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Home | Tag Archives: AgSprint

Tag Archives: AgSprint

AgSprint alum business building their workforce in New Mexico for a global industry

While farmers can walk their fields, the years of data they might have about their crops can overwhelm them, especially when they need to make quick decisions when diseases strike.

This is where Emerging Technology Ventures Inc. comes in, automating the walking of the fields with drones and recommending immediately actionable remedies from analyzed data.

It was at AgSprint, a business accelerator program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, where ETV was able to hone in on their customer’s needs.

“We had an idea of what our GreenAI could do but were able to see that farmers needed actual remedies for diseases in their crop, and fast,” said Cliff Hudson, ETV’s chief technology officer.

During AgSprint, ETV was able to take a deep dive into customer discovery, where they took stock of the data farmers already had, but which the farmers were unable to process quickly. ETV uses drones and robots augmented with artificial intelligence to sift through new data and analyze that alongside previously collected data sets to give farmers precisely the right recommendations for their field and specific crops.

ETV won a $20,000 investment in GreenAI, sponsored by Arrowhead’s industry partner New Mexico Gas Company, at AgSprint. This allowed ETV to grow its business by recruiting employees – ETV is on track to have 24 in New Mexico and one in Indiana – and educate a budding workforce by bringing on interns from NMSU, Navajo Technical University and high school students interested in robotics or coding.

Software engineer Ziad Arafat came on to work with ETV as an intern while he was in a local robotics team.

“I started programming at 15, but it’s hard to learn when you don’t have a project to move forward with,” said Arafat, who is heading to NMSU in the fall to study artificial intelligence.

“Now I make the prototype user interfaces for GreenAI,” he said. “More than just doing focused programming, I’ve also been able to learn soft skills, like collaboration and how to make better documentation like for our partners at Sandia Laboratories.”

“These partnerships with groups like Sandia Laboratories, Arrowhead Center, and New Mexico Small Business Assistance program have been a real driving reason why we selected New Mexico for ETV,” said Hudson. “The state did a great job recruiting us as a place to nurture business with great incentives like job training programs, local economic development acts, plus recognizing that businesses don’t always make money right out of the box and can’t necessarily use tax credits but will need partnerships to drive their growth.”

Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Center’s Sprint Accelerator programs, said, “We have built a strong network of industry leaders who want to see economic growth in our state and are willing to give time as a resource to help these startups refine their vision and strategies, to set them up for the best success that will be to the advantage to generations of New Mexicans.”

ETV has expanded its reach from the ground to the skies with SkyAI, a drone specifically suited to wind turbines.

“Our advantage over the competition is that while there are other companies with drones, they only use visual examination. We use visual, thermal and lidar, which is a pulsed laser light that can make a 3D representation,” said Hudson. “The drone shows the leading edge of a wind turbine blade and scout for any cracks and how to take corrective actions before catastrophic failures set in. What we do with SkyAI in an hour takes a day to do manually.”

ETV will be presenting in May at the 2019 Industry Growth Forum in Denver and at the upcoming MassChallenge Texas in Houston Round 2 in June. The most exciting adventure is ahead of them this fall as they travel overseas, representing one of 12 technologies selected by the U.S.-China Innovation Alliance’s InnoSTARS Houston Competition to head to proceed to the next round of competition and investor discussions in China.

“Winning has helped us validate and refine our technology because these are industry experts judging our work,” said Hudson. “Our technology’s architecture can move into sensing and action in complex environments, especially critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, dams, cell towers, and power polls. Once we have data sets, we will be able to move into other markets very quickly.”

To learn more about how Arrowhead Center’s AgSprint business accelerator program is facilitating innovation in agriculture in partnership with industry partners, visit their website, or contact Sloan at 575-646-7833 or

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

NMSU Arrowhead Center’s 2018 AgSprint Business Accelerator Showcases Diverse Cohort

For the second year, groundbreaking innovation is taking place with a cohort of entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector. New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center AgSprint accelerator is in full swing, as the cohort of eight companies looks to disrupt industry status quo.

