With low capital expenditure requirements, quick development timelines and large market opportunities, software start-ups remain a darling in the world of venture capital. With $11 billion invested via venture capital into over 1,500 software deals, 2013 saw the largest investment in the sector since the year 2000, both in terms of dollars and number of deals. The total venture capital dollars invested in the space increased 27% over 2012. The deal flow of software opportunities in New Mexico has picked up with a number of promising companies starting up or expanding.

Our April 2014 Coronado Ventures Forum event will feature a panel of entrepreneurs developing software companies in New Mexico. We will discuss trends in the industry, challenges to software companies specific to New Mexico and how we expect the software industry to change in 2014 and beyond.



Molly CernicekMolly Cernicek

Molly is founder and CEO of SportXast, a New Mexico company bringing crowdcasting via the smartphone to amateur sports. She started her career at Los Alamos National Laboratory identifying commercialization opportunities in Russian institutes in an effort to reduce nuclear proliferation. She spun out of LANL with a Russian technology and co-founded Volius, a growing telecom company in Moscow.  Prior to SportXast, she worked as a consultant for LabStart, identifying technology with market potential in New Mexico laboratories. She holds a MS in Science & Technology Commercialization (UT Austin), a Masters in International Affairs (University of Pittsburgh), and a BA in Social Sciences (UC Berkeley). She played varsity soccer at Cal and has a US Soccer Federation “A” Coaching License.

Scott MaloneyScott Maloney
CEO, Seed Worthy

Scott is the CEO and Co-Founder of Seed Worthy, an internet tech company focused on providing the fastest, most innovative launch platform for developers through their feature product BowTie.  Prior to Seed Worthy, Scott was VP of Strategy and Operations for @Pay, a mobile payment startup where he led the @Pay Product and Production teams, as well as provided direct leadership for all strategic initiatives.  Before that he was Senior Operations and Strategy Manager for LivingSocial, where he was responsible for leadership of several operational and strategic teams, and a key driver of growth for one of the company’s fastest growing divisions.  As a finance lead to the Emerging Markets Unit at Pfizer, Scott provided business development and financial efforts for nearly $400M in partnerships deals and international operations. Scott is a third generation entrepreneur, sits on the board of several companies, consults for clients around the country, and guest lectures on business strategy and innovation at universities and conferences.

Travis KellermanTravis Kellerman
Co-Founder/CEO, Bandojo 

Travis is the Co-Founder of Bandojo, which seeks to musically empower the disability, education, and general consumer communities through data musification and music creation technology. He worked extensively in the world of politics and organizational startups before joining the early core team of Lavu Inc and continuing through a high growth phase in many capacities. His past government and political experience varied from campaign management and public policy to non-profit startups and multi-body lobbying on many levels. He has filled a number of executive management roles ranging from corporate strategy and international business development to branding, public relations, and high-level operations development. Current adventures and advisement also include the space of international payments, an active PR and tech business consultancy, and improving the group travel experience with fresh algorithms, software, and talented humans at ComboTrip, a group travel planning startup.


Katie Szczepaniak RiceKatie Szczepaniak Rice
Senior Associate and Director of NM office, EPIC Ventures

Katie Szczepaniak Rice is a Senior Associate and head of the New Mexico office for Epic Ventures, an early-stage technology venture capital fund headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT. Katie focuses on new investments in software and technology, and she is on the boards of Lavu Inc., DOTGO and Figaro. Prior to joining Epic, Katie was a strategic market analyst at Cabot Corporation in advanced materials for alternative energy markets. Before Cabot, Katie was a consultant with Kline & Co., a management consulting firm serving Fortune 100 companies as well as emerging businesses. Before Kline, Katie was a field engineer in the energy sector for Schlumberger in France.

Katie is the president of the Coronado Ventures Forum, and she has advisory and board positions with several organizations including WESST, NMVCA, the UNM Economic Development Advisory Group, and the Los Alamos National Labs Venture Acceleration Fund. Katie has taught a class in technology entrepreneurship at UNM’s Anderson School of Business, and she has been selected as a New Mexico “40 Under Forty” business leader. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She is based in Albuquerque, NM.


Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Time: 6-8 pm 
Venue: Prairie Star Restaurant
288 Prairie Star Rd.
Bernalillo, NM 87004
Cost: $22.50 in advance (credit card payments); $25 at the door (cash and check only).



