Lobo Rainforest News

March 25, 2021

Eighth Innovate New Mexico® Moves to Virtual Format

Innovate New Mexico is a collaborative event featuring representatives and researchers from seven major research institution across New Mexico to highlight the latest research and technology opportunities, startup companies and economic development resources. The research institutes include the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Labs, NASA, New Mexico Tech and New Mexico State University.

Just one year ago, the seventh Innovate New Mexico event took place at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club. That was before COVID pandemic which has impacted the way in which we now host events. Moving to an online format, the 2021 Innovate New Mexico was spread over two-days and included six technology and company presentations running simultaneously over two tracks via Zoom. Attendees could jump between technology presentations to company presentation seamlessly. All presentations were recorded and are uploaded to the UNM Rainforest Innovations’ YouTube channel.

The first day kicked off with opening remarks by Jon Clark, Deputy Chair Secretary at the New Mexico Economic Development Department. Then the technology and company presentations took place relating to physical sciences. See below for links to the recordings of their presentations.

The moderator of the technology presentations was Mary Monson, Senior Manager of Technology Partnerships and Business Development at Sandia National Laboratories and company presentations were moderated by David Kistin, Manager of Technology and Economic Development at Sandia National Laboratories. After the presentations, closing remarks were given by Jennifer Sinsabaugh, Chief Executive Officer at New Mexico MEP. The last hour included virtual networking where attendees could chat with the presenters.

Physical Science Technology Presentations

Physical Science Company Presentations

The second day kicked off with opening remarks by Myrriah Tomar, Director of the Office of Science & Technology at the New Mexico Economic Development Department. Next came the technology and company presentations relating to life sciences. See below for links to the recordings of their presentations.

The moderator of the technology presentations was Matt O’Brien, Technology Business Specialist at the Air Force Research Laboratory and company presentations were moderated by Mariann Johnston, Project Manager at the Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. After the presentations, closing remarks were given by Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of UNM Rainforest Innovations. Her speech highlighted the many ways in which New Mexico is achieving high rankings in innovation and entrepreneurial areas. The last hour included virtual networking where attendees could chat with the presenters.

Life Science Technology Presentations

Life Science Company Presentations

To learn more about Innovate New Mexico, visit http://www.innovatenewmexico.com/

View all of the presentations on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvSGf0aK1KNJ358sYJ8_IRQ/videos

March 22, 2021

New Mexico Rainforest University Center – Providing Entrepreneurial Training to the State of Innovation

In fall 2018, UNM Rainforest Innovations and the Innovation Academy received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center Economic Development Program to support the development of the New Mexico Rainforest University Center.

The New Mexico Rainforest EDA University Center has been developed and implemented throughout the state of New Mexico via the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque and its branch campuses in Gallup, Los Lunas, Los Alamos and Taos, providing entrepreneurial training and mentoring to students, entrepreneurs and community members. The University Center offers monthly webinars covering various entrepreneurial topics and the opportunity for participants to earn an Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate. So far, 26 participants have received their certificates and the NM Rainforest University Center is hoping to continue providing entrepreneurial training and certificates to more individuals.

The Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate series is free and open to the UNM and greater New Mexico community via live Zoom meetings or recordings on the NM Rainforest website. In order to receive a certificate, participants must view seven or more seminars via livestream or on our YouTube channel and complete the associated quizzes. All material can be found on the NM Rainforest website and have also recently been transferred to a Google Classroom platform for an improved user experience.

If you are interested in earning your Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate through UNM Rainforest Innovations and the UNM Innovation Academy, we recommend starting with these trainings:

View the complete library of recordings and quizzes at: http://loborainforest.com/nmrainforest/videos/



January 8, 2021

UNM Rainforest Innovations announces 2021 Business and Economic Summit

The University of New Mexico hosts its third Business and Economic Summit, aimed at encouraging a statewide dialogue about ways to grow the New Mexico economy and innovation ecosystem.

Themed, “New Mexico 2030,” the goal is to convene stakeholders (public, private and non-profit) from across New Mexico.

“As the catalyst for economic development at the University, UNM Rainforest Innovations is honored to be offering this virtual gathering for leaders to convene and create,” said Lisa Kuuttila, CEO and Chief Economic Development Officer of UNM Rainforest Innovations. “It’s to the benefit of all New Mexicans that we continue persevering and pushing for positive change. By creating this free online event, we hope to bring even more voices to the table than in years past.”

