Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Venture Acceleration Funds go to nine regional businesses to foster growth

Companies cover a wide range of products and services
July 1, 2013
Aerolenz, LLC founder Bill Kurtz stands next to the Aerogel filling apparatus

Aerolenz, LLC founder Bill Kurtz stands next to the Aerogel filling apparatus


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  • Kurt Steinhaus
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Venture Acceleration Funds go to nine regional businesses to foster growth

Nine local businesses ranging from startup mobile app developers to power-assisted bicycle components and an unmanned solar aircraft manufacturer are the latest recipients of $340,000 in Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) awards. $315,000 was invested from Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and $25,000 was contributed from the County of Los Alamos. David Pesiri, Division Leader for the Lab's Technology Transfer, states “Over the last two years, Los Alamos County has contributed over $75,000 in cash and in-kind resources in support of the Venture Acceleration Fund. We hope to see more communities contributing in the future to support the growth of exciting companies such as the current set of recipients. It’s a great partnership.”

LANS has invested $2.8 million in 39 northern New Mexico businesses since the inception of the VAF in 2006, and continues to boost area businesses exhibiting high growth potential in this year’s round of awards. Four companies from Santa Fe, two companies from Los Alamos, two companies from Rio Rancho and one from Moriarty are the recipients for 2013. The VAF program was created to commercialize technologies developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but has since expanded to include all types of businesses in all stages of development. Startups and early-stage companies are funded most often, and preference is given to companies based in the Northern New Mexico counties of Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Rio Arriba, Taos, San Miguel and Mora.

And the awardees are:

• Aerolenz, LLC of Santa Fe – VAF funds will allow the company to pursue the EPA Energy Star Rating for their highly insulated aerogel skylights. Energy Star certification will make Aerolenz products eligible for federal tax credits and incentives, encouraging consumers to save energy.

• Awesome Harvest, LLC of Santa Fe – The company has launched a line of patent-pending cloth growing pots (The Awesome Pot™) which allow plants to self-prune, thereby allowing growers to cultivate more efficiently. Funds will contribute to manufacturing and supporting their national debut at a key industry trade show.

• Customizabooks of Rio Rancho – This award will aid in establishing additional distribution channels for this book application, which ports existing books from a number of publishers into digital content. It will also allow for the creation of new books and help the company become a leader in the rapidly expanding digital market.

GeoEnergy Monitoring Systems, Inc. of Los Alamos – Funds will contribute to the development of a seismo-acoustic system to monitor seismic activity where hydrofracturing (fracking) and fluid injection projects are occurring. The smart-sensor technology will be offered to field operators at a fraction of the cost of current systems.

• NuAira, Inc. of Rio Rancho – The company will use the award to build a prototype of their Ultra-Lite Pedal Assist that runs on compressed air, which will enable them to open a beta-testing site in Taos and become a player in the quickly-expanding worldwide power-assisted bicycle market.

• PlanitMapper, LLC of Santa Fe – The VAF award will assist the startup in filing for patents, securing a mapping API, adding POI (points of interest) content and testing for their web application. The app gives users the ability to plan, map and share their adventures in all kinds of outdoor activities (climbing, skiing, kayaking, etc.).

• Seamless Medical Systems, LLC of Santa Fe – Funds will aid in developing the market share for their revolutionary iPad-based patient engagement platform for medical offices. SNAP™Practice captures patient intake data and integrates with electronic medical records, reducing errors and providing personalized healthcare for patients to help improve their health literacy and wellness.

• SportXast of Los Alamos – VAF funds will result in a beta mobile application and distribution through the Apple AppStore. The multi-user online video platform allows users to broadcast and share the media they record on a common timeline that can be accessed anywhere. “SportXast is licensing intellectual property from LANL and includes current and former LANL employees,” says Belinda Snyder, Program Manager for the Venture Acceleration Fund.

Titan Aerospace of Moriarty Solara is the world’s first low-cost, long-duration atmospheric satellite. Funds will assist testing of an advanced version of the company’s first prototype and will contribute to larger future models.

“Helping entrepreneurs learn and grow is one of the goals for our Los Alamos Connect program. Connect, which includes VAF, is coordinated with the Lab’s Technology Transfer Group, the Community Programs Office, and the non-profit Regional Development Corporation.  We plan to continue these collaborative investments to help other companies exhibiting high growth potential get started and succeed here in northern New Mexico,” states Kurt Steinhaus, Director of the Community Programs Office for the Laboratory.

The VAF program is administered through LANL’s Technology Transfer Division and Los Alamos Connect, the principal economic development investment by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the company that manages the Lab. In partnership with the Regional Development Corporation, Los Alamos Connect provides a variety of services to help businesses achieve growth, continued success and increase economic impact in Northern New Mexico.