March 25, 2021

Local Startup OptiPulse, Inc. Making Headway with Crowdfunding Campaign

Local startup OptiPulse, Inc. is developing their breakthrough optical wireless technology and are seeking public investment through their new crowdfunding campaign launched on WeFunder.

The company was founded in 2015 and their patented technology addresses current connectivity issues relating to last mile wireless connections and long-distance infrastructure. Their technology uses a high-power chip to beam wireless data across a new type of network which can span long distances at high bandwidths without the use of fiber-optic wires. This technology has the potential to provide affordable high-speed internet access to all and work to close the digital divide.

Visit their crowdfunding page on WeFunder at: https://wefunder.com/optipulse

See below Kevin Robinson-Avila’s February 24th article, “OptiPulse launches crowdfunding campaign,” on the Albuquerque Journal Website at https://www.abqjournal.com/2362871/optipulse-launches-crowdfunding-campaign.html

OptiPulse launches crowdfunding campaign

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based startup OptiPulse Inc. is inviting public investment in the company’s breakthrough wireless technology through a crowdfunding campaign on WeFunder.

The company has developed novel optics technology that uses proprietary high-power laser chips to beam wireless data across a new type of network in urban and rural areas at speeds potentially up to 100 times faster than most current commercial services, according to the company. OptiPulse has already proven the technology in a pilot project at Central New Mexico Community College’s main Albuquerque campus.

It’s now seeking $1 million through WeFunder to finish developing and deploying its first “minimal viable product” for commercial use. The crowdfunding campaign will go live on Wednesday, March 3.

Minimum investments start at $100 to buy OptiPulse stock priced at $2 per share, said company CEO John Joseph.

“Assuming we reach the $1 million target, we could raise the goal to $5 million later on,” Joseph said. “This WeFunder campaign reflects our vision of inviting direct public participation in the development of a totally new type of network communications rather than a small number of high-wealth investors directing things.”

Unlike today’s wireless communications through cell phone towers, OptiPulse uses compact transceivers, or nodes, mounted across cities or communities that directly beam high-speed internet back and forth. Any end user who wants to can then hook into the node network.

The transceivers are powered by OptiPulse’s proprietary laser chips, which provide low-cost but lightning-fast optical communications between the network nodes starting at 10 gigabits per second. That, in turn, would allow end users to access the network at speeds of 1 GBPS or more.

The company will first offer its network nodes to telecommunication providers to help them lower costs when constructing their networks, by leapfrogging over environmental obstacles like rivers, highways or train tracks when laying fiber-optic lines. Those first sales will raise revenue for OptiPulse to begin more broadly deploying its technology in urban and rural areas for direct public access to new community wireless networks built with company technology, said OptiPulse Chief Operating Officer Mathis Shinnick.

OptiPulse, which launched in 2015, previously raised $3.6 million from institutional and angel investors. But other companies have had significant success through WeFunder, encouraging OptiPulse to try crowdfunding too, Shinnick said.

To date, nearly 600 companies have collectively raised about $230 million through WeFunder, according to the crowdfunding site. The Meow Wolf artists collaborative in Santa Fe, for example, raised $1.3 million in August 2017.

“Crowdfunding has taken on a whole new dynamism to raise equity,” Shinnick said.

For more information, see OptiPulse’s WeFunder investor pitch at https://wefunder.com/optipulse .

March 25, 2021

Eighth Innovate New Mexico® Moves to Virtual Format

Innovate New Mexico is a collaborative event featuring representatives and researchers from seven major research institution across New Mexico to highlight the latest research and technology opportunities, startup companies and economic development resources. The research institutes include the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Labs, NASA, New Mexico Tech and New Mexico State University.

Just one year ago, the seventh Innovate New Mexico event took place at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club. That was before COVID pandemic which has impacted the way in which we now host events. Moving to an online format, the 2021 Innovate New Mexico was spread over two-days and included six technology and company presentations running simultaneously over two tracks via Zoom. Attendees could jump between technology presentations to company presentation seamlessly. All presentations were recorded and are uploaded to the UNM Rainforest Innovations’ YouTube channel.

The first day kicked off with opening remarks by Jon Clark, Deputy Chair Secretary at the New Mexico Economic Development Department. Then the technology and company presentations took place relating to physical sciences. See below for links to the recordings of their presentations.

The moderator of the technology presentations was Mary Monson, Senior Manager of Technology Partnerships and Business Development at Sandia National Laboratories and company presentations were moderated by David Kistin, Manager of Technology and Economic Development at Sandia National Laboratories. After the presentations, closing remarks were given by Jennifer Sinsabaugh, Chief Executive Officer at New Mexico MEP. The last hour included virtual networking where attendees could chat with the presenters.

Physical Science Technology Presentations

Physical Science Company Presentations

The second day kicked off with opening remarks by Myrriah Tomar, Director of the Office of Science & Technology at the New Mexico Economic Development Department. Next came the technology and company presentations relating to life sciences. See below for links to the recordings of their presentations.

