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.

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.”

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

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.

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!