4 Companies Join ActivateNM Spring 2019 Cohort

Alongside our partners at WESST, we’re excited to announce four new companies who’ve been selected to join ActivateNM as part of the Spring 2019 cohort. ActivateNM is our hybrid startup accelerator-incubator program for early-stage New Mexico based businesses with high-growth potential, which we launched in October 2018. 

The new batch of startups who are joining ActivateNM address problems in a variety of industries, but they share a common feature in that they all offer a software or software-enabled product. Companies selected include,

  • Conversion Plan. Conversion Plan offers a sales tool that increases sales organizations’ conversion rates by analyzing specific and historic opportunity data stored in the organization’s CRM and outputting a conversion plan consisting of action items and deadlines to ensure the deal is won in the forecasted timeframe.
  • Donor Jar. Donor Jar enables political campaigns to connect to donors with aligned values and easily process donations through a website plugin that makes taking donations via debit/credit card simple and also collects important FEC reporting data.
  • Nimble Compensation. Nimble Compensation helps automotive dealerships significantly reduce errors and time spent during the commission calculation process by automating and streamlining the operation.
  • Well Known Corporation. WellKnown Corporation is on a mission to build the world’s best community for creative students to share, learn and grow and offers a knowledge-sharing platform for college students to create and and access helpful content related to the collegiate experience.

ActivateNM kicks off tomorrow, April 3 2019. Over 8 weeks, cohort companies will be guided through immersive workshops with business professionals from around the Albuquerque and New Mexico entrepreneurial ecosystem. Topics we’ll cover include lean startup, customer development, team and organizational development, market definition and segmentation, marketing & sales, corporate and legal issues, fundraising and finance, and pitch coaching & presentation. Cohort companies will also be supported by an extensive network of professional mentors who will provide the diverse support needed to build a successful startup. And remember to mark your calendars for ActivateNM Demo Day on May 24, 2019, 4-5:30pm at WESST Enterprise Center. Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date.

Lastly, we’d like to give an update on the companies who joined us for the first ever ActivateNM Cohort in October 2018. While two have graduated and are now part of the broader ActivateNM community, three companies are still participating in the ActivateNM incubator and working on their key growth milestones. Here’s what’s new:

  • CustomCult. Custom Cult graduated the program in March 2019 and is busy refining his customized snowboard production process. They’ve launched a slick new website, which customers can now use to purchase a customized snowboard. Head on over to www.customcult.com and check it out!
  • FruitStand Technology. During the ActivateNM cohort, FruitStand Technology defined their target market through extensive customer discovery, hired a Project Manager, took on new projects with early adopters and most exciting, is to formally launch their managed marketplace in April 2019. Check out https://fruitstand.tech/ to learn how they can help keep your website fresh for years to come!
  • Hangerang. After a lot of hard work refining their product and figuring out who their target customer is during the ActivateNM cohort, Hangerang is busy preparing to launch their platform in mid-April. Hangerang enables local businesses and individuals to share, promote and engage in real-life social experiences with their friends, family, and broader community. Head on over to https://hangerang.us/ to be the first to know when the platform launches!
  • Schedule My RentSchedule My Rent graduated the ActivateNM Cohort in March 2019 and is focusing on setting up meetings with investors and looking to scale rapidly over the next couple of months. The company continues to have a steady stream of revenue coming through their property management platform and during the cohort, they also launched a number of differentiated features, including the ability for landlords to receive their rent payments almost immediately, as well as for tenants to pay with cash through MoneyGram! Visit www.schedulemyrent.com to learn more about their property management platform.
  • Think Ubiquitous. Think Ubiquitous continues to build new data analysis tools using their Tellus Data Platform. After a significant amount of work defining and understanding their market, they recently began working on a new product, which will enable tech businesses and prospective employees to more easily and transparently navigate the technical interview experience. To find out more about this disruptive product and how you can be involved in helping with early test cases, visit www.think-ubiquitous.com.

If you’re a member of the Albuquerque or New Mexico startup or entrepreneurial community and are interested in getting involved in ActivateNM as a future cohort company, workshop facilitator, or team mentor, contact us at info@abqid.com, Subject: ActivateNM.

Ski Lift Pitch 2019 Competitors & Judges Announced

2019 Ski Lift Pitch Competitors & Judges Announced

Since its first year in 2014, ABQid’s Ski Lift Pitch competition has brought national attention to New Mexico. The event now puts the state on the map as a place where snow-loving investors and startups convene to identify new business opportunities and build new professional relationships.

