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The state’s Economic Development Department aims to foster startups that generate jobs.
The department wants to see investment in cutting-edge technology being developed by “carefully selected” Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists, chosen for their work’s entrepreneurial appeal to policymakers and industrial partners.
A networking event at heart, the eight technology transfer opportunities represent advances in sustainable fracking, solar cells, water treatment, biotechnology, biofuels, tamper forensics, toxic chemical neutralization and industrial process improvement.
“New Mexico has been so reliant on our National Laboratory for jobs and economic activity,” New Mexico Angels President John Chavez told Route Fifty in an interview Wednesday. “The department sees that it has to get involved in these early-stage opportunities so we can change our economic base.”
The Angels, the state’s top angel investing group, and the Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos host the technology showroom, which the department hopes will promote innovation culture statewide.
Scientists at LANL work closely with the Angels on their presentation and how to message what they’re doing to the community and, more importantly, engage investors looking for commercializable innovations they can license months down the road.
“Gov. Susana Martinez reactivated the Technology Research Collaborative, an effective tool to grow and keep new technologies in New Mexico and recently signed the Angel Investment Tax Credit and the Small Business R&D Credit expansion into law, following a strong show of leadership from the legislature,” Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela said in a statement. “Our sponsorship of DisrupTech is just one way the TRC will continue to strengthen and diversify our economy.”
The Technology Research Collaborative includes the state, the Los Alamos lab and the University of New Mexico. Los Alamos County and the city of Santa Fe’s Economic Development Division are also backing DisrupTech.
The goal: To help create lasting jobs as opposed to temporary infrastructure construction openings.
“We’ve been there, done that,” Chavez said. “In order to make a job pool in your state, you’ve got to create your own, which allows companies to grow so they’ll stick around.”
The New Mexico Start-up Factory, which is run by the Angels, has helped build six new companies in the past two-and-a-half years.
Technology partners identify the best innovations to licence, while the Angels create a business plan and locate the financing.
"DisrupTech allows for a critical exchange between New Mexico’s brightest researchers and our most active entrepreneurs,” Technology Ventures Corporation CEO John Freisinger, another DisrupTech sponsor, said in the announcement. “The more these two groups of people meet, the more innovative companies will be created, and the more jobs and opportunities will be created in our state."
Two LANL companies the Angels saw licensed are now deploying their goods and services all over the U.S. from New Mexico.
“We have an entire local ecosystem of spin-offs from LANL,” Chavez said. “They hire people.”