WRITER: Dana Catron
Innovate New Mexico brought together the best and brightest researchers, scientists, and startups in a daylong technology showcase at Albuquerque’s Sandia Golf Club.
The event featured research coming out of New Mexico’s six leading technology-transfer organizations: the three federal laboratories – Air Force
Research Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories – and the state’s three research institutions – New Mexico State University (via Arrowhead Center), New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and University of New Mexico (via STC.UNM).
Innovate NM is a bi-annual, statewide, collaborative event highlighting research and technology opportunities, start-up companies, and economic development resources from leading research institutions in the State of New Mexico. The daylong showcase included “pitches” from investigators and researchers from the six institutions, with a defined format and a panel of “sharks.” Innovate NM also featured seventeen local startups in both an exhibition hall and lunchtime panel.
Throughout the day, it was clear that innovation, and the continuing development of a thriving innovation ecosystem, was a frontrunner in New Mexico’s growing economy.
“Innovation creates diversification,” said Barbara Brazil, deputy cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. “Diversification leads to a more robust economy for all New Mexicans.”
Throughout the day, featured technologies ranged from building blocks made from recycled paper waste to innovative sensors to fusion energy. Three NMSU technologies from two faculty members and one student were featured at the showcase.
“This was our second Innovate NM technology showcase. Corporate technology scouts and investors from within and out of the state were impressed by our first showcase in April. Development of strong, commercially viable technologies, investment and licensing negotiations, and new industry-university collaborations are the exciting results coming out of both Innovate NM events,” said Terry Lombard, director of intellectual property and technology transfer at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center.
Luke Smith, CEO of organic pesticide startup EcoSeal, joined four other New Mexico startups during the lunch panel to discuss the challenges and benefits he’s encountered during his entrepreneurial journey. Smith licensed his technology, developed in the labs of NMSU, and created his startup company.
“I’m a one-man show,” Smith said. “Arrowhead has provided helpful guidance and opportunities for fundraising.”
Smith attributes state resources such as Arrowhead Center, the NMSBA program and Technology Research Collaborative funding as three key contributors to his development and success.
Satyajayant “Jay” Misra, an associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NMSU, presented his novel coding technology to “sharks” Lucrece Borrego, John Chavez and Wayne Laslie. Misra pointed to the popular home control system, Nest, and how it has been mining data from users for years. His technology uses Huffman coding to increase security for numerous applications, such as home monitoring, wearable devices for health monitoring, smart electricity grid and metering system monitoring, among others.
Krishna Kota’s novel approach for altering the wetting properties of metals was presented by NMSU graduate student Ryan Holguin, who has worked extensively on the project. Kota is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NMSU, and has several patents filed through Arrowhead Center’s IP office.
“We’re excited to include Dr. Kota among our featured Research Inventors in our Arrowhead Center Annual Report. He is an excellent example of the research expertise, dedication and excellence that NMSU offers,” Lombard said.
The event also afforded researchers and startups the opportunity to connect with sources of funding.
“I made connections with three venture capitalists and also a researcher from the LG Company,” Misra said. “All-in-all, this was an event I would highly recommend.”