AgSprint offers innovators in agriculture the tools to perform customer discovery in a cohort setting. Teams selected for the program receive education, mentorship and funding, including $2,000 in participant support and one $20,000 investment.

“We are thrilled to host this exceptional accelerator class,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead’s Sprint Accelerator programs. “This distinct cohort reflects the diverse industries, age ranges, ethnicities and gender that is truly indicative of the New Mexico landscape. We look forward to continue working closely with each team to strategically refine and progress their businesses, by tapping our curated network of mentors, speakers and funders.”

Teams do not need any prior NMSU affiliation to be considered and can participate in the program’s curriculum and weekly workshops virtually or in person. The five-month program is sponsored by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and New Mexico Gas Company.

Fifty percent of this year’s companies are women-led and collectively, and 72 percent of Arrowhead’s Sprint Accelerator programs (AgSprint, HealthSprint and BizSprint) are comprised of women, veteran or minority owners.

The companies currently participating in the 2018 cohort are:

— Reap’s data-driven app helps farmers plan and predict crop cycles and comply with regulations and certifications, saving time, money and guesswork.
— Exotic Harvest Gourmet provides fresh, high quality, sustainably grown gourmet foods including escargot, freshwater blue lobsters, organic produce, spices and herbs to chefs, restaurants and those interested in natural foods.
— Wellspring Water Technologies uses unique, proprietary technologies to solve the agricultural, commercial and residential water quality and supply problems that no one else can.
— Dr. Child’s bitter herbal remedies, gathered from the high desert of northern New Mexico, help prevent infection and treat inflammation of the upper respiratory tract associated with the exposure to dry air and altitude. The company uses wild-harvested herbal ingredients that have a long history in herbal medicine and now have a mechanism of action backed by medical research.
— Sustainable Planet Solutions designs solar portable power systems for remote location use.
— GreenAI crop analytics turns data into field ready, actionable decisions to get the most out of every acre.
— FieldMAK’s modular, rugged sensor array will allow on-site, rapid testing for farmers, resulting in better yields, cheaper costs and halted diseases.
— Food-Origins brings the benefits of IOT to high value, hand-picked crops.

The cohort companies have had multiple successes over the duration of the AgSprint program; MagPi Innovations, creators of FieldMAK, secured $25,000 at the University of New Mexico as first place winner of their Business Plan Competition, Food-Origins secured $20,000 at the Startups Ventura County competition, and Systems Technology Solutions, LLC, creator of GreenAI, was accepted into AgriNovus, Indiana’s agbiosciences industry sector initiative.

AgSprint doesn’t just prepare teams for a demo-day, the program prepares them to continue to innovate. Arrowhead accelerators provide additional programs and tools to support teams’ transitions to next steps.

At the conclusion of the customer discovery section of the accelerator curriculum, the cohort participated in a Strategic Doing workshop to plan next steps in their commercialization process. Strategic Doing, developed at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, is an innovative thinking/doing process based on agile software development.

The discipline manages the tension around collaboration by teaching participants how to form sophisticated collaborations quickly, move towards measurable outcomes, and make incremental adjustments and pivots as circumstances change.

Each week for the remainder of the five-month program, the teams will meet with business development, investment, and science and technology advisors. In addition, network expertise is supplemented with Enterprise Advisors and subject matter experts from the Arrowhead Innovation Network.

Post-accelerator and beyond, the teams become members of Arrowhead Ventures, a next steps program that keeps teams connected to Arrowhead resources as they continue their path to commercialization.

Services include access to Arrowhead’s enterprise advisor network, online entrepreneurship curriculum models for self-paced learning, eligibility for the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, an early stage seed investment fund, advising and support from the Arrowhead team, follow on funding opportunities and general support for business development and momentum.

The culminating AgAssembly conference will take place on Septeber 6 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. With industry partner New Mexico Gas Company, an Emera Company, the conference offers a chance for the AgSprint cohort to pitch to industry experts and investors.

The event brings together a group of productive local and national ag-market leaders to talk about demands from the frontlines, translating ideas from vision to reality, and the future of agricultural technology.