Recognizing the progress that the state has made to date, the Summit will envision economic growth in New Mexico. The summit will build on the recommendations of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s recent study “Driving New Mexico’s Future: Empowering a Competitive Economy in a Post-Pandemic World“.

UNM is one the only university in the state classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as a R1: Doctoral Universities with very high research activity. The designation makes UNM an ideal launchpad for innovating new pathways to progress while reinvigorating the economic outlook in New Mexico.

The daylong online summit features local and state leaders of research, commerce and higher education. It is being held Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. It is free and registration is open online; click here to register.

UNM President Garnett S. Stokes will give the opening remarks, with a keynote address from Michael M. Crow, Ph.D., President, Arizona State University, titled The Role of Public Universities in State-wide Economic Development.

There will also be panel discussions and breakout rooms with insight from New Mexico business leaders, researchers and others.

See the full agenda here.

The 2021 New Mexico Business and Economic Summit is being hosted by UNM Rainforest Innovations. As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico, UNM Rainforest Innovations protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring the technologies to the marketplace. It connects the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of startup companies.

Original article from UNM Newsroom can be founds at https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-rainforest-innovations-announces-2021-business-and-economic-summit

July 23, 2020

Local Startups Struggle Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Over the past several months, the local startup community has faced unprecedented hardships amid the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. economy has taken a devastating blow as stores are forced to halt operations in order to slow the spread of the virus and states are issuing stay-at-home orders. Among the most affected are small businesses that lack the funding and resources to draw on during these difficult times. See Kevin Robinson-Avila’s April 26 article, “Startups struggle to survive amid virus”, reprinted below from the Albuquerque Journal.


Startups struggle to survive amid virus

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer

Monday, April 6th, 2020 at 12:02am


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Michaela Brown’s Blush & Whimsy online lipstick and jewelry business is facing tough times in the coronavirus outbreak.

The Rio Rancho startup, which launched in 2016, earned national and even global prestige after Brown’s products were included in Oscar and Grammy celebrity gift bags, paving the way for Blush & Whimsy to be featured on the QVC shopping channel last year.

But when the coronavirus hit, the company’s supply chain collapsed, crippling operations since Brown’s jewelry and lipstick-packaging products come from China and South Korea via U.S. distributors.

One jewelry shipment is now stuck in Cincinnati, delayed by the coronavirus, and no more lipstick packaging is expected from Asia for another five to nine months.

“It all fell apart in January,” Brown told the Journal. “I’ve got just $7,000 worth of inventory left, with 100 lipstick units and a handful of jewelry. … I’ll keep going however I can, but it could be six months or more before I come out of this.”

Businesses across the board are facing major hardships from supply chain disruptions, travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders in many states. The pandemic has particularly impacted retail, restaurants and entertainment venues as their operations either completely ground to a halt or were severely curtailed.

Startups, however, face special challenges, since many are pre-revenue enterprises that are still building their businesses with limited finances. Some may have initial revenue flow, but most are still far from sustainable income or profitability, and the majority are now burning through their available cash as the world around shuts down, said John Mierzwa, CEO of Ingenuity Software, an Albuquerque startup that builds websites and other online capabilities for companies.

“All startups are now generally digging into their rainy day funds and bank accounts,” Mierzwa said. “Those funds could be depleted fairly quickly depending on how long the crisis lasts.”

Like many local startups, Ingenuity Software is facing difficulties as clients pull back on spending during the crisis.

“Work has slowed down,” Mierzwa said. “We had one client in Northern California that we were scheduled to re-do the software for on 36 training stations. We were ready to start, but now they have zero revenue coming in, so everything is on hold and the contract is frozen.”


Investment woes

Most startups are too early-stage to access traditional lines of credit, encouraging many to seek funding from private sources, including individual “angel” investors and venture funds.

But a lot of previously available angel and venture funding will become harder to obtain, since investors will likely be more cautious about backing new companies during the economic crisis generated by the coronavirus, said New Mexico Angels President John Chavez. Many will prefer to reserve their capital to help startups they already invested in to weather the downturn.

“We haven’t seen any local startups go under yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next two to four months we see companies that just can’t make it,” Chavez said.

Startups that already received early-stage funding from investors will likely fare better than those that haven’t, said Lisa Kuuttila, University of New Mexico chief economic development officer and president and CEO of the Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech transfer office.

“Companies that have already gotten funding now have committed investors backing them who will likely have more money available to help them through the crisis,” Kuuttila said. “But companies that haven’t raised money yet will struggle. One company we work with had promising prospects for funding, but with the coronavirus, nobody is talking with them now.”


