Young Adults Are Target of Entrepreneurial Initiative

By Michelle Miller, founder and CEO, High Desert Discovery District

By Michelle Miller, founder and CEO, High Desert Discovery District

A frequent lament of New Mexico’s business community is the loss of brainpower and energy that results when young people move out of state to pursue economic opportunities they can’t find at home.

This exodus isn’t unique to New Mexico and, by itself, isn’t cause for alarm.

No matter where they live, young people almost always leave their home state after completing their schooling or training, even if they obtained that education tuition-free at New Mexico universities. Exploring the larger world and all its offerings helps young adults mature into self-aware global citizens — an asset to any community they choose to settle in.

What most concerns economic-development advocates is how to make New Mexico that destination of choice for our dispersed millennials — the generation now in its 20s and 30s. Continue reading

Los Alamos National Lab Program Shares Cutting Edge Technologies

Marianne Johnston

By Mariann Johnston, Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation

Los Alamos National Laboratory has a stockpile of patents covering technologies with untapped commercial potential, and it wants to simplify the process of sharing these innovations — as well as its portfolio of copyright-protected software — with businesses that can translate this wealth into private-sector jobs.

The lab’s Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation (FCI) in August launched the Express Licensing program to fast-track the licensing of technologies and software with a simple online application. The application template standardizes licensing terms and makes it possible for LANL to share inventions on a broader scale without making potential partners and customers undergo exhaustive individualized negotiations. Continue reading

National Lab Assists Dental Implant Developer with Technical Problems

Information Sessions Coincide with Next Funding Deadline

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

Three New Mexico men – metallurgist Terry Lowe from Metallicum, a subsidiary of Manhattan Scientifics; designer and manufacturer Dan Blacklock from Danlin Products; and dentist and educator Walt Schuman from BASIC Dental Implants — recently collaborated to develop, manufacture, and market dental implants that use an enhanced variant of titanium made by Manhattan Scientifics. Titanium improves the way dental implants are anchored into the jawbone.

But the team needed special equipment and expertise to evaluate and describe the distinctive characteristics of their breakthrough material, which goes by the trademarked name of Biotanium. The partners applied for help from the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program – a joint project of Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories and the state of New Mexico. Continue reading

Federal Funding Still Good for Small Technology Firms


Jim and Gail Greenwood

Jim and Gail Greenwood for NNM Connect and TVC

Congress in December voted to continue two federal programs that offer funding to small businesses involved in technology and innovation. The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) were reauthorized as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, ensuring their funding through 2017.

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Fund Accelerates Product Commercialization

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

A $100,000 award from the Venture Acceleration Fund in 2011 helped Santa Fe startup Vista Therapeutics speed up the commercial introduction of the NanoBioSensor, which employs nanowires to measure in real time the multiple blood proteins and other biomarkers the body produces in response to trauma or disease. Biomarker measurement is especially critical for emergency room doctors, who have little time to gauge the severity of a patient’s condition and choose a proper intervention. Benefits continue during recovery, when ongoing monitoring is essential.

As the first commercially available device capable of such on-the-spot analysis, the NanoBioSensor is expected to improve the lives of people and also reduce the suffering of research animals: Pharmaceutical scientists and other biomedical researchers often must sacrifice many animals to obtain sufficient blood or tissue samples for analysis of biomarker changes over time. The sensitivity and rapidity of Vista’s sensor will allow many biomarkers to be monitored with a simple nick of the research animal’s tail or ear.

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Entrepreneur Alert: It’s Time to Prepare for Technology Summit

Betsy Gillette

Betsy Gillette, Director of Market Research & Planning, TVC

Technology Ventures Corporation exists to help innovators find investors for technology-based products they hope to bring to market. In January, 2012, the Albuquerque-based company will select up to 20 entrepreneurs with the most commercially marketable ideas and help them prepare business plans to pitch in April to funders at TVC’s Deal Stream Summit, formerly called the Equity Capital Symposium.

Most of the scientists and engineers who become clients of TVC are sophisticated about technology but novices when it comes to selecting target markets, appraising market needs and attracting venture capital funding. Entrepreneurs interested in being coached by TVC should prepare now by developing the marketing aspects of their business plans. The more realistic they are about the need for their product, market size, customer base and branding, the more likely they are to draw investors.

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Venture Acceleration Fund Now Accepting Proposals

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for Northern NM Connect

Northern New Mexico technology companies have been using the Venture Acceleration Fund since 2006 to help bring their products to the marketplace. The fund, administered through Los Alamos National Laboratory, awards up to $100,000 to qualifying ventures.

This year, the VAF is changing some of its rules: calls for ideas will be accepted year-round, and companies no longer must have a direct technology-transfer association with the lab — though some preference is given to those ventures.

The fund supports tech ventures in almost every step of the commercial process, including proof of concept, prototyping, product engineering, finding customers and market validation. Continue reading

Nineteen Startup Tech Companies to Pitch Ideas to Investors


Michelle Mang

Michelle Mang, Promotions & Advertising Analyst, TVC

Nineteen startup companies will pitch their business plans before investors May 19-20, 2010 at the 17th annual Technology Ventures Equity Capital Symposium hosted by Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC). The annual Albuquerque forum gives investors a chance to invest in companies that are commercializing advanced technologies developed in national laboratories, universities and other research institutions.

“Even in this challenging economy, TVC was able to select 19 great presenters from more states with a broader diversity of technologies than ever before,” said Sherman McCorkle, president and chief executive officer of TVC. The nonprofit, charitable foundation funded by Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Department of Energy bridges the public and private sectors to find commercial uses for technological discoveries made at publicly funded research centers, including Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Savannah River National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex

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Virtual Job Fair Seeks Candidates for High Tech, Green Tech Industries


Ingrid Baker, Director of Recruitment Resources for TVC

Technology Ventures Corp. and New Mexico WIRED are planning a job fair March 15 to March 19, but it won’t cost job seekers a penny in gas to get there. Appropriately for two organizations that focus on high tech and green tech industries, TVC and New Mexico WIRED are hosting this job fair in cyberspace.

Participating companies host “virtual booths” at the job fair web site, and they accept résumés during the event. Company recruiters will respond directly to each applicant and offer an assessment of the applicant’s skills in relation to the desired job.

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Cleantech: Still Attractive and Attracting Investment

Lee Rand, Partner at Sun Mountain Capital

Lee Rand, Partner at Sun Mountain Capital

Supporting low-impact forms of energy generation — cleantech, as it’s called — has been a hot topic politically and socially and has been a subject of mainstream debate and politics for the past 10 years.  As a result of consumer, regulatory and private interest in the cleantech sector, it has also been a hot topic for investing, and venture-capital investment in cleantech increased exponentially in the past decade. In 2001, venture capitalists invested roughly $507 million in clean-technology companies.  By 2008, annual investment in the sector was $8.4 billion.

Where did it go?

Much of the early investment in cleantech was done in the form of large deals with relatively small equity investments alongside massive debt-capital structures to help finance major infrastructure projects in solar power, wind power and smart-grid energy distribution. At first it appeared as though investors’ bets on cleantech would pay off: The price of oil skyrocketed to nearly $150 per barrel over a six-month period in 2008, and equity indexes that tracked the performance of public cleantech companies became extremely popular among hedge fund investors.

The 2008 election of Barack Obama and a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate was expected to lift the industry, as a climate-conscious Democratic administration would make significant investments alongside private investors and create incentives to invest more capital in cleantech, thereby increasing company valuations.

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