Former CampusLogic exec launches fund to target Arizona software startups – The Business Journals

Gregg Scoresby isn’t just looking for a few good software developers.
The founder and former CEO of high-profile edtech firm CampusLogic is looking for dedicated and determined software developers who want to take their idea and, with some help, try to turn it into Arizona’s next big thing.
Scoresby, who oversaw the sale of Chandler-based CampusLogic to Virginia-based Ellucian, in a deal that closed in April, is set to introduce PHX Launch, a venture studio that is aiming to find and fund a group of Valley software startups. The new venture is backed by $5 million that Scoresby is setting aside from his three-year-old venture capital firm, PHX Venture Partners.
The PHX Launch Fund will focus on backing early-stage, B2B SaaS (software as a service) companies in Arizona. Scoresby will use the fund solely for pre-seed investments that will place category-creating startup founders into the venture studio. The plan is to target 12 to 15 startups that are each expected to receive between $250,000 and $500,000.
A venture studio takes a more hand-on approach to its target investments than a typical accelerator or incubator.
The news of Scoresby’s fund comes hot on the heels of the announcement earlier this month of the $110 million AZ-VC fund. It’s backed by the likes of Arizona Public Service, SRP and Arizona-based Trinity Capital and headed by Jack Selby.
While many observers often repeat the same lament that Arizona doesn’t have enough homegrown funds to invest in startups, Scoresby says that isn’t a solution by itself. A bigger issue, he says, is simply the fact that the state lags behind others, including Denver and Salt Lake City, that have much smaller populations than the Phoenix metro and yet are far more successful in creating an environment where young entrepreneurs believe that it’s a great place to get started.
A 2021 study by CrunchBase ranked Arizona 23rd among U.S. states in a venture capital study focused on per capital venture funding, where Vermont, Nevada, Colorado and Utah all cracked the top 10.
“It’s not really a capital problem. We have wonderful talent here and should be a top 10 software development city. It’s something that I want to be a part of in building it up,” Scoresby said. “We need people with bigger ambitions.”
Joining Scoresby at PHX Launch is one of his trusted former employees at CampusLogic, Chris Chumley, who is set to step down as the company’s president and chief operating officer. Chumley’s last day at CampusLogic is Nov. 1.
“To be successful in building a startup you have to be successful at building a product, and Chris is one of the best at doing that as he showed at CampusLogic, where we were able to create a product development engine,” Scoresby said. “We are looking for people with ideas for startups and we will be co-founders to help lead them through conceiving the idea, and funding them from an early stage and helping them get to [creating] revenue. The problem to solve is how to build a good early team for each startup and help them build on that.”
As a seasoned entrepreneur, Scoresby also knows that not every startup is successful, but that is just the reality of the ecosystem.
“We think there will be a failure rate [among our investments] but if two or three of those startups can become $100 million companies, then I think that’s a pretty good bet,” Scoresby said. “Startups certainly do have uncertain outcomes, but one thing is certain. This fund will lead to 12 to 15 more software companies built in Arizona that otherwise wouldn’t have happened without this initiative.”
Scoresby isn’t new to startup investing. He has invested in 10 Valley companies in the past three years through PHX Ventures, including Equipifi and Trainual.
PHX Launch is operating out of the WeWork coworking space at the Watermark building at Tempe Town Lake and will huddle with its startup founders in that space as needed.
Scoresby, the inaugural winner of AZ Inno’s Blazer Award in 2022, isn’t quite done with CampusLogic yet, but that affiliation is winding down just as his startup fund is being rolled out. After he negotiated the sale of the company to Ellucian, he agreed to stay on as an adviser to Ellucian CEO Laura Ipsen until the end of 2022.
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