Startup Scene in Arizona Heats Up

by francine Hardaway on February 4, 2012

Arizona is full of cool startups, and I love to write about them all, in no particular order, and without judgment. These are not necessarily the “hot” ones, or the funded ones. They are the ones that start and grow in Arizona because of the excellence of  their concepts, their business models, or their founders.


For instance, I bet you have never heard about Unicorn Media. It has been operating in “stealth mode”  for a couple of years, seeded by its founder, Bill Rinehart, who used to be CEO of Limelight, another Arizona company that operated under the radar for years until it raised some money from Goldman Sachs and finally went public.Its offices are in Tempe, where having outgrown one space, it now splits its company offices into corporate and development.


Unicorn had been a content delivery network for independent artists, and then began delivering content to larger players. Today Unicorn unveiled a new and improved website  with a streamlined message that puts the focus on a new offering,  Unicorn Once, that will probably elevate the company to rock start status very quickly, because the ability to deliver content easily to mobile devices, whether Android, iPhone, or tablet, has become unbelievable important to advertisers in the past year. Mobile advertising is on a tear, and without getting too technical, I can tell you that one of the big problems with mobile is the formatting. Every Android phone is slightly different, they’re all different from iPhones and iPads, and who knows what mobile innovation is coming down the road. For an advertiser, the ability to upload video once to all those formats is a major time saver and revenue generator..


It took Bill a couple of pivots to get here, but now the company has the only patented product to deliver big gains to big media companies, and you will see elsewhere the news that Msnbc Digital Network selected  Unicorn Once™ technology to deliver, monetize and analyze mobile and OTT video content for all its  brands. Unicorn Once™ lets Msnbc Digital Network to easily reach devices such as iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Roku and countless others for, and


What else can Unicorn do? It can give detailed reporting in real time about user behavior on any channel, and can tell whether content is being viewed on the web or on a mobile device. That means video content can be adjusted in real time across any device or platform so you, the user, can view it optimally.


So from my vantage point, the Valley startup community looks textured. complex, and vibrant. As they say on the soon-to-be-public Facebook, it’s complicated. I’d be lying if I said we were Silicon Valley, but in the ten years we have been running entrepreneurship training, and the six years we have produced the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, I’ve unearthed plenty of talented teams building businesses every bit as interesting as those anywhere else in the country. It’s my intention to  shed some light on the world of Arizona startups.





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