Arrowhead Innovation Fund (AIF), housed at New Mexico State University, will host a free online pitch competition designed to attract the most promising startups in New Mexico.(Courtesy photo)
The competition will provide a platform to feature brand-new technologies and allow startups to seek out new partnerships and win cash prizes, consulting services and access to resources. The online event will run from 3 to 5 p.m. March 4, 2021, via Zoom. AIF will facilitate the interaction of the participants, judges, investors.
The pitch competition will also be broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube.
“Innovation and creativity do not take time off. In fact, during challenging times, entrepreneurs work harder than ever. In March, we challenge them to share their and gain traction to make those ideas a reality,” said Beto Pallares, AIF fund manager.
AIF is a venture capital fund focused on seed and early-stage investments to commercialize promising technologies developed and licensed by New Mexico startup companies. AIF is looking for startups working in the agriculture, biotechnology, health devices, information technology, engineering, energy and water technology industry sectors.
Startups may apply at https://www.aifvc.com/pitchcompetition/. Interested attendees may also register to watch for free. The 10 best startups will be invited to present live and compete for awards in front of potential investors and ecosystem players.
Awards for the top three participants include cash, credit with legal firms, credit with consulting firms, IBM Cloud credits, Amazon Web Service credits, prototyping assistance and access to Arrowhead Center’s network of advisers.
Investors and judges include Pallares, Arrowhead Center Director Kathryn Hansen, Drew Tulchin of New Mexico Angels, City of Las Cruces Economic Development Director Griselda Martinez, Samara Hernandez of Chingona Ventures, Julia Wise of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Myrrah Tomar of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, Deborah Peacock of Peacock Law, Jeff Villalobos of Vela Wood and Dan Brooks of Sun Mountain Capital.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to pitch in investors and ecosystem players in New Mexico, but it’s also a great place to see what the competition looks like for other entrepreneurs,” Hansen said.
AIF has commitments for a total investment of $800,000 from New Mexico’s Catalyst Fund, a $20 million “fund of funds” to support New Mexico companies, and $500,000 from the NMSU Foundation, as well as a $300,000 grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program and other private investors.
AIF stands at $2 million in commitments and is looking for companies with entrepreneurs fully committed to growing and scaling their company and who are seeking between $25,000 and $200,000 in investment toward their total seed round fundraising target.