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Welcome to RAIN

The Rising Arizona Investor Network (RAIN) is an initiative of Startup Tucson designed to help individuals learn more about how to invest and support Southern Arizona entrepreneurs and companies using emerging investment tools. By providing education on emerging investment trends and sharing best practices to support diverse founders, the program's goal is to build a local and diverse investor pipeline to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southern Arizona. The program is designed for current investors or those brand-new to the concept of business investment.


To build a strong, sustainable, pipeline of emerging, active, and diverse investors, adept at utilizing an array of traditional and non-traditional funding tools to channel capital to founders of all backgrounds across the Southern Arizona entrepreneurial ecosystem.


RAIN is committed to bridging the capital gap for startups in Southern Arizona by recruiting and training potential and active investors from diverse backgrounds and educating the investor community of Southern Arizona on forward-looking capital raising mechanisms, including equity crowdfunding, to support access to capital for young and diverse founders in our community. 

Mentors & TEAM

Andrew Moore
Bluestone Venture Partners

Andrew More is a Director at BlueStone Venture Partners. At BlueStone, Andrew is primarily responsible for leading diligence activities on prospective investments in addition to managing various portfolio and internal fund activities.

Andrew was the recipient of The M&A Advisor's Emerging Leader Award and has been recognized by the Global M&A Network as one of America's Rising Stars in the Dealmaker category.


Before joining BlueStone, Andrew was an Investment Fellow at the UVA LVG Seed Fund in Charlottesville, Virginia where he performed diligence on early-stage life sciences startups seeking Seed and Series A funding.

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Danny Knee
Community Investment Corporation

Danny is the Executive Director of Community Investment Corporation
(CIC), a nonprofit organization that works to increase access to the
economy through homeownership, education, and entrepreneurship.
Under his leadership, CIC has been recognized three years in a row by the Tucson Metro Chamber at their Copper Cactus Awards as the most impactful small nonprofit organization in 2020 and 2022 and as the region’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion champion in 2021. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Danny also has an MBA from University of Arizona and a master’s degree in City & Regional Planning from Rutgers University.

Danny focuses on equity gaps in our economy and the enormous
opportunity costs of sidelining innovation that can be attributed to
documented market failures and bias in our capital access systems. As co-founder with his wife, Cecily, a web development company that
exclusively serves nonprofits (Single Focus Web), he also has experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

Tony Wilkins 
Standing Oak Ventures

Tony Wilkins is a private investor focused on supporting portfolio C-
suite teams and related interests by providing a broad perspective from experience in a variety of industries to help them make better decisions, particularly when navigating new or unfamiliar terrain.

He spent six years as a relationship executive at BNY Mellon
responsible for corporate, government, and non- profit custody clients
his responsibilities included providing strategic consultation, fee
negotiation, and resolving operational and compliance issues. He was a member of BNY Mellon’s Impact affiliate network for employees of color and participates in the company’s DiverseTech initiative to attract, recruit and retain technologists of color.

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Liz Pocock

Startup Tucson

Liz Pocock is the CEO of Startup Tucson and the TENWEST Impact Festival and has helped grow Startup to serve over 3,500 entrepreneurs a year, receiving national recognition for building inclusive ecosystems and funding support for its programming from federal entities like EDA and USDA as well as local and national foundations and government.


Liz received her J.D. from the University of Arizona and now teaches entrepreneurship for students within the College of Agriculture and Eller College of Management. Prior to joining Startup, Liz was an Attorney at the National Law Center where she implemented international legal commercial reform and training projects for the State Department,
USAID and the World Bank. Outside of Startup, Liz is a trained mediator, Vice-President of the Downtown Tucson Partnership Board and Secretary of the Tucson City of Gastronomy Board in addition to several other roles on advisory committees for groups like the Tucson Convention Center Commission and Tech Launch Arizona.


She was a Tucson 40 under 40 recipient in 2019, 2020 Tucson Women of
Influence Rising Star Winner and recognized in the 2021 list of NextGen Leaders by BizTucson.


Keneshia Raymond

Startup Tucson

Keneshia (she/her) is the Director of Programs and Access to Capital at Startup Tucson. For 13+ years, she has provided education through her current company Blissful Creatives. In 2020, Keneshia completed the Women's Entrepreneurship Program through Cornell University. Responding to the gap in the market Keneshia spends a lot of time disrupting what has become the traditional way of funding and access to capital.


Over the last two years, she has worked to challenge the systems that have been put in place to keep people of color stagnant, by creating on-ramps and new programs to create opportunities. Keneshia is also a fellow of Common Future's Entrepreneur Policy Incubator, Through this incubator, Keneshia plans to illuminate why solutions like land trusts are essential in lieu of broken government programs. HUD reforms, specifically, are essential to Keneshia's community. There is immense opportunity for greater partnerships between leaders like Keneshia and agency leadership to solve for shared problems."


 This program is made possible with funding from the EDA Capital Challenge
and additional regional partners. The following additional partners support the RAIN program. 

