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

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!

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