Seven Arizona-based software companies and six bio and life sciences startups have been named among the 25 semifinalists in the spring 2017 round of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Arizona Innovation Challenge.
The bi-annual business plan competition for promising early-stage companies in high-growth industries will award $1.5 million this round to the most qualified, innovative startups.
Winners receive up to $250,000 each to grow their business to advance innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in the state.
“Arizona has become a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship – and programs like this help foster and retain talent right here in Arizona,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Congratulations and best of luck to the semifinalists. I can’t wait to see their final pitches, and watch them grow in Arizona.”
Almost 150 applications were received for this spring round from companies across the state and one from California looking to relocate to Arizona.
Judges assessed each company application based on a set of criteria that looked at technology potential, marketing strategy, quality of management team and economic impact.
The 25 semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order, including industry and base city):
- Attribytes Inc., IT - Software, Chandler
- BMSeed, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- ClickIPO, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- Codelucida, IT - Hardware, Tucson
- CuraNexus, IT - Software, Phoenix
- Cut Carbon, Advanced Manufacturing, San Diego, California
- Dataware Ventures LLC, IT - Software, Tucson
- Digital Bioanalytics Inc., Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- Electric Torque Machines Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Flagstaff
- EpiSys Science Inc., Aerospace/Defense, Tucson
- Hourbands Corp., Bio & Life Sciences, Tempe
- Hydronalix, Aerospace/Defense, Green Valley
- MWI Laboratories LLC, Aerospace/Defense, Tempe
- Naya Energy, Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Phoenix
- Paradigm Diagnostics, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- PerioEndoscopy LLC, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
- Photocentric Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Phoenix
- Prospectify Inc., IT - Software, Tempe
- Recruiting.ai, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- Resonea Inc, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
- SalesTalk Technologies LLC, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- The TouchPoint Solution, IT - Hardware, Scottsdale
- Titan Industries, Advanced Manufacturing, Tempe
- VB Cosmetics Inc., Advanced Materials, Chandler
- Zero Mass Water Inc., Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Scottsdale
Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.
TechDigg - Touchpoint Invents Two Little Squares That Reduce Stress and Help You Focus
For thosethat whosuffer with anxiety, nervousness, or even have trouble sleeping due to night terrors, there hasn’t really been a resource or aid to help with these conditions. We’ve tried medications, counseling, and other avenues, but nothing really worked. Now, however, a new system fromThe TouchPoint Solutions™seems to be the type of gadgets we’ve all been waiting for.
According to the company’s website, “TouchPoints™ are a non-iInvasive, wearable device that uses patent pending neuroscience to relieve stress in as little as 30 seconds.”
The wearable gives us a way to relieve stress and allow better focus during times in which we feel anxious. It’s super discreet and can either be worn on your wrist or placed in your pocket, as it works the same either way. The company stands by their statement that by using the devicefor as little asjust5 minutes a day, you can increase your overall performance and focus.
How does it work?
TouchPoints™ original is very easy to set up, which makes it ideal for users of all ages and technological savviness. The wearable itself just straps onto your wrist with ease, so it’s very simple to begin using.TouchPoints can also be worn in pockets, socks, or tank top straps. The wearables correspond with a smartphone app that allows the user to take advantage of multiple types of settings.
Through the app, you can choose one of six preset options that each have a particular center of attention: sleep, focus, craving, calm, performance, and anger. If none of these meet your individual needs, you can also set custom levels for frequency, intensity and overlap.
When you feel stressed or anxious, just simply turn the TouchPoints™ on and the you will feel a gentle bilateral vibration. press the button on either device and the signal is sent. “TouchPoints™ use BLAST technology transferring alternating vibrations to alter the body’s Fight, Flight or Freeze (F3) response to stress and anxiety and to restore homeostatic nervous system functioning, allowing you to think clearly and experience calm,”says the company.
Thecompany TouchPoint Solution™ has also begun manufacturing another generation of the device,TouchPoints™ basic. Thebasicversion still gets the job done by sending signals to help you stay calm and focused, but without having to use an app. The idea behind this version was to give those without constant access to a smartphone the same opportunity to use the gadget in the exact same way someone would be able to take advantage of the original version.
You can also choose from a range of colors for yourTouchPoints™ basicwearable – Fuschia Pink, Marine Green, Cornflower Blue, or Graphite Gray – whereas the TouchPoints™ originalcomes in Black only.
Who came up with TouchPoints™ and why?
I had the opportunity to speak with the co-founders of TouchPoints™, Dr. Amy Serin and Vicki Mayo to understand more about where the idea came from, how it came to fruition, and more. These two very inspiring ladies were more than happy to answer anyquestions I had.