Healthcare and life sciences occupy more the 18% of the U.S. economy and are a core area of entrepreneurialism and investment. New Mexico has an important history of innovation in the healthcare and life sciences industries, including one of the largest university technology transfer wins ever – the nicotine patch invented at New Mexico Tech in the late 1970s. With the intellectual engines of the national lab system and our research universities, there are many opportunities in this industry for both innovators and investors.

However, understanding how to find and commercialize on these opportunities is challenging as information is non-centralized, uncoordinated, and not especially visible. So come and join CVF as we shed light on this under-represented part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the State. We are honored to feature Stuart Rose, Founder of The BioScience Center in Albuquerque, for a keynote address, then we will open things up for a dynamic panel discussion including leaders of New Mexican healthcare and life sciences companies. Each of our panelists will be asked to explore the opportunities and challenges of the industry and operating within the New Mexican ecosystem. Audience participation will be encouraged through an interactive question and answer session.

Featured Speaker

Stuart RoseStuart Rose
Founder of The BioScience Center 

Stuart Rose is a Ph.D. Chemist by training and an evangelist for entrepreneur-ism at heart. Even in the corporate world, where he held numerous executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry, he was always a maverick. Stu has lived and worked outside the USA (from Puerto Rico to Moscow) and built companies throughout Europe and Asia, including in China and India. After departing big Pharma, he became involved in a number of turnarounds and startups. In 2008, he purchased a failing Albuquerque company, rebranded and turned it around as Oso Biopharmaceuticals Manufacturing and handed it over to the next generation of management, all within 3 1/2 years. Last year, he purchased a vacant Albuquerque building and created the highly successful BioScience Center, New Mexico’s first privately-funded, for profit business incubator. He will talk about how he thinks NM can turn around its economy by becoming a haven for startups and small businesses.


Lori UphamLori Upham
Owner, Upham BioConsulting

Upham BioConsulting provides strategic, marketing, and financial services to start up biotechnology companies. Loraine is a co-inventor of a novel diabetes treatment and a co-founder of CureDM, the company that licensed the drug in a $335M deal with Sanofi-Aventis in 2010. As founding CEO of CureDM, she successfully obtained start up financing and engineered partnerships to conduct basic research and establish the proof of concept. Her 28 year career in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries include four years of cloning and expression research in the Molecular Genetics Research Department at Eli Lilly and Company. Subsequent to Lilly, Lori joined Merck and Co. and then ventured into the realm of smaller companies both in the device and biotechnology areas, including a decade in nuclear and fluorescence detection instrumentation and assay development at Packard BioScience (now Perkin Elmer), and two years in process and business development at Prolexys Pharmaceuticals. Lori holds a BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Arizona State University.

Bob CurtisBob Curtis
President and CEO, Respira Therapeutics

Bob has 35+ years of medical technology company operating experience, with 25+ years at the CEO level, having raised and invested $195+ million in VC and corporate transactions and served as CEO of eleven medical technology-driven start-ups in multiple specialty markets ranging from seed-stage venture backed start-ups to turnarounds. Eight of these companies had subsequent liquidity events for investors. Before Respira, Bob served as President and CEO of MyoScience. Prior to MyoScience, Bob served as Principal of Robert Curtis Associates and as CEO of Medtech Ventures, a VC incubator. Bob has also served as CEO of multiple medical technology firms: Avasca Medical, CardiacMD/AorTx, HemoSense, Artemis Medical, Norborn/Revascular Therapeutics, Eunoe, Urosystems, Autogenics/Arbor Surgical, and Aerogen. Bob holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Mechanical/Bioengineering from UC Berkeley. He is the inventor of multiple successful medical device products and holds eleven U.S. and foreign patents.

Wendy SwedickWendy Swedick
CFO, Exagen Diagnostics

Wendy Swedick is CFO for Exagen Diagnostics. Wendy has over 20 years of executive finance experience providing leadership in both corporate and entrepreneurial organizations. She was part of the senior management team at Media One Group, a $3 billion telecommunications company, which was successfully sold to AT&T for $44 billion. Wendy is currently a senior mentor for the New Directions Institute and graduated with honors with a B.A. in Business Administration & Accounting from the University of New Mexico and the Leadership New Mexico program.