Hard to connect

Stay-at-home restrictions have forced most startups to work remotely. Technology-based companies are generally already set up for that, but being cut off from community support bases and co-working sites can be challenging.

Both the Lobo Rainforest building at the Innovate ABQ research and development site Downtown and the FatPipe ABQ co-working space across the street are shut down.

“It’s a real adjustment for small businesses trying to get off the ground,” Kuuttila said. “They have no office to go to now.”

FatPipe Chief Operating Officer Lisa Adkins fears the current crisis could cause lasting damage to New Mexico’s budding startup community and ecosystem. Numerous business accelerators, co-working spaces and support programs have formed in recent years to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to launch businesses, leading to hundreds of new local startups.

“The support network we’ve built as a community has made becoming an entrepreneur appealing to many more people,” Adkins said. “But many have risked everything and are now losing, or stand to lose, everything. I worry about the impact on the startup ecosystem, whether many people will be too scared to come back out and take risks again.”


Fighting to survive

Still, the community is finding ways to remain supportive to help startups through the crisis, with most local programs moving online. The weekly 1 Million Cups meet up, for example, usually held at FatPipe, is now operating through a live-streamed format, Adkins said.

CNM Ingenuity, which manages all commercial endeavors for Central New Mexico Community College, has moved its programs online, including two new cohorts scheduled to start this month for Deep Dive Coding and the ActivateNM startup accelerator. ActivateNM, run by CNM Ingenuity’s ABQid business accelerator, also launched a free weekly online webinar series to help startups during the crisis, said ABQid Executive Director T.J. Cook.

The Creative Startups business accelerator moved its entire curriculum to an online format. And UNM’s Innovation Academy launched a free crash course online for existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to learn how to set up a virtual storefront and manage activities through the Internet.

Many entrepreneurs, meanwhile, say they’re determined to pull through.

Nicole Taylor, owner and CEO of pet care service House Nanny LLC, had to lay off 20 contract employees who walk, feed and care for customers’ dogs. Travel and stay-at-home restrictions mean fewer customers need dog-care services, and in any case, the governor has forced all “nonessential” businesses to shut down.

“We got hit pretty hard,” Taylor said. “We’re basically closed down with no cash flow.”

But Taylor is buckling down to await better times.

“We have a well-established client base, so when things start up again, we won’t be starting from scratch,” she said. “We will get through this thing.”

July 22, 2020

USPTO releases updated study on participation of women in the U.S. innovation economy

Press Release from United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released “Progress and Potential: 2020 Update on U.S. Women Inventor-Patentees,” a follow-up to its 2019 report on U.S. women inventors. The new report updates the previous findings based on a review of an additional nearly one million issued patents and three years of new data, and it provides further insights into the participation of women in America’s intellectual property systems.

The report’s numerous findings include:

  • More women are entering and staying active in the patent system than ever before.
  • The number of patents with at least one woman inventor increased from 20.7% in 2016 to 21.9% by the end of 2019.
  • The “Women Inventor Rate”–the share of U.S. inventors receiving patents who are women–increased from 12.1% in 2016 to 12.8% in 2019.
  • The share of women among new inventors on issued patents increased from 16.6% in 2016 to 17.3% by 2019.
  • The gender gap in the number of women inventors who remain active by patenting again within five years is decreasing. For the most recent group of new inventors, 46% of women patented again in the next five years versus 52% of men.
  • Among the leading patent filers, the 3M Company showed the largest improvement in the participation of women inventor-patentees: Their average increased from 15.2% over 2007- 2016 to 16.6% for 2007-2019.

“This report is a great achievement for the USPTO and an important steppingstone for women in America’s intellectual property systems,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The USPTO has remained committed in their efforts to support women in innovation, and this positive momentum will continue to create a more inclusive intellectual property community.”

“Today’s report from the USPTO further highlights the important contributions of women to American innovation,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley. “I applaud the USPTO for their support of women inventors and their work to encourage women to take advantage of our nation’s intellectual property protections, the gold standard for the world. Everyone benefits when women fully participate in our innovation ecosystem.”

“The good news is that efforts to increase the participation of women in the intellectual property system continue to yield results,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “To retain our nation’s edge as a global innovation leader, we need even broader participation in patenting. That’s why the USPTO has made outreach to underrepresented groups a top priority. We will continue to work with industry and academia to expand participation in the innovation ecosystem. We will also shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of past and present women inventors, and inventors from other underrepresented groups, to inspire a new generation to participate in innovation.”

Access the full report on the USPTO website.