Catalyzing Connectivity in the AZ Tech Scene

Catalyzing Connectivity in the AZ Tech Scene

Written by Alex Koupal

Catalyzing Connectivity in the AZ Tech Scene

If you don’t know Eric Miller, you might want to introduce yourself at Venture Café Phoenix! Eric is one of the most influential persons in the Phoenix Startup Ecosystem, in particular, the Tech and Science fields.  Eric has been a long-time supporter of Venture Café as well as our parent organization Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI). Eric serves on our programming committee and has helped us build some inspiring nights of content. Eric truly embodies the Venture Café Credo and is always willing to as the question “how can I help?”.   We couldn’t put on these events without community members like Eric.   Read on to learn more about Eric Miler, his company PADT, Inc., and his experience at Venture Café Phoenix.


How did you hear about Venture Café Phoenix?

I’ve been long-time fan and supporter of CEI, so when they launched Venture Café, I was intrigued. Once I was able to attend one, I was hooked.


What does Venture Café Phoenix mean to you?

On the surface it is a way to share information with the startup community. But under that surface, it is a community in and of itself and has grown to become an important catalyst for connecting and collaborating. It has also become my go-to way to introduce people new to the Phoenix startup community to the greater community.


Have you had any memorable connections at Venture Café Phoenix?

When have I not made a memorable connection? The most memorable have been the female and minority founders that I’ve met and gotten to know through Venture Café Phoenix.


What is the primary business function of PADT?

PADT  is the southwest’s leading provider of products and services to companies that design and build physical products. We have been around for 28 years and are just under 100 employees strong.  We Make Innovation Work.


What other organizations do you represent while you are at Venture Café Phoenix?  

I also represent four other entities when I go to Venture Café:

  1. Member of the Arizona Tech Investors. ATI is the state’s largest Angel investment group and regularly invests in early-stage tech companies based in Arizona.
  2. Entrepreneur in Residence at Venture Ready. Venture Ready is the state’s largest and most successful tech startup accelerator program and is run by the Arizona Commerce Authority.
  3. Board Chair, Arizona Technology Council. AZTC is a 700-person trade organization that represents the technology community, from startups to some of the best-known tech companies in the world.
  4. Contributor, Phoenix Business Journal. The PBJ is the leading business news source in the Valley, and I often write about the startup world in my monthly column.


Can you discuss your experience at Venture Café and any impact the event has had on your organization?

As a promoter and connector in the AZ tech scene, the biggest impact it has is being able to connect with so many people in the community and create relationships.


Any final thoughts on Venture Café Phoenix?

Two things have been missing from our growing and successful venture community in Phoenix: strong connections and efficient sharing of information within the community.  Venture Café is filling both of those needs, and with every Thursday, it does so a little bit more.



To connect with Eric on LinkedIn click here.

Join the movement of innovators building the center of gravity here in the Valley. Join us every Thursday and meet people like Eric, 5-7 PM, free to attend, free parking, two free drinks.

Check out our upcoming programming and register here.


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