Matt CullerMatt Culler
VP of Finance & Operations , xF Technologies

xF Technologies is a biofuels start up based in Albuquerque. Matt joined xF Technologies from Sun Mountain Capital, a venture capital firm. At Sun Mountain, Matt was a Principal who’s responsibilities included investment sourcing and management as well as valuations and reporting. Prior to Sun Mountain, Matt worked for Bank of America’s investment banking business. At BofA, Matt was an Analyst in the Private Equity Placements Group and part of a team responsible for deal sourcing and execution. Matt has a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Time: 6-8 pm 
Venue: Prairie Star Restaurant
288 Prairie Star Rd.
Bernalillo, NM 87004
Cost: $22.50 in advance (credit card payments); $25 at the door (cash and check only).


CVF is proud to support the three Startup Weekend events to be held in New Mexico during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. The events are “Four Corners Startup Weekend” (Farmington), “Las Cruces Startup Weekend” and the World’s first teen-focused Startup Weekend to be held in Albuquerque, “Teen Albuquerque Startup Weekend.”

These events, which come on the heels of the Santa Fe (March 2013) and Albuquerque (June 2013) Startup Weekends, represent a significant increase in the entrepreneurial activity in New Mexico. In addition to the core focus of the weekends, the startup weekends are a great way to foster, encourage and spread the entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, organizers from each of the three events participated in the Albuquerque Startup Weekend and decided to organize an event for their specific market.

Please support these fantastic events!

Teen Albuquerque Startup Weekend (Albuquerque)
Location: WESST Enterprise Center

Info: http://teenalbuquerque.startupweekend.org
Registration: http://teenstartupweekend.eventbrite.com 
Twitter: @swteenabq #swteen

Four Corners Startup Weekend (Farmington)

Location: Quality Center for Business

Info: http://fourcorners.startupweekend.org

Registration:  http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8004396365

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fourcornersstartupweekend

Las Cruces Startup Weekend (Las Cruces)
Location: Las Cruces

Info:  http://lascruces.startupweekend.org

Registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/7759844905#

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SWLasCruces

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SWLasCruces #SWLC

What is a Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered community leaders, and entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. The non-profit organization is headquartered out of Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend Organizers and Facilitators can be found in hundreds of cities around the world. Startup Weekends consist of weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday afternoon teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.

About Global Startup Battle

Each year Startup Weekend celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week with a special contest for Startup Weekend winners worldwide.  More about prizes here.


we want your feedback

Coronado Ventures Forum hosts its premiere event on “The State of Venture Capital in New Mexico” in Santa Fe at the Eldorado Hotel on October 17th.

This year, we are delighted to have Brian Birk, Managing Director at Sun Mountain Capital, return to provide introductory remarks from his insider’s view of the evolving venture capital and early stage funding landscape in the State. Brian will then join a panel of prominent venture capitalists active in New Mexico. The panel will be moderated by CVF’s Todd Hand.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or just interested in the venture capital investment landscape in New Mexico, expect a lively discussion of venture investment trends, what is and isn’t working in New Mexico-based start-ups, and the impact of the return of the State Investment Council investing in venture funds active in New Mexico.

This is CVF’s signature event of the year and provides a terrific networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors and others in the entrepreneurial community. The event will very likely sell out, so get your tickets early!


Brian BirkBrian Birk
Managing Director, Sun Mountain Capital

Brian Birk has over 20 years experience as an operating executive and investor. Mr. Birk co-founded Sun Mountain Capital, a boutique private equity firm focused on the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, in 2006. Since that time Sun Mountain has grown to be one of the largest PE firms in the region, and currently manages direct investment funds and fund of funds vehicles. Prior to forming Sun Mountain Capital, Mr. Birk was a Vice President and Director of Private Equity at Fort Washington Capital Partners where he helped the firm establish and manage a number of private equity direct investment funds, secondary investment funds, and fund of funds programs.
    Mr. Birk was a founder or senior executive at several high profile start-ups, including MetaWeb (acquired by Google), Applied Minds and BiosGroup. In addition, Mr. Birk has held a senior manager position at the Boston Consulting Group and finance manager positions at General Electric and GE Capital. Mr. Birk has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS in economics from Carleton College.