The moderator of the technology presentations was Matt O’Brien, Technology Business Specialist at the Air Force Research Laboratory and company presentations were moderated by Mariann Johnston, Project Manager at the Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. After the presentations, closing remarks were given by Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of UNM Rainforest Innovations. Her speech highlighted the many ways in which New Mexico is achieving high rankings in innovation and entrepreneurial areas. The last hour included virtual networking where attendees could chat with the presenters.

Life Science Technology Presentations

Life Science Company Presentations

To learn more about Innovate New Mexico, visit http://www.innovatenewmexico.com/

View all of the presentations on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvSGf0aK1KNJ358sYJ8_IRQ/videos

March 31, 2020

Seventh Innovate New Mexico® Technology Showcase a Success

Seventh Innovate New Mexico® Technology Showcase a Success

This year’s Innovate New Mexico Technology Showcase was a big success with the highest turnout rate to date. The event took place on March 3rd at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and there were over 150 attendees comprised of local and national companies, investors, entrepreneurs, and local business and community leaders.

This year’s Innovate New Mexico Technology Showcase was a big success with the highest turnout rate to date. The event took place on March 3rd at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and there were over 150 attendees comprised of local and national companies, investors, entrepreneurs, and local business and community leaders.

The event started off with welcoming remarks from Jon Clark, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department and keynote remarks from Dr. Omar Hatamleh, Executive Director of the Space Studies Program at NASA International Space University and Chief Innovation Officer of Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Lunchtime Panel

During lunch there was a panel discussion with four leaders and CEOs of New Mexico start-up companies. The panel discussed some of the challenges and benefits they have faced while growing start-ups in New Mexico.

The discussion was moderated by Carlos Romero, Associate VP for Research at New Mexico Tech and panel participants included Brian Henderson, CEO of Next State Systems, LLC, Victor Hughes, Founder of Roar Echo, LLC, Mark Johnson, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Descartes Labs, and Erik Strobert, CEO of Perspective Components, Inc.

Some challenges for local start-ups continue to be available seed-stage funding and a trained, technical work force. However, in comparison to much bigger metropolitan areas, there is also much less competition.

Mark Johnson, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Descartes Labs commented, “We realized at some point our advantages – although people in the bay area are fishing in a very deep pond, there are a million fishing poles in that pond. Here we are looking at a much shallower pond, but we can get the best out of that.”

Panelists also praised the support of the local community and the state’s efforts to nurture the start-up ecosystem. Other advantages to businesses include NMSBA, grants provided by the state, tax credits and support from the technology-transfer programs at the state’s research institutions

Technology Pitches

Twelve researchers and inventors from the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Labs, NASA-White Sands Test Facility and Johnson Space Center, and New Mexico State University pitched their technologies to industry representatives and investors.

Below is a summary of the technologies.

1. Nasa White Sands Missile Range – Joe Bullington, Jacobs Technology, Inc.

The White Sands Test Facility has been a center of technical excellence in the fields of high-pressure oxygen systems and materials and rocket propellant safety. Their core capabilities include testing and analysis of oxygen systems, hypervelocity impact, composite pressure systems, propellants and aerospace fluids, along with flight acceptance standard testing and spaceflight component services.

2. Argos-Artificial Gravity Offload System 7 Infrared Flash Thermography for Nondestructive Evaluation and Full-Size Reduced Gravity Simulator for Humans, Robots, and Test Objects – Steven González, NASA Johnson Space Center

This innovation in the techniques used for post-processing flash IR thermography data provides both efficient and cost-effective enhancements to Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) of structures. Compatible with commercial IR thermography products, this suite of tools provides both quantitative and qualitative data analysis capabilities and reliable detection and characterization of anomalies in composite structures.

The simulator technology, first developed to train astronauts to live and work in a weightless environment, provides a simulated reduced gravity environment that responds to human-imparted forces. This system attaches to a human subject in a gimbal and/or harness through a cable and then maintains a constant offload of a portion of the subject’s weight through the cable to simulate reduced gravity.

3. Non-Opioid Solution to the Opiod Crisis: scFv Immunotherapeutics for Pain Management- Karin Westlund High, Ph.D., UNM

When opioids are used as therapeutic agents, they are significantly limited in providing pain management due to their detrimental side effects and addictive qualities. An alternative has been engineered in the form of an endogenous peptide fragment (scFc). The antibodies, generated using a cell-free ribosome display, offers inexpensive and rapid scFv antibody synthesis. Data indicates that a single dose of P2X4 scFv effectively returns the mechanical threshold pain measure to naïve baseline for many weeks in a nerve injury chronic pain animal model.

4. Cloud Hypervisor-forensics and incident response platforms (CHIRP) – Vince Urias, Sandia

This platform, ideal for cyber defense and security requirements and applications, introduces a novel Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) based approach to enable analysts and defenders to collect evidence and incident response materials in real time, without disturbing the user environment or alerting an intruder. Using CHIRP, analysts can pinpoint suspicious activities, track and record attacker actions for forensic analysis and retrieve materials transparently from the targeted machines automatically and on demand.

