Register Now for ActivateNM Demo Day December 7

Register here! Join ABQid and WESST at the 2018 ActivateNM Demo Day December 7 from 3-5pm at WESST Enterprise Center! Leaders from the entrepreneurial community will cast vision for the new year, and five startups will pitch their companies after incorporating learnings from an eight-week Lean Startup program during which guest facilitators shared first-hand stories of lessons learned as well as important practices when building high-growth companies.

Awesome food and beverage will be on hand for the celebration, and you’ll be inspired for your startup journey.

Here’s a sneak peak at the five software and software-enabled companies pitching:

  • CustomCult. Custom Cult provides software and hardware to enable mass customization of snowboards and skis.
  • FruitStand Technology. With subscription-based web design and marketing services, FruitStand’s highly vetted technical professionals keep “main street” company websites sites fresh, and their customers happy.
  • Hangerang. Hangerang helps users quickly find, create, and share in-the-moment local happenings – growing IRL connections and boosting local economies.
  • Schedule My RentSchedule My Rent allows busy property owners and landlords to save time by screening tenants, automatically collecting rent, and more.
  • Think UbiquitousThink Ubiquitous’ platform offers scientists visualization and analysis tools that make their important research immediately accessible and usable.

Download the flyer and share with a friend!

Also, we can’t say thank you enough to the amazing Guest Facilitators and Mentors who covered critical topics for high-growth startups and shared first-hand experiences that each startup was able to apply directly to problems they’re facing:

Register here!

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.

 

Announcing five companies participating in ActivateNM!

Alongside our partners at WESST, we’re excited to announce five companies accepted to ActivateNM, a new hybrid startup accelerator program for early-stage New Mexico based businesses with high-growth potential.

After passing through a competitive application process, the startups chosen address problems in a variety of industries but share the common thread of having a software or software-enabled product. They are:

  • CustomCult. Custom Cult provides software and hardware to enable mass customization of snowboards and skis.
  • FruitStand Technology. FruitStand Technology is a highly curated marketplace for technical professionals across the globe, providing subscription based website, design and marketing services.
  • Hangerang. Hangerang enables users to quickly create, share, and participate in real life social experiences to combat loneliness and increase traffic for local businesses.
  • Schedule My Rent. Schedule My Rent helps landlords by dramatically reduce the time and effort of property management with simple and powerful online services.
  • Think Ubiquitous. Makers of the Tellus Data Platform which provides tools to streamline and monetize the skills and expertise of individuals and small groups.

Starting October 15 and ending in a public Demo Day December 7 at WESST, ABQid and WESST will host a Lean Startup based curriculum facilitated by experts in the local startup community. Guest Facilitators will include experienced executives from TechGrindBoomTime, DescartesLabs, and BabyPage, as well as expert service providers such as Lerner Venture Law, Peacock Law, and Slide 12.

In addition to the facilitated weekly sessions, companies are mentored by Lean Startup experts who will attach to individual teams for the duration of the eight weeks, helping them apply principles to the big customer acquisition milestones they need to achieve to prove their model.

Participating companies will also have access to coworking space, shared infrastructure, and staff consulting in the award-winning WESST Enterprise Center in the heart of Albuquerque’s Innovation District.

The Lean Startup method, which is a proven method for developing and managing startups, has been adopted the world over. Since 2014, ABQid has trained over 500 New Mexicans in the method and invested in 31 local companies who embody Lean practices in their early formation. For over thirty years, WESST has provided foundational business and financial consulting that all businesses need to grow.

Finally, while there is an 8-week curriculum outlay customized for each company in the cohort, the program itself lasts for as long as it takes for startups to achieve the milestone(s) they set out to hit. Typically, companies will be expected to move through the program in 3-6 months.

The program is sponsored by the City of Albuquerque.