Dave BlivinDave Blivin
Founder, Managing Partner, Cottonwood Technology Funds

Dave Blivin is a founder and managing partner of Cottonwood Technology Funds (CTF). CTF is a seed and early-stage technology commercialization fund with offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. It invests in technology-related (particularly chemistry/material sciences, photonics, biosciences and new energy related) businesses originating throughout the Southwest region generally bordered by Phoenix, Denver and Austin and including the Rio Grande Technology Corridor, running from Los Alamos, New Mexico to McAllen, Texas. This region includes three national laboratories, over a dozen major research universities and major research medical centers. Current investments include Skorpios, FibeRio, xF Technologies (formerly Incitor), Respira, Trilumina, Masterson and Exagen. Dave received his MBA at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Chris StoneChris Stone
Managing Director, EPIC Ventures

Chris Stone brings over 29 years of public and private technology company operational and entrepreneurial experience from engineering to executive management. Prior to joining EPIC Ventures as a Managing Director, Chris was CEO of SiCortex, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient high performance Linux computers. Prior to SiCortex, he was CEO of StreamServe (acquired by Open Text), a European-based document management company ($70m revenue). Chris is a director of iovation Software, BrightTag, Adaptive Computing, Ingeo Systems, Dotgo, Cloudveil Mountain Works and an Observer on investments in Joyent, Inc. He serves on philanthropic boards. Chris has a B.S in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire and an AMP/M.B.A from Harvard Business School.


Todd HandTodd Hand
Managing Partner, TalentBench

Todd is a CVF Board member since 2006, and is the Managing Director of TalentBench, a division of BSG Team Ventures, a Boston-based executive search firm. Previously, Todd held operating roles as VP of Sales & Marketing at Altela and COO at CleanSwitch Solar. He also raised venture capital financing for an executive search firm where he recruited leaders to drive the success of innovative technology companies. Previously, Todd built management teams for Idealab, a creator and operator of technology companies. He moved there from the Yankee Group, the global technology market research firm. Todd has been published as a guest writer for NetworkWorld. He is a graduate of Penn State and attended the Babson MBA program before leaving early to start his own company. He is also a two-time Ironman finisher.

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Time: 6-8 pm 
Venue: Eldorado Hotel
309 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Cost: $22.50 in advance (credit card payments); $25 at the door (cash and check only).


Startup Weekend Albuquerque is part of a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. Register now for the best weekend of your life! Join us in Albuquerque for New Mexico’s 2nd Startup Weekend!

CVF members get $25 off registration with the promotional code CVFSWABQ13. 

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Our June 20th CVF event will focus on impact investing and social entrepreneurship. An increasing number of private equity professionals, angel investors and seasoned entrepreneurs have shifted their focus to impact investing, searching for new ventures that generate measurable social impact in addition to financial return. A new generation of social entrepreneurs has emerged made up of individuals with vast business experience and the expertise to build social ventures with sustainable business models. Last year, $8 billion of impact investments, across all asset classes including private equity and venture capital, were reported, and that is projected to reach $9 billion in 2013.


Penelope DouglasPenelope Douglas, Executive, Chair of the Board of Mission HUB LLC
Our event will feature Penelope Douglas, a pioneer in impact investing, as the keynote speaker as well as a panel of social entrepreneurs with experience based in New Mexico. Penelope became Executive, Chair of the Board of Mission HUB LLC in early 2011.

Prior to joining Mission Hub LLC, Penelope Douglas co-founded and served as CEO of Pacific Community Ventures for the first 12 years of the organization’s life. PCV, a non-profit whose mission is to invest human, intellectual, and financial capital in small businesses for the benefit of economically underserved communities, has helped to create more than 5,000 jobs for lower-income workers at 250 small businesses throughout California. Penelope was additionally a partner in Pacific Community Ventures LLC, with $60 million of committed capital.

For nearly three decades, Penelope has applied her strategic acumen and dedication to social change for organizations such as: Morrison & Foerster, Odwalla, Ernst & Young, New Mexico Community Capital, Wells Fargo, San Francisco’s Larkin Street Youth Center, Friends of the Urban Forest Juma Ventures, and more. She’s been featured by media outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, and California magazine, which includes recognition of her as a pioneer of “compassionate capitalism,” and she is a Robert A. McNeeley Trailblazer Award winner.

In addition to being a leader of social change, Penelope is an athlete who has competed in ultra marathons and Ironman distance triathlons, and an artist whose paintings and drawings have been exhibited publicly. Penelope is a native Californian and a graduate of Smith College.