What prompted you to develop such a product?
Serin: “I was aneuro psychologist for a decade and saw many patients without access to the things they needed. It was not fair to confine a device like this todoctors’ offices when we could allow open access for all. Stress is the culprit of our everyday lives and TouchPoints™ helps handle it.”
Mayo: “My daughter suffered from night terrors and after using TouchPoints™, she was able to sleep through the night and wake up without feeling cranky or tired. I told Dr. Serin about it and we began thinking of ways to get this type of device out to others who need it.”
Who is your target consumer and why?
Mayo: “Everyone. Anyone who suffers from stress, lack of focus, or anxiety.”
What kind of feedback have you received from consumers so far?
Serin: “Executives and professionals use to TouchPoints™ to improve performance, enable better sleep, and to calm down from anger and irritation in certain work situations. Moms use them for themselves and their children. They even share with friends who need it. Anesthesiologists, EMTs and other medical professionals also use the device on patients to help them overcome anxiety and stress.”
What do you say to those who are skeptical?
Serin: “First, I say ‘Thank you.’ I then urge them to read the research behind TouchPoints™.This isn’t newtechnology; it’s been used for decades. If you have a solid base of scientific data and proven use, then you have something good – and we know that. The device is non-invasive and if they just try it out they will see a difference in hope they feel and cope with stress.”
During research trials for TouchPoints™,71% of people saw a reduction in stress within the first 30 seconds.
Do you plan to further develop TouchPoints™?
Mayo: “TouchPoints™ originalwill see a few upgrades and wewilldevelop it further.In addition to the existing presettings for sleep, calm, optimizing performance, users will see a new analytics dashboard for easier navigation on the app.We are also working on a less expensive version that doesn’t need an app to work. On June 5, the TouchPoint™ basicIndiegogo campaign will launch.”
You can check out the Indiegogo campaign for TouchPoints™ basic here.
What’s next forThe TouchPoint Solution™?
Serin and Mayo have not just developed devices that can help us through everyday stressful situations, but they also work hard behind-the-scenes to create a more inclusive world around them.
Their company has set up a scholarship fund to help those who cannot afford access to TouchPoints™ be able to receive them and to tell their own stories of how the device is able to change their lives. To apply visit the website at ilovetouchpoints.com and fill out the simple application.
The company also helps people with disabilities be able to work by hiring them ontoThe TouchPoint Solution™ staff. For instance, every one of the TouchPoint™packages are filled and shipped by people who are legally blind. The ladies claim this is just one way the company tries to implement more ‘conscious capitalism.’
Here at TechDigg, we are inspired by more than just this really awesome gadget. The story of how TouchPoints™ came to be, the masterminds behind the project, and the upcoming devices and features that will help so many more people gain access to this gadget are all part of this great big world of innovation and passion. We are excited to see how TouchPoints™ grow and touch those who have been waiting so long for a device like this. You can check out the TouchPoints™ story and more for yourselfhere.
You can also support this awesome device on their IndieGOGO page here
AZ Central - Scottsdale entrepreneurs place stress relief in the palm of your hand
It all started with two phone calls between friends in 2015. The first was out of desperation and helplessness. The second arose from gratitude and joy.
Vicki Mayo’s daughter was experiencing vivid night terrors from which Mayo could not wake her. And Mayo needed help.
“For parents, this is one of the most terrifying things ever. Your child is screaming, thrashing … and you can’t wake them up,” Mayo said.
She called her friend Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist and founder of the Serin Center in Peoria, and asked her for advice. This was call No. 1.
Serin had harnessed a certain technology into a handheld device but wasn’t sure how it could be used. She was researching the impact of stress on children and was working to provide a solution. This device was the result of her work at that time. Serin suggested Mayo give it to her daughter during an episode.
Mayo did. It worked. Her daughter was able to calm down and go back to sleep. The next morning, she was in a great mood — which, Mayo said, never happened after a rough night.
The happy second call came from Mayo the next day.
“I called Amy and said, ‘What was that voodoo magic you gave me and what are you doing about it?’ ” recalled Mayo, a career entrepreneur.
'This is something everyone needs'
Together, they came up with a response to that question and formed the Touchpoint Solution, a company that produces an advanced version of the original device called Touch Points — a pair of lightweight squares that can be worn, held or clipped onto clothing. They send vibrations that the company says disengage the body’s instinctive "fight or flight" response to stress. They operate using bilateral stimulation, which means they must be worn on both sides of the body — the arms, socks, pockets, bra straps, etc. — to allow the vibrations to travel across the body, Mayo explained.
Mayo and Serin hired an engineer and worked on the product before introducing it into the market in 2016. The $240 price tag includes a set of Touch Points and the app that makes them work.