5. Thermal/Fluid Inventions for Space and Terrestrial Applications – Jonathan Allison, AFRL

These thermal control systems (TSC) technologies include a fusible metal thermal hinge, frangible heat pipe, and microgravity sediment trap. In satellites and spacecraft design, these technologies work to maintain optimal temperature range for all components of a spacecraft during mission phases. This is essential for spacecrafts so that they can cope with the extreme thermal environments of space as well as heat generated within a spacecraft.

6. Microsystem-Based Aerosol Generator – Nathan Jackson, Ph.D., UNM

Electronic cigarettes and medicinal inhaled drug delivery systems have been produced to help combat the negative side effects associated with smoking traditional cigarettes. However, current technologies regarding vaporization methods can still have some potential health complications. This technology is designed as an alternative method of manufacturing a monolithic microfabricated vibrating mesh atomizer which could control droplet size and eliminate ultrafine particle formation.

7. Nanoscale-Enabled Microinductors – Eric Langlois, Sandia

Scaling of magnetic passive components such as inductors and transformers have not kept pace with advances in high power semiconductor devices employing wide/ultra-wide band gap SiC, GaN, and AlN in terms of size or performance. This novel inductor has significantly lower losses by using a nano-scale enabled magnetic material that is nonconducting, non-hysteretic, and has a high saturation magnetization.

8. Method and Apparatus for Killing Plants with Electric Current – Paul Neher, NMSU

This technology is an environmentally friendly method of killing plants by using an electric charge. This method is highly selective with no potential for any collateral damage to adjoining plants and can permanently kill plants through the root without the use of herbicides.

9. Hertz Bio: Drug Discovery and Toxicology – Kent Coombs, UC-LANL Postdoc Entrepreneur

Safety and efficacy are the most common points of failure regarding the ways in which novel drugs are assessed, mainly because animals are not good predictors of human biology. This technology, called Hertz Bio, is a benchtop miniature beating heart that can be used to predict the effects of drugs on the human heart and gives relevant human data without the need of clinical trial. This system offers a more humane application than animal testing and has the potential to revolutionize the drug development world.

10. Medical Audio Alarm Distributed Detection and Alert Systems – 1st Lt. Michael Albert, USAF

In medical environments, a variety of equipment is used to monitor medical functions. Each piece is able to produce several alarms, but it can be extremely inconvenient to locate, determine priority, and respond to any given alarm. This new innovation provides medical care facilities with an easy to install, customizable system that detects, triages and communicates alarms to a centralized location.

11. Threshold-Based Min-Sum Algorithm to Lower the Error Floors of Quantized Low-Density Parity-Check Decoders – David Mitchell, Ph.D., New Mexico State University

This method and apparatus can selectively attenuate or offset the messages in a Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) decoder based on a simple threshold comparison. This can outperform the original algorithm and its variants across all signal-to-noise ratios. LDPC codes are industry standards in satellite communication (broadcasting, interactive services, telephony), ethernet, wireless broadband (wifi, personal area networks, digital television, high-bandwidth data transport, and deep space communication.

12. Green Factor, Niju Narayanan, Los Alamos Pordoc Entrepreneur Fellow

Cell-free systems have emerged as the viable method to produce bio-based products for a sustainable future. This screening platform coupled with a biosensor can customize production processes in cell-free environments which can offer biomanufacturers higher titers and yields, better resource utilization and cost-effective bioprocess. This technology aims at better utilizing inexpensive cofactor analogues by enabling enzyme modifications to ensure that the bioprocesses are cost effective and economically viable.

More information on each of the technologies is available at: http://www.innovatenewmexico.com/technologies/.

February 24, 2020

Innovate New Mexico® Technology Showcase to Feature Latest Developments from New Mexico’s Research Institutions and Startup Companies

The seventh Innovate New Mexico Technology Showcase will take place at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club on March 3, 2020.

Innovate New Mexico is an annual event featuring the latest developments in research and technology from seven research institutions in the state of New Mexico. Researchers and inventors from the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Labs, NASA-White Sands Test Facility and Johnson Space Center, New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico State University will pitch their technologies to industry representatives and investors. Startup companies will also have a chance to showcase their company products and latest activities.

The event will include twelve technology presentations, a lunchtime panel featuring local entrepreneurs and their startups, and breaks throughout for networking with inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, industry representatives, and startups.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Omar Hatamleh, Executive Director of the Space Studies Program at NASA International Space University and Chief Innovation Officer of Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center. With over twenty years of aerospace industry experience, Dr. Hatamleh will share his unique perspective on innovation and experience in this area. His presentation will focus on the exponential increase of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its social and economic impacts on people, organizations and jobs. He will share his insights on the following questions: 1) How can you both align yourself with this change, and distinguish yourself to remain relevant, and to lead with confidence? 2) What innovations and ecosystems do you need to have a perspective on? 3) How can you improve efficiency and adapt to improve economically? 4) What are the impacts of AI on organizations, society and people? He has also published over 33 international journal articles and has received six awards from NASA for his achievements.

Dr. Hatamleh holds four degrees in engineering, including a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Jordan, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Sacramento and a Master of Engineering in Materials Engineering from North Carolina State University. He also holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina.

The showcase will begin with registration and networking, followed by opening remarks given by Jon Clark, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Economic Development Department and then keynote speaker Dr. Omar Hatamleