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Monday , October 22 2018
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Tag Archives: nmsu arrowhead center

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

Business Owner, NMSU’s Arrowhead Center hope to create Jobs, Ecosystem with Biorefinery

In the small Route 66 town of Tucumcari, N.M, scientist and inventor Bob Hockaday recently made a move to help revitalize business in an innovative way.

Beyond the retro hotel and gas station neon signage that characterizes the town, Hockaday purchased a defunct ethanol plant with strategic plans to outfit it as a biorefinery, a business that would create not just jobs, but an ecosystem within the community that is a hub for rural ranchers.

Hockaday is a creative problem-solver and successful scientist with multiple patents and revolutionary inventions and ideas who has spent more than 40 years building a significant contribution to the scientific community. He is president of Energy Related Devices, Inc., a company he founded in 1994 with the ultimate goal to “change the world one energy solution at a time.” Hockaday said his company ERD was “created to manifest the vision that energy can be produced cleanly, simply and economically through technologies modeled on systems in nature.”

The biorefinery expedition is partially a result of collaboration with the Arrowhead Technology Incubator at New Mexico State University. ATI is an intensive startup development program dedicated to bringing technology to market in the areas of water, energy, agriculture and heath care information technology. ATI, which works with Hockaday on a handful of different technologies, was intimately involved in Hockaday’s process, from crafting a business model to financial analysis, to working to secure investors and identify a customer base that will purchase the biorefinery’s bi-product. ATI also conducted an economic impact study in 2015 for the purposes of securing a Local Economic Development, or LEDA, grant.

On June 15, through a LEDA grant from the City of Tucumcari, ERD purchased the former ethanol plant at 1600 Rock Island Road. In partnership with Robert Lopez, a Tucumcari farmer, the company plans to reconfigure the plant as an integration of dairy farming, feedlots, municipal waste, bio-fuel production, and greenhouse farming which can be utilized to obtain a more productive and less water-consuming agriculture. This business synergism takes advantage of the unique features and resources in Tucumcari.

ERD plans to reconfigure the refinery in a series of step modifications. First, the company will clean the site and refurbish the existing truck scale, grain silos and hammer mill to enable grain storage up to 77,500 bushels and to provide milled feed. Additional storage may be added. The second step will be to refurbish and reconfigure the ethanol fermenters to optimize the anaerobic digestion of 32,000 tons of manure, whey and garbage per year into pipeline quality methane and high purity grade carbon dioxide. The third step will be to provide a liquid or solid fertilizer delivery service to farms. The last steps will be to add solar and wind energy cost-saving features and to capture and utilize the hydrogen byproducts from the high temperature digestion process.

“We want to ensure a synergistic relationship with our suppliers and customers, while improving the performance of our farming,” Hockaday said.

In full operation, the plant is expected to employ 20 skilled workers. For now, ERD’s next step is enlisting supplier and customer contracts.

“Bob is pushing the innovation envelope and creating new economic opportunities for his community and for New Mexico,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of ATI. “We are thrilled to have contributed to his successful agri-tech commercialization and startup creation.”

To apply to Arrowhead Technology Incubator or for more information, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/ati.

ATI is supported in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization.

Author: Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU Alumni Working with Arrowhead to Develop Technology for Senior Citizens

For Tiara Grant, relocating from Albuquerque to Las Cruces for an intensive 12-week pre-incubation program at Arrowhead Technology Incubator (ATI) was an easy move.

“I knew that New Mexico State University had a strong engineering program,” said Grant. “After researching numerous incubators, I decided ATI could best help me achieve my goals.”

Grant is a NMSU alumni and has worked in the information technology field since 2008, studying areas in information security, secure coding practices and object oriented programming languages, database and network design, IT project management and unified modeling language, or UML. While earning her master’s in computer science, Grant knew she wanted to develop a technology that would focus on senior care.

Her company, Omnius Technologies, will allow her to focus on the development of a technology that will help senior citizens stay independent at home through the use of a personal emergency alert system.

“While at ATI, I hope to explore the market potential of my technology, create a white paper and market/communications plan, and explore SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer) funding opportunities,” said Grant. “I have an intense desire to help senior citizens while reducing the costs associated with hospital stays.”

Grant’s technology is comprised of a personal emergency alert system that will work with wireless sensors to transmit information to a secure cloud server and monitor for potential emergencies 24/7. If an emergency should occur, a trained call representative will first assess the situation through video or a phone call, then contact emergency services if the emergency is deemed critical.

“As the older adult’s transitions through the personas, the application will promote a higher quality of life in an independent living setting, reduce trips to the ER, and take a more proactive approach than the current personal emergency alert devices in fall detection, dementia and Alzheimer location management, treatment management and health and wellness management,” Grant said.