More than 5,000 Touch Points have been sold as of March, generating more than $750,000 in sales, Mayo said. They are sold through the website to customers in the U.S, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. They sell out quickly; in fact, the company went through a six-week dry spell during which it had several thousand requests on the wait list, Mayo said.
“It’s been a whirlwind because this is something everyone needs,” she said.
Mayo may be right. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73 percent report experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress. Forty-eight percent say they lie awake at night due to stress.
Company feedback indicates that 71 percent of Touch Points users report a stress reduction after using them for 30 seconds, Mayo said. Medical research shows similar results. Mayo and Serin have run tests on users experiencing stress and used a brain scan, quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), to measure the impact of Touch Points. The scan shows a 90 percent reduction in beta waves after 30 seconds, according to company data.
These results indicate it’s not a gimmick or placebo effect, Mayo explains.
“It’s not just a product. It’s a fundamental change in how we treat stress. It’s so life-changing,” she said.
Clients include people with sleep difficulties, first responders, people with stressful occupations and executives. Some are companies that use them in their general wellness plans. School districts have also purchased them. A call-center company reported that its agents’ ratings increased after using them, Mayo said.
Clients have found non-professional benefits, too. Mayo mentioned moms who use them while having morning coffee to get centered, give them to screaming kids in the car on the way to or from school and even hand them to husbands to diffuse potential arguments.
“This is the culture of instant everything. Most don’t have the time to do yoga, meditate and be mindful. They need instant stress relief,” Mayo said.
Making an impact
As a vice president of an international technology company who’s always on the go, Joe DePalo rarely has the time to hit a yoga studio or do deep breathing in a quiet space for an hour when he’s in a tense situation or preparing for big meeting.
When yoga and meditation apps failed to help, someone told DePalo about Touch Points.
“Medications have side effects. I was looking for non-medicine, non-traditional solutions to manage the stress and anxiety that comes from life,” said DePalo, who recently relocated from Phoenix to Seattle.
He admitted he was skeptical at first. But after giving Touch Points a try, DePalo was convinced. He said it allows him to concentrate on a single thought and also break off an obsessive one, similar to when a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop it from playing. They have helped him improve focus, and he uses them to write presentations and puts them in his pockets before and during crucial meetings.
“I use it as a reinforcement in how I manage the day-to-day business and my job,” he said.
DePalo’s son uses them before baseball games, and his daughter held them for a few minutes to clear her mind before taking the SAT, he said. The whole family has experienced benefits, and so has DePalo in more than just his professional life.
“I use it at home. It’s helpful in setting a clear work-life balance. It’s my way of decompressing and eliminates the need for a drink or a walk,” he said. “It allows you to be in the moment with your family, kids and spouse.”
This technology is not new. Mayo explained that PTSD victims have been receiving similar therapies for decades. But that treatment has come with a $200- to $300-per-hour price tag that involves a trip to a therapist’s office.
“You don’t have to take time out of your day to do yoga, and you don’t have to take medications with side effects. You can do this and can keep talking to a friend or cooking dinner,” she said.
Touch Points are manufactured in the United States, with the majority done in Tempe. All packaging and shipping are done by blind employees. For each set of Touch Points that’s sold, Mayo and Serin donate a set to someone in need as part of their A Touch of Hope Scholarship program.
“We weren’t interested in making millions of dollars. I believe it is our greatest obligation to humanity to help others,” Mayo said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about how we can make an impact on society.”
The Touchpoint Solution
Interesting stat: Annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work totals $300 billion, according to the American Institute of Stress.
Details: 877-778-6824, thetouchpointsolution.com.
In Case You Missed it
It's been a busy month for the TouchPoint Solution! Our team has been hard at work preparing for the launch of TouchPoints basic in June, and people have taken notice. The Arizona Republic got exclusive insight into the neuroscience behind TouchPoints, and our co-founders sat down with Chrissy May from Spotlight on Arizona to talk about the TouchPoint Solution's founding. We also shared some exciting news about changes we're making to better serve you, our users. Read on to catch up with all of the growth we've made this month!
Georgeann Yara | The Arizona Republic
May 24, 2017
"According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73 percent report experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress. Forty-eight percent say they lie awake at night due to stress.
Company feedback indicates that 71 percent of Touch Points users report a stress reduction after using them for 30 seconds, Mayo said. Medical research shows similar results. Mayo and Serin have run tests on users experiencing stress and used a brain scan, quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), to measure the impact of Touch Points. The scan shows a 90 percent reduction in beta waves after 30 seconds, according to company data."
Hayley Ringle | Phoenix Business Journal
May 17, 2017