Author: Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Helps Company Develop ‘Wild Horse Feeding Stations’

Roch Hart is a third-generation New Mexican with a deep, genuine appreciation for the land and its expansive mountains, desert and scrub, and the petroglyphs that adorn far reaches of the private, 20,000-acre ranch he manages.

Hart recognizes that preservation is the key to maintaining New Mexico’s land heritage.

As a retired police officer, former plant manager, tour guide operator and photographer, Hart maintains that he became a rancher almost by accident. It is through this position that he’s used entrepreneurial thinking to to identify a problem at his workplace, in this case a 20,000 acre ranch, and develop a solution for a costly situation.

There’s a wild horse problem in New Mexico, as well as all of the arid west, and the general public is in the dark about the issue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management spends an astonishing $80 million dollars per year on the capture and care of overpopulated wild horses, also known as feral horses.

Hart worries that the public won’t react until the more inhumane options of mass roundups and euthanasia become visible and routine.

His company, Wildlife Protection Management, developed an innovative, scalable and humane option. It is a feeding station for wild horses that is equipped with the capability for remote injection of contraceptives. This patent-pending method is conducted with remote delivery. After the horse has placed itself in the proper position, an operator nearly 300 miles away is able to dispatch the injection via video surveillance and controls.

Hart is a graduate of Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s AgSprint program, a five-month accelerator for innovation in agriculture, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and New Mexico Gas Company.

Wild horses are merely startled, not hurt, and return almost immediately to graze at the feed station. In addition to the contraceptive, and in anticipation of Radio-Frequency Identification technology, the system has the capability to deliver a microchip so that horses can be monitored for health and behavior.

The system has been proven to fire at least two darts at once, which could include a combination of contraceptive, RFID chip and/or vaccination.

“The system has produced a ‘wow’ effect,” Hart said. “This is really game-changing and will form a new industry. No one in the world has tried to do this yet.”

Hart anticipates the next prototype, enhanced with solar power and other features, to be ready in April. Experts are supportive of WPM’s innovation prototype and its vast possibilities.

“The remote capability of the WPM device is an amazing tool in that it saves time and manpower. The ability to deliver vaccine or birth control in this method is far more humane than having to chase these feral horses, for capture and vaccination or individually darting from a distance,” said Dr. Ralph Zimmerman, New Mexico State Veterinarian. “To have the ability to maintain the needs of the horses(or other potential target species with minimal fear and stress to these animals is huge. The system could also be used to sedate adoptable animals for handling and adoption, providing another non-lethal method of population control. Obviously, in this case you could schedule appropriate staffing for safe horse handling.”

The innovation is also a species-specific target, which means that the technology used to humanely control wild horse populations can also be adapted to feral dogs, feral pigs, deer, and other wild animals.

Wildlife Protection Management is in the process of raising funds for another round of efficacy testing, focused in part on RFID delivery “a vital step toward attracting additional federal grants and private investment.” The company launched a crowdfunding campaign this month, and they aim to raise $50,000 to continue testing the humane and cost-saving solution.

Click on the highlighted text to support WPM’s crowdfunding campaign to preserve both New Mexico’s wild horse legacy as well as its enchanted land.

Author: : Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU’s AgSprint Accelerator Selects First Participants

Six promising startup companies that are developing technology in all areas of agriculture have been selected for a new accelerator program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center.

The AgSprint accelerator, part of the Arrowhead Technology Incubator, is a five-month venture-builder program designed to support innovation in agriculture by connecting agricultural entrepreneurs to financing, demonstration and validation partners, academic faculty, corporate partners and more.

The cohort of participants includes:

— Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, which is bringing microlivestock to the range as Colorado’s first and only edible insect farm. They sell edible insects to restaurants, food manufacturers and anyone daring enough to choose delicious, nutritious and sustainable food.

— Wildlife Protection Management, which offers a platform to manage and protect wildlife using non-invasive humane means, making it easier, more comprehensive and affordable to set goals for species populations and habitat health.

— Ag Coalition, which offers a digital marketplace where all parties, from suppliers to producers to retailers, may review, evaluate, purchase, and otherwise conduct business in the agricultural supply chain.