The application will collect data including bathroom usage, wakefulness, food preparation (in case an oven or stove is left on), home temperature, medication adherence and the monitoring of vital signs such heart rate, weight scale, body temperature, blood pressure, respiration and glucose levels, as well as the sensors built into the home to administer and monitor prescription usage.

Grant is also working with Arrowhead Center’s NM FAST program to submit a Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) proposal to fund the development of this technology.

Author: Dana Catron – NMSU

NMSU Arrowhead Center to Promote Local Companies with Crowdfunding Campaign

This year, four companies are participating in CrucesKick, a partnership between Arrowhead Center and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA). CrucesKick, which launched Feb. 29, is a fast-moving crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise funds and awareness of local companies’ products and offerings

Working together, MVEDA and Arrowhead are combining their expertise in economic development and business assistance to get these crowdfunding campaigns off the ground.

The four participating companies, which include EcoSeal, New Mexico Shrimp Co., BowWow Blends, and Roots Leather Company, have been busy creating their crowdfunding pages and short campaign videos.

“CrucesKick participants have been working with our video production team, campaign strategists, editors, and marketing advisors for months,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator. “I can’t wait for them to unveil their crowdfunding campaigns to all of their supporters.”

Shannon Murray, owner of BowWow Blends, created a Power Fruit Dog Smoothie after her Golden Retriever Ruby had continual gastrointestinal issues. She sees CrucesKick as a wonderful opportunity and is excited to see where it will take her small business.

“It’s great to be on the ground floor of this type of project, working with Arrowhead and their resources,” Murray said. “We certainly couldn’t have pulled something like this off without all of their help and guidance.”

Another participant, Maria Colato, was born and raised in Guatemala City and created Roots Leather Company to showcase her culture in handbags, boots and accessories.

“CrucesKick is the perfect nursery for our business ideas,” she said. “With their help, now we are reaching high and ‘our roots’ are starting to grow deep and strong.”

Kathryn Hansen, Arrowhead’s director, is eager for the exposure CrucesKick will bring to these companies.

“CrucesKick provides a great opportunity for product promotion and fundraising for our local businesses,” she said. “Arrowhead is dedicated to providing its resources as part of an entrepreneurial environment that supports startups, young firms and expanding businesses.”

Davin Lopez, president and CEO of MVEDA, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming crowdfunding campaign.

“MVEDA is excited to be part of what we believe to be a first of its kind economic development effort,” said Lopez. “We realize that we cannot just duplicate other programs found elsewhere if we are truly going to foster growth. Instead, we need to be just as innovative as those companies we hope to support, and that is exactly what CrucesKick accomplishes.”

CrucesKick is sponsored in part by the U.S. Economic Development Department’s University Center Program.

To follow the crowdfunding campaigns, visit the CrucesKick page at http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/cruceskick/

Author: Dana Catron – NMSU

NMSU Arrowhead Center wins fifth NSF award for developing innovative technologies

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center has received its fifth award from the National Science Foundation I-Corps this year.

Created in 2011, the I-Corps is a program of initiatives designed to foster entrepreneurship among scientists and engineers with the goal of commercializing NSF-funded basic research. In October, I-Corps awarded an NMSU-based team $50,000 to conduct market research to commercialize an organic pesticide technology.

I-Corps teams participate in an intensive seven-week course to learn the I-Corps process and interview more than 100 potential customers to understand the market for a new discovery arising out of academic research. I-Corps teams incorporate three members: a student entrepreneurial lead, a principal investigator and a business mentor.

The I-Corps team that won the most recent award has developed a patent pending eco-friendly, organic, plant essential oil-based bio-pesticide called NMX that has been demonstrated to be an effective and safe plant fungicide, bactericide, nematicide and insecticide. NMX has been tested in laboratory, greenhouse, and field trials both in Mexico and the U.S. on a variety of plants, including tomatoes, chiles, jalapenos, bell pepper and turfgrass.

Currently NMX is being tested on representative insects, is being registered with the EPA as a biopesticide and is registered with the EPA biopesticide division as a biochemical.

The pesticide “is an incredible discovery” said team mentor and Studio G Director Kramer Winingham. “We’re very excited to participate in I-Corps to help bring this safe organic pesticide to market.”

Five other I-Corps teams have also been mentored at Arrowhead recently, including a team working on the development of non-weighted digital circuits for low power medical devices aimed at baby boomers. The devices will sense, process and transmit biomedical signals and identify abnormal signals using predefined algorithms and signal processing hardware, and call for help when necessary.

“Getting into a program like NSF I-Corps is really going to assist this very promising early stage technology find the right market application,” said team mentor Jason Koenig.

I-Corps teams based at NMSU are also working on a revolutionary technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions and significantly reduce pollution worldwide, creating and developing learning products using games and animations to help students better understand math, low-cost reduced-gravity technologies that will better prepare astronauts for space missions, and developing portable protection shields for use by civilians during violent attacks.

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez NMSU