ABQid’s Ski Lift Pitch Contest began 5 years ago when ABQid board member, Katie Rice, envisioned a one-of-its-kind startup pitch competition. The idea: startup teams pitch their companies to prestigious investors while they ride the chair lift together to the top of the mountain. After multiple rounds of pitching in this format, three startup finalists are selected to pitch on stage for a chance to win $10,000 non-dilutive capital.

Former contest winners include Taos Mountain Energy Bars, UBQid, EquiSeq, and Twistle, but really, all competitors are winners because they get the opportunity to forge intentional relationships with multiple investors from around the country. This brings value to investors and startups long after the end of the event. Last year, for example, one runner-up went on to receive a $300,000 investment from an investor they met at the Ski Lift Pitch competition. That startup continues to grow, right here in New Mexico.

Tickets to this years event can be purchased at www.skiliftpitch.com.

2019 Competitors

Ski Lift Pitch returns to New Mexico in February 2019, again with the generous support of Taos Ski Valley and many sponsors, investors, and individuals who give their time and resources to make this event a success.

Ski Lift Pitch 2019 is particularly exciting due to the number of New Mexico-based companies that will compete. This year, 50% of finalist companies are from New Mexico, as well as six investor judges. Outside of the Ski Lift Pitch season, we at ABQid works hard to build successful startups in our state, and we also strive to highlight New Mexico as a place where investors look for promising investment opportunities. As such, we couldn’t be more excited to see the New Mexico startup ecosystem thriving and gaining the attention of both in- and out-of-state investors.

Here are the competitors:

  • Boobi Butter: Boobi Butter makes breast health easy, fun, and empowering, encouraging women to perform regular breast-massages and self-checks with our nourishing topical breast care products.
  • Covisus: Covisus develops technology to forge secure, transparent supply chains, helping companies ensure the integrity of their products.
  • Armada Lock: Armada Lock is developing Drone Fleet Management, a SaaS service management platform for commercial drones.
  • Go-Station: Go-Station provides the most advanced rapid electric vehicle charging network in the world.
  • iTherapy Docs: iTherapy Docs provides an agency management platform (SaaS) for Medicaid/Personal Care Services (PCS)
  • K&K Skin Products: K&K Skin Products uses nature’s power plus cutting edge science to achieve healthy skin.  
  • Magnify Your Voice: Magnify provides a civic action network tool to boost civic engagement.
  • Medicheck Mx: Medicheck MX is building an Electronic Health Record Ecosystem for Latin America.
  • NTxBio: NTxBio uses nature’s blueprints to identify and build molecules of market interest.
  • Rest Assured: Rest Assured is creating a fusion of clinical sleep medicine and retail sleep products.
  • Trusted Herd: Trusted Herd’s staffing industry reputation site is the largest, most reputable & only such site in the United States.
  • VisionQuest Biomedical: VisionQuest revolutionizes retinal diagnostics with the EyeStar™ artificial intelligence (AI) reading system, a market-ready, cost-effective solution to screen for Diabetic Retinopathy and other vision threatening eye diseases.

2019 Investor Judges

 

Many Thanks to Our 2019 Sponsors

Inaugural Hyperspace Challenge Successfully Brings Defense Community and Startups Together in Albuquerque

Inaugural Hyperspace Challenge Successfully Brings Defense Community and Startups Together in Albuquerque

 

In April 2018, AFRL New Mexico and ABQid began working together on Hyperspace Challenge. This one-of-a-kind program accelerates innovation for our defense community by exposing defense users to tech startups’ cutting edge capabilities. It also provides meaningful customer discovery opportunities for participating startups that they couldn’t get anywhere else. Hyperspace Challenge also promotes Albuquerque and New Mexico as a hub of technological innovation by bringing together successful startups and defense innovators in Albuquerque. This benefits our community’s long-term economic prosperity!

The inaugural Hyperspace Challenge program culminated with Hyper Accelerator Week, November 13-16, 2018. This multi-day event, hosted in Albuquerque’s Lobo Rainforest Building, convened 10 of our country’s top geospatial data analytics startups and a group of defense innovators to explore how startups’ capabilities could address 5 carefully-defined challenges in the defense community.

The 10 startups invited to attend Hyper Accelerator Week were selected after participating in a month-long webinar series in September 2018. The series helped startups learn firsthand from defense innovators about their technological obstacles. Startups then submitted proposals describing how their capabilities could address one or more of those problems. A team of tech, business, and defense experts evaluated these proposals using a rigorous rubric and helped select the 10 finalists.

