help prevent skin cancer. The company has since announced it will relocate its headquarters to Tucson, according to Tech Launch Arizona.

Tech Launch, funded through the UA, helped create 11 startups in the past year, according to its website. It also helped 72 products get licensed, and was behind 167 patent applications and 188 invention disclosures used to determine whether patent protection is needed, the organization’s website reported.

Tech Launch continues to add new industries including Darling Geomatics, which produces three-dimensional images of infrastructures and has been featured on the Discovery Channel.

Tech Launch’s Villela said Tucson has more opportunities for business ideas to grow than major cities because there is less competition here. Tucson and Arizona also has a more supportive business climate, he said.

First Friday Pitch Day happens the first Friday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tech Launch Arizona University Services Annex Building 220 W. 6th St.  The next one is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Claudia Eastwood is a reporter with Arizona Sonora News, a service from the University of Arizona. Contact her at

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