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.

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!

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.

 

Announcing Nine Competitors for Balloon Pitch 2018 on October 5!

We’re excited to announce the nine companies competing in the ABQid Balloon Pitch 2018, ranging from sophisticated artificial intelligence to camping without hassle, and wifi in space.

The winner of the pitch competition goes home with $10,000, but each startup will have a chance to pitch to seven investors who collectively represent portfolios worth $2 Billion. Tickets to the event on Friday, Oct. 5, at Vara Wines are $25.

In its first year and following the success of Ski Lift Pitch, Balloon Pitch will be held at Vara Wines on Oct. 5. Companies will have five minutes to pitch to the judges, and the winner will go home with $10,000 and fly with hundreds of other balloons in a special ride during an Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension.

The nine competitors are working in a variety of sectors:

  1. DeployHub: DeployHub gets innovation to the software end user faster, without compromising safety. It delivers critical improvements over traditional, monolithic releases by creating an iterative path to end users through its unique Deployment Version Control.
  2. Ibex Aegis: Modernizing right-of-way surveillance with artificial intelligence for the oil and gas industry.
  3. KitFox: Imagine your dream camping site, when you want it, how you want it.
  4. MagPI Innovations: MagPi Innovations researches, develops, and commercializes inventions.
  5. Minnotank: Minnotank takes startups and connects them to investors with one easy-to-use platform.
  6. OneForNeptune: OneForNeptune delivers healthy, high-protein snack foods made from premium quality sustainable seafood. Their wild-caught whitefish jerkies are ethically sourced from small-scale US West Coast fisheries.
  7. Smartloop: Smartloop is an AI company that is using new techniques to build on the chat bot experience for companies who want to connect better with their customers.
  8. Solstar Space: Solstar develops proprietary technologies and payload and space communicator products, providing commercial internet/communications services to astronauts and machines in space. Their services also enable earth-based customers 24/7 direct access to experiments, cubesats, machines, and colleagues located in space.
  9. Zhennovate: Zhennovate is a digital platform to scale personalized resilience development.

More information about investors, sponsors, and purchasing tickets can be found on our Balloon Pitch page.

We’re now accepting applications to ActivateNM: Apply by Sept. 7, 2018!

In spring 2018, we started exploring what would happen if we merged ABQid’s expertise in startup acceleration with WESST’s expertise in business incubation. The result? ActivateNM, our new hybrid accelerator-incubator model that brings together the best of both worlds!

We’re now accepting applications to ActivateNM and seeking applications from early-stage software or software-enabled companies! Companies should be based in New Mexico, be pre- or early-revenue, and have an eagerness to achieve key growth milestones with support from ABQid, WESST, a team of mentors, and fellow cohort participants.

Built on the pillars of “disrupt,” “build,” and “community,” ActivateNM promises to provide cohort companies with the wrap-around support they need to quickly achieve company milestones and become competitive pursuers of equity-based programs, angel investment, or other funding models. Our new program will provide entrepreneurs with a ton of business value and know-how and extensive operational support. Our hope is that by providing these resources through the program, participants can stay focused on the essential questions: Who is my customer? What is my product and business model? How can I get to market efficiently and sustainably?

Our new cohort-based hybrid model is unique from previous ABQid accelerator cohorts in that,

  1. This is a no-equity program. Instead, ActivateNM helps companies figure out which of several funding mechanisms makes the most sense, and then helps them prepare to engage with those sources.
  2. Companies receive a stipend to help cover expenses, but must also pay a small monthly fee to be in the program. The idea is that by paying to participate, founders will feel accountable to themselves, their team, and their fellow cohort members.
  3. Office space, amenities, and hands-on support from experts are included. Previously companies were responsible for contracting with experts such as accounting, marketing, or software consultants on their own. Now they can count on a certain amount of value being provided through the accelerator itself and the extensive resources already available through WESST and ABQid.

If you’re ready to start defining and working towards growth milestones in your software or software-enabled company–or know someone who is–apply today! ActivateNM begins October 15, 2018, and we are accepting applications now through September 7.If you have any questions, please contact us at info@abqid.com.