Carrie FreemanCarrie Freeman, Partner at SecondMuse
SecondMuse is an international firm focused on creating positive impact within business. Prior to SecondMuse, Carrie worked at Intel Corporation as Director of Sustainable Business Innovation pioneering strategies such as a corporate impact investing fund and developing technology market solutions to solve global sustainability challenges such as climate mitigation, adaptation and water. Carrie formed the corporate sustainability group and directed corporate-wide efforts working with key stakeholders to ensure industry leadership.
Carrie regularly speaks globally on the roles of technology, sustainability, innovation and corporate responsibility. She has had advisory and board positions with the U.S. EPA, Water Innovations Alliance, the Packard Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, the Permaculture Credit Union, Technology Venture Corporation, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, World Policy Institute, LAUNCH, the government of Costa Rica and several cross-industry consortia. In 2012 she was selected as a New Mexico 40 Under 40 Business Leader.

Jami GrindattoJami Grindatto, Director, Talent Enabling Solutions at Intel
Jami Grindatto’s team is responsible to drive the talent supply-side for Intel’s needs and deliver new capabilities to fuel innovative growth. He joined Intel in 1994. Among many roles at Intel, Jami led the Software Architecture Design that automates Intel’s newest factories worldwide, was Director of the Americas for Intel® Solution Services, and directed Corporate Affairs in the Southwestern US. Prior to Intel, Jami built a software consulting firm with a small team delivering 3D rendering and product automation solutions to medium and large corporations, including Sandia National Laboratories and Honeywell.
Jami is an Intel Achievement Award recipient. He is a member of regional and national executive boards, including co-founder and chairman for Innovate+Educate, a national industry collaborative of F500 companies to drive innovation in the U.S. workforce and education. Jami earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Drew TulchinDrew Tulchin, Managing Partner at Social Enterprise Associates
Social Enterprise Associates was New Mexico’s first registered “B Corporation,” a national certification entity for corporate social responsibility. The firm was recently recognized as one of the “Best for the World” Small Companies in America and a Sustainable Business of the Year Award Honoree.
Tulchin enables leaders, especially social entrepreneurs, and their organizations to reach their financial needs and achieve their goals. He has written more than 100 business plans. His engagements for businesses, NGOs, foundations and government have raised more than $100 million advancing the “Triple Bottom Line” – market driven efforts that generate returns for environment, social and economic benefit. Previously, he directed an international finance company and worked in telecommunications. He worked for a bluetooth start-up in Seattle in 2000. In Washington, DC, he was a Program Officer for Grameen Foundation, advancing nobel laureate Dr. Mohammad Yunus’s work in microfinance around the world.

John KilloranJohn Killoran, CEO, @Pay
John Killoran founded @Pay in May 2011. @Pay is a payment technology that provides a new way to buy, pay or donate. @Pay makes it possible to buy things in two simple clicks from an email. @Pay is a technology that was developed by John’s other company, Clover Leaf.
Clover Leaf is a 50+ person technology development and consulting firm that provides a wide range of services to the federal government and large industrial clients. Clover Leaf was formed in May 2005 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has offices around the country. John’s career started in the environmental consulting field where he developed technologies to solve environmental problems.


Katie Szczepaniak Rice, Senior Associate, EPIC Ventures
Katie Szczepaniak Rice is a Senior Associate with Epic Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT. Katie focuses on new investments in technology, software and IT. She is on the boards of DOTGO and Figaro, serves as an observer on the boards of Iosil and Exagen, and assists with the oversight of BrightTag, Aspen Avionic and Lumidigm. Prior to joining Epic, Katie was a strategic market analyst at Cabot Corporation in advanced materials for alternative energy markets. Before Cabot, Katie was a consultant with Kline & Co., a management consulting firm serving Fortune 100 companies as well as emerging businesses. Before Kline, Katie was a field engineer in the energy sector for Schlumberger in France. Katie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She serves on boards and committees for several community and industry organizations including Astia, SVForum, NMBio, and New Mexico TechGYRLS.

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Time: 6-8 pm 
Venue: Prairie Star
288 Prairie Star Road
Santa Ana Pueblo, NM 87004
Cost: $22.50 in advance (credit card payments); $25 at the door (cash and check only).


New Mexico Community Capital is sponsoring Ms. Douglas’ stay in Albuquerque for this event. Learn more about NMCC at nmccap.org.