Join us Thursday, March 7 for a VC Meetup with Crosslink, Kickstart, and more!

Join us on March 7, 2019, 5-7pm at Lobo Rainforest for a Venture Capital Meetup with Crosslink Capital from San Francisco (investors in Descartes Labs, Ancestry.com, Pandora), California and Kickstart Seed Fund out of Salt Lake City, Utah (investors in AdWallet, Lucid, and Trilumina). The event will also feature representatives from Arrowhead Center, NMA Ventures, Sun Mountain Capital, Aspen Vista Capital, and ABQid Fund.

This event is an exciting opportunity for New Mexico entrepreneurs seeking venture capital to hear from and meet with top regional funds. After a panel and Q&A session, we’ll host a structured networking exercise in which attendees will have the chance to meet 1-on-1 for a brief period with the investors. ABQid Staff will facilitate these interactions to respect everyone’s time.

Heavy appetizers and beverages will be provided. This event is hosted by ABQid, powered by CNM Ingenuity.

RSVP now on Addmi (FREE)

Medicheck wins Ski Lift Pitch 2019!

We are excited to announce Mexico City-based Medicheck as winner of the fifth-annual ski-based pitch competition in Taos, New Mexico.

Ski Lift Pitch Contest began in 2015 after founding ABQid board member Katie Rice came up with the idea in order to attract more investors to the state. With the support of Taos Ski Valley, the event has successfully brought together snow-loving investors and startups for the past three years. Former Ski Lift Pitch Contest winners include Taos Mountain Energy Bars, UBQid, EquiSeq, and Twistle.

“Ski Lift Pitch is one-of-a-kind,” says Executive Director T.J. Cook. “Connecting entrepreneurs and investors through shared experience is one the biggest values we bring to New Mexico, and everyone who came to this year’s competition made connections that otherwise would been very difficult.”

Competitors on the mountain pitched four judges one at a time while riding up the ski lift. The judges then scored each pitch on a five-point scorecard to determine which of the four companies made it to the final round. Those three companies then pitched to a full crowd to separate group of judges from an indoor stage.

The three finalists were K&K Skin Products, iTherapyDocs, and Medicheck.

Medicheck, represented at the event by founder Dr. Juan Manuel Arellano from Guadalajara, Mexico and CTO Michael Herrick from Albuquerque, is a platform for digitization of medical information that has already partnered with over ten of the biggest hospitals in the country. The two met when Arellano was paired with Herrick in Albuquerque as part of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), a U.S. State Department program.

“The spirit of the event is to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to make meaningful connections with investors, and this year was the best yet with outstanding pitches, investors from around the country, amazing conditions at Taos Ski Valley, and, as always, tremendous energy throughout the day,” said Katie Rice, Founder of Ski Lift Pitch.

“Getting to know all of the judges and competitors helped grow my mindset about how this startup world works,” said Arellano. “Being able to go across borders and be not only in Mexico but now in the U.S. as well is amazing. The format of the event was so completely different–and I got to see snow as well.”

ABQid is Joining CNM Ingenuity

We’re excited to announce that both our nonprofit, ABQid, Inc., and our ABQid, LP venture investing fund will be merged into CNM Ingenuity, the non-profit subsidiary of Central New Mexico Community College which operates numerous entrepreneurial support an development programs across the state.

We’ll be continuing our work on initiatives like Hyperspace Challenge with AFRL New Mexico and ActivateNM with WESST, as well as our Ski Lift and Balloon pitch events. Joining up with CNMI’s extensive programs, capabilities and infrastructure will allow the ABQid, LP Fund to expand investing opportunities and multiply the value we deliver to startups. The end result? Better support and resources for NM startups with high growth potential, which is what we’ve always been about.

CNM Ingenuity was created in 2014 through the New Mexico Research Park Act. CNMI is already providing programs and support for entrepreneurs and pursues cooperative ventures that foster economic development and job creation. Ingenuity also advances new approaches to education that provide accelerated educational and training opportunities in key workforce areas.

You can read more about the announcement here.

5 Reasons to Apply to Ski Lift Pitch 2019

Applications for Ski Lift Pitch close January 11 @ 11:59pm MST. Don’t let your early-stage company miss out on this incredible opportunity to meet some of the best investors around at an event like no other!

Need a reason to apply? We have five!

  1. Connections. Ski Lift Pitch offers the opportunity to meet and make meaningful connections with investors from around the country who represent over $100m in deployable capital. You’ll be pitching your startup on the lifts at Taos Ski Valley. A discussion on a chair lift is special for a number of reasons including, a) the fresh air: adrenaline and forward momentum makes for memorable conversations; b) the full attention of the person you’re talking to since they can’t look at their phone (too cold to take off gloves and don’t want to drop it); and, c) a shared experience making a more memorable connection, meaning the investor you’re pitching is way more likely to be willing to help you out with connections and intros and advice in the future.
  2. Cash. A shot at the grand prize, $10K of capital (non-dilutive!) for your startup. Cash is pretty much everyone’s favorite.
  3. Networking. You’ll not only meet investors during the pitches; you’ll have a chance to spend the rest of the day skiing with them and other startup founders. You’ll get to know folks who can open doors, help you with intros, and provide valuable advice.
  4. Taos Ski Valley. A chance to spend a full day outdoors, skiing beautiful Taos Ski Valley–an amazing New Mexico experience. Startup founders work really hard and we don’t always take care of ourselves as well as we should. An active day of skiing is good for the body, mind and soul, especially for those of us who are overworked entrepreneurs. This year, we’ll also be hosting a panel with four Taos companies who have each innovated in their space and are putting this region on the startup map!
  5. Attention. You’ll be part of a unique experience and there’s always the potential to be included in some of the Ski Lift Pitch media coverage. Did you know that the ABQid Ski Lift Pitch has been covered by NPR not just once, but two separate times? See you at Taos Ski Valley!