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Mentors & Team
  • So is it an investor club, angel group, fund???
    No. It’s really all about education and information. The goal of RAIN is to give you the tools you need to invest locally if you’d like. The Network helps provide you the information and shares with you what companies might need support and then it’s up to you to decide how and if you’d like to support them.
  • Are there any other local partners involved in the program?
    Yes, Startup Tucson has strong connections to the key entrepreneurial and investor groups in Southern Arizona. Our partners for RAI. include the Desert Angels, Community Investment Corporation, University of Arizona Center for Innovation, UA Venture Capital, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Arizona FORGE. Startup Tucson has years of experience collaborating with these organizations to launch successful programs targeted at founders and investors to build entrepreneurial capacity and boost the flow of capital for local businesses in our community. You can learn more about our partners here.
  • Do I need to be located in Southern Arizona to participate?
    Yes, this program focuses on individual investors located in the Southern Arizona region. Program events and trainings will be hosted primarily in the Tucson area and online.
  • How does it work?
    After a short application, you’ll be invited to join the RAIN Network and online membership portal. Once accepted into the network, participants can expect to receive regular updates about local companies and training opportunities. Trainings will occur Quarterly both online and in-person and the annual investor conference will occur as a part of TENWEST Impact festival in November. Mentoring will be hosted as needed and resources can be accessed 24-7 through the Investor Portal.
  • How is this program funded?
    This program is funded through an EDA Capital Challenge Grant.
  • How do I get started?
    To get started with the program, you simply need to complete an application here.
  • What's included in my membership?
    After a short application, you’ll be invited to join our online RAIN membership portal. Members will receive the following benefits: Free Online and in-person investor education Access to a digital investor toolkit​ Access to quarterly workshops Ability to participate in an annual investor conference as part of TENWEST Access to a list of local entrepreneurs currently seeking support​ Access to sign-up for 1-1 Mentorship Sessions with experienced investors Access to all of the Startup Tucson Network Membership benefits​
  • Who is Startup Tucson anyway?
    Founded in 2012, Startup Tucson is a community-oriented nonprofit based in Tucson, Arizona with a mission to support the dreamers, builders and makers that fuel the economic future of Southern Arizona. We support first-time founders, small businesses, scaling ventures, farmers, and food businesses, with the primary goal to increase the number, quality and diversity of startups launching and growing in Tucson and the larger Southern Arizona region. We also collaborate closely with investor groups in our community through the provision of investor trainings and pairing investors with startups seeking capital. To learn more about Startup Tucson and our work with local entrepreneurs, check out our website here.
  • Why does a program like RAIN matter?
    Entrepreneurs are the fabric of our local economy however access to capital is often one of the biggest gaps preventing business success, especially for diverse founders. This program ultimately seeks to address some of the challenges faced by Southern Arizona’s early-stage diverse founders in accessing the capital needed to build competitive companies. In working with these founders, we have seen that they face systemic barriers that limit their access to capital and resources, including having the access to funds that others might be able to raise from their friends and family. As such, they are more likely to need to turn to non-traditional early funding tools, such as WeFunder and Start Engine, to raise the capital they need to scale. However, these non-traditional early funding tools need investment from local supports to truly support founders in meeting their capital goals. To continue to build our local economy and recover post COVID-19, Tucson needs to recruit and train more investors, especially emerging and diverse investors, to grow our overall investment community so that we can support more early-stage and diverse founders.
  • What are the Goals/Objectives of RAIN?
    Provide support to potential, diverse investors to permanently join the Southern Arizona investor community and utilize new investment mechanisms Bridge the gap between potential investors, especially investors of color, and startups with diverse founders to enhance access to capital for startups within the Southern Arizona region Create content on best practices for new funding tools such as equity crowdfunding Increase transparency and impact through an aggregated location for investor deal flow
  • I still have questions, what do I do?
    You can learn more by emailing and a member of our team will follow up with you directly. You can also complete the contact form here or sign-up to receive updates here.
  • Do I have to be an accredited investor to join?
    Participants do not have to be a current accredited investor to join the program nor do they need to meet the definition of an accredited investor. The education provided through this program will include investment tools that do not require individuals to be an accredited investors such as equity-based crowdfunding and impact investment. It will also include information on accredited investor tools like angel investment and venture capital. All education will focus on how to make these tools more accessible for diverse founders.
  • So does Startup Tucson vet companies before they are listed in the Network?
    Startup Tucson is merely aggregating information from local entrepreneurs that are seeking support. Startup Tucson, nor its employees or partners, take no responsibility for any of the companies listed. It is the sole responsibility of program participants to properly vet any companies before they choose to invest.
  • Where will the companies/investment opportunities in the portal be from?
    Founders included in the network portal will be from the Southern Arizona region.
  • Is there a cost to participate?
    If accepted, there is no cost to participate in RAIN and all trainings and mentorship is free of charge. The annual investment conference may have some small ticketing charges for certain events.
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