During Hyper Accelerator Week, the 10 finalist startups met face-to-face with the defense innovators from the webinar series in intensive breakout sessions designed to give startups and defense innovators the opportunity to figure out how startups’ capabilities could be used to address specific defense community needs.

On the evening of November 15, startups took their learnings from the breakout sessions and pitched their solutions in a state-of-the-art Pitch Competition. A panel of three judges, including Matt Fetrow (AFRL New Mexico), Carlos Romero (NM Tech) and Bill Hartman (Ion Linac Systems) evaluated the startups’ pitches using a comprehensive rubric. CrowdAI (1st place), Enview (2nd place), and NOVI LLC (3rd place) received high scores and were awarded $25K, $15K and $10K, respectively, to expedite follow-on activities related to establishing acquisition or contracting opportunities with the Department of Defense.

We would like to congratulate the 10 startups who joined us in Albuquerque. We’d like to thank all of the defense innovators and business and tech experts who gave their time to Hyper Accelerator Week. The success of this event would not have been possible without their support.

We look forward to the next iteration of this program and to accelerating innovation for the defense community; to offering startups incredible customer discovery opportunities; and to promoting our city and state as a hub of technological innovation! To stay up-to-date on the launch of the 2019 Hyperspace Challenge program, follow us on social media on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any questions, please contact us at contact@hyperspacechallenge.com.

Guest Column: Opportunity Knocking by Deborah Burns, CEO, investUS LLC

Opportunity Knocking in New Mexico:
A Guest Column by Deborah Burns, CEO investUS LLC

In this guest column, Deborah Burns, CEO, investUS LLC talks about the investment value to be found in locating businesses within Opportunity Zones! She explains why startup CEO’s should be thinking of locating operations in an Opportunity Zone, and using a fund to help their investors avoid capital gains taxes.


One of the best kept secrets of the December 2017 tax legislation is the “Investing for Opportunity Act”.  It’s a timely program offering capital gains tax deferment and reduction to any US taxpayer that invests their capital gain into an Qualified Opportunity Fund (“ QO Fund”) that in turn invests in Opportunity Zone investments.  New Mexico Economic Development Department did a great job nominating 63 eligible New Mexico zones that have now been approved as Opportunity Zones ( interactive map).

The US Treasury department estimates there is over $7 trillion in unrealized capital gains that could be invested into Opportunity Zones given the tax deferment and reduction incentives.    The best feature for Opportunity Zone investment recipients is that the QO Fund investment in their company is also capital gains tax free if it remains invested for at least 10 years.  QO Funds will be a new conduit of investment capital flowing into Opportunity Zone investments driven by the desire to stay invested for at least 10 years to be capital gains tax free upon the exit.

To take advantage of these tax savings, the US tax payer must invest in a QO Fund within 180 days of realizing the taxable gain. It can be a taxable capital gain of any asset by any US taxpayer.  The QO Fund can invest in any qualified business or asset in a US Opportunity Zone excluding “sin” businesses consisting of golf courses, country clubs, massage parlors, hot tub facilities, race tracks or gambling facilities, and liquor stores as defined in the tax legislation.

One would wonder why you haven’t heard of this tax incentive or any promotions for QO Funds.  The lack of press coverage for the legislation hasn’t been helpful. To be sure, putting together a Qualified Investment Fund has its challenges. First, the IRS has yet to write the tax rules for the legislation and there is no indication when it might be forthcoming. To put together a QO Fund today requires hiring a sophisticated tax advisory firm that has a dedicated team focused on the new legislation and experienced tax counsel.  Second, as with any private equity fund, the fund manager must comply with federal and state securities laws, provide fund administration and reporting, financials statements and tax filings for investors. This is harder than it seems since the IRS has not yet created the reporting requirements nor the tax forms. Then there are the various liabilities of any securities offering and investment transaction.  All in all, QO Fund management is a challenging undertaking.

Today, investUS, as fund manager, is actively reviewing investment opportunities in New Mexico Opportunity Zones that are shovel ready now or will be ready for investment in early 2019.

For more details on the tax legislation, tax savings computations and recent IRS FAQ’s, contact your tax advisor or tax attorney.  For more information on the investUS QO Fund, contact Deborah Burns at dburns@investUS-eb5.com.