So, should you apply?

If you’re actively seeking venture funding, have a startup with meaningful validation and traction for an innovative value proposition, and are ready to have productive conversations with investors, YES, YOU SHOULD APPLY. Just note that one of your team members needs to be able to ski or snowboard; and heads up, Taos is known for its steepness! The first round of pitching is done on the ski lifts. If your company makes the final round, a non-skiing member can then do the pitch from the stage.

2018 in Review, and 5 Lessons Learned

In 2018, our fourth year as an accelerator, we set an ambitious goal to try several new programs to make an even bigger impact. Our goal: Help early-stage businesses with high-growth potential access the knowledge, resources, and connections they need to succeed. As we approach year’s end we’re excited to review those programs and share our learnings.

Our Year in Review

  1. Ski Lift Pitch 2018. 15 investor judges connected with 15 competitively-selected startups. One of those startups was a New Mexico company who went on to receive a $300k investment from a judge met at the event. Psst: Apps & tickets for 2019 now open!
  2. NM Tech Wolves Den. We mentored seven student entrepreneurs in Crownpoint and Las Vegas on the art and science of pitching a business. The students we coached won first and second place in the competition, taking home $5,000 and $2,000, respectively.
  3. projectY Lean Startup Bootcamp. Teaming up with projectY, we helped nine entrepreneurs in Los Alamos use the lean startup methodology to refine their core hypothesis, test it in the real world, and come out the other side with a stronger value proposition and direction for their efforts.
  4. Sandia Labs Pitch Competition. We helped 14 Sandians learn to build a business pitch around their cutting edge technology. We used a rigorous 2-month training and coaching process that culminated in a packed pitch event at the Lobo Rainforest Building. The winner of the event is working on technology that would make DNA sequencing orders of magnitude faster and cheaper. He has continued to refine the concept through UNM Innovation Academy’s iCore program.
  5. Balloon Pitch 2018. Our first-ever Balloon Pitch event brought $150m in deployable investment capital into New Mexico in the form of investor judges who interacted with seven New Mexico-based startups on the move–the winner even got an awesome balloon ride in the Mass Ascension!
  6. Hyperspace Challenge. Our partnership with Air Force Research Lab New Mexico resulted in ten of the top geospatial data analytics startups in the country investing three days in Albuquerque to conduct immersive customer discovery with defense community members with important problems to solve, from infrastructure assessment to mobility.
  7. Office Hours. We began holding open office hours in July and since then, have met with 64 members of the entrepreneurial community looking for advice, connections, funding, and everything in between. (Join us at Office Hours on January 9, 3-5pm @ WESST to kick off the New Year right!)
  8. ActivateNM. Our first software and software-enabled cohort consisted of five companies who presented their pitch on December 7 to a packed crowd at WESST Enterprise Center. The cohort continues to meet and make amazing progress on their businesses as we continue this hybrid accelerator/incubator program.

5 Learnings for the ABQ Entrepreneurial Community

  1. Mentors rule. The Albuquerque entrepreneurial community continues to gain momentum. The number of mentors who came forward, ready to plug-in, was amazing; from the 30+ local experts leaders who took part in Hyperspace Challenge, to the guest facilitators and mentors of ActivateNM, we have amazing wealth in the mentor community in Albuquerque. Our job going into 2019 will be to grow our matchmaking capacity and increase the number of mentors involved at different stages of our programming.
  2. Focus is important. We chose to focus on data analytics for Hyperspace Challenge and software for ActivateNM. We made those choices strategically based on a number of factors, and we recognize that by doing so we are saying “no” to certain companies as much as we’re saying “yes” to companies working in those areas. Our goal is not to make a one-size-fits-all program, but to design the best program that makes the biggest difference for the companies who participate. We saw first-hand in our ActivateNM program that because all companies were working on software, the cohort-to-cohort interaction value was multiplied compared to previous general cohorts. We’ll continue to pursue focused programs, balanced by the fact that we run events that welcome all types of startups and investors (for example, a food company won Balloon Pitch!).
  3. Albuquerque continues to rise. Since 2016, startup (and associated investment) activity has been on the rise, and we’ve definitely seen this first hand with a growing number of applications to our programming. There are more active VC firms in New Mexico than there were three years ago, and more firms from out of state are spending more time in New Mexico. Both are great news and support each other, and events like Ski Lift Pitch, Sandia Labs Pitch, and Balloon Pitch are excellent opportunities to get VCs from in- and out-of-state to check out New Mexico.
  4. You manage what you measure. For all of the above programs, we gathered qualitative and quantitative data from participants about what worked and what didn’t. We strive to be a learning organization and use both success and failure to constantly improve what we’re doing to drive better outcomes. Our improved measurement sophistication from 2017 led to better outcomes in programs for 2018. Being open to this constant learning keeps us humble and striving toward excellence.
  5. It’s all about community. There’s no one program or activity that makes the difference in growing startup activity in New Mexico. What does make the difference is relationships. That’s why we rely heavily on our partners (AFRL, Sandia Labs, WESST, NM Tech, and more) and make referrals to our peers (Creative Startups, SVEDC, Innovate ABQ, other Catalyst Fund recipients, and more) all the time. You can boil all of our programming, events, and training to a simple concept: creating a culture in which good things happen, and the right connections can be made across the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We’re excited as ever to be helping this community grow, one successful startup at a time. A happy holidays from the entire ABQid team!