Martin Zwilling is the founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to startup founders and small business owners. He’s exceptionally passionate about nurturing the development of entrepreneurs by providing first-hand mentoring, funding assistance, and business plan development. Martin writes a daily blog for entrepreneurs and acts as an angel investor to a number of startups. If that wasn’t enough, he also contributes to Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine online, and the Huffington Post.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I live in Fountain Hills, AZ.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
After years with IBM, I moved to Silicon Valley to work in the startup scene there, and took roles with software startups at VP of Software Development, CTO, and business development. Later, after moving to the Phoenix area, I started my current business, Startup Professionals, Inc., and also became an angel investor in startups.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
I love the freedom to decide what clients I take, what programs I offer, and how much I work.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
My interest in entrepreneurship was sparked by my work with the early Bill Gates and fledgling Microsoft, when I was with IBM developing the IBM PC in Boca Raton, Florida. I was envious of all the things he could do as a startup that I couldn’t do in a big company like IBM.
I have a BA degree in Accounting and Computer Science from the University of Illinois. They never offered any courses in entrepreneurship in those days.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I have lived and worked here for about ten years. I’ve seen the entrepreneurial scene grow tremendously here in that time.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
Beautiful winter weather.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
Focus on real estate.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
We should be the mecca for alternative energy and solar startups, but I see very little in that area.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
The Egg I Am in Scottsdale.
Image by Restaurant News.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Portillo’s Hot Dogs on Shea in Scottsdale.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
Arrivederci Cucina Italiana in Fountain Hills.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
I consider all of the Paradise Bakeries my offices.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Stone and Vine Restaurant on Shea in Scottsdale.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
Hiking the local trails and mountains.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
Friends who come to visit me in Fountain Hills have no idea of the amount of desert wildlife and dangers still here, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, javelina, coyotes, and poisonous frogs.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Plan for a vacation out of town during the summer.