— Revolution Agriculture, which creates closed-system, organic farms that produce eight times the yield per square foot, run 100% on renewable energy, use 90% less water, and empower communities to solve food insecurity locally and in any environment.

— Gonzo Farms, which created the Eddy 2.0 Vortex Brewer, which increases beneficial microbes and fungi for optimum reproduction in your soil.

— Enchanted Seeds and Sustainable Management, which offers a management decision platform and certification program that helps agricultural producers properly identify potential products to reach sustainability while considering economics and future agricultural production.

The program’s first five weeks will follow the I-Corps model that tests the feasibility of the venture. I-Corps is a National Science Foundation initiative to leverage university research to create new innovative businesses and increase the economic impact of inventions created at research institutions around the country.

NMSU is one of only 51 academic institutions nationwide to be selected as an I-Corps Site.

Graduates of the AgSprint accelerator will receive $2,000 and the necessary National Science Foundation lineage to apply for the $50,000 national I-Corps program.

Additionally, applicants will be able to receive up to three micro-grants, valued at $650, to cover the expenses of professional services such as technical writing, website development, counsel on patents and technology licensing, and regulatory consulting. Those who show promise will also be invited to continue the program for the next four months, and will be eligible to apply for investment from the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, a venture capital fund focused on seed and early-stage funding for NMSU- and Arrowhead Center-affiliated projects.

Funding for AgSprint is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center program and New Mexico Gas Co.

For more information about Arrowhead Center, the Arrowhead Technology Incubator or the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, click HERE.

Author:  Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center launches AgSprint Program to Support Innovation in Agriculture

A new program by New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center is offering help to those looking to develop innovative ideas related to agricultural technology.

The Arrowhead Technology Incubator is launching AgSprint, a five-month venture builder program designed to support innovation in agriculture, early this spring. AgSprint acts as a facilitator, connecting agricultural entrepreneurs to financing, demonstration and validation partners, academic faculty, corporate partners and more.

“The ideal candidate would be someone who is very driven, seeking capital, industry connections and/or development partners, and is who is very passionate about contributing to efficiency and productivity in agriculture,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator. “Ag tech applicants run the gamut from basic business operations – reducing paperwork, improving productivity and enabling e-commerce – to specialties such as drone and robotic technology for overseeing fields, moisture levels, pesticide and fertilizer usage and equipment, as well as for developing new seed varieties and predicting crop yields and commodity prices.”

Sloan said that the initial three weeks of the program will follow the ICORPS model that tests the feasibility of the venture. Graduates will receive $2,000 and the necessary National Science Foundation lineage to apply for the $50,000 national ICORPS program. Additionally, applicants will be able to receive up to three micro-grants, valued at $650, to cover the expenses of professional services such as technical writing, website development, counsel on patents and technology licensing, and regulatory consulting. Those who show promise will also be invited to continue the program for the next four months. Participants are able to access the program remotely.

AgSprint is of particular importance to NMSU as the university board of regents oversees both the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Rolando Flores, dean of ACES, is supportive of AgSprint.

“One of the college’s priorities is in the area of value added,” Flores said. “AgSprint is a great avenue for our faculty to contribute their knowledge and expertise to advance agribusiness initiatives that can positively impact the economy of our state.”

AgSprint-supported ventures will receive customized support tailored to each entrepreneur’s unique path to business development and financial success. Along with the Arrowhead Investment Fund, AgSprint can tap into private, state and federal funding, curate a list of opportunities and assist with proposal/pitch development to make time-to-market more efficient.

Founded by civic leaders, AgSprint’s mission is equal parts public and private and designed to bridge the gap between what people need and what governments can provide. AgSprint will focus on developing ideas in areas such as animal health and nutrition; bioenergy; drones and robotics; food technology, safety and traceability; and soil and crop technology, among other themes.

By bringing together researchers, regulatory consultants, public/private funders, ag business experts and technical resources, AgSprint offers a wealth of knowledge under one roof.

Funding for AgSprint is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center program and New Mexico Gas Co.

The deadline to apply is March 10. The program will begin in early April. For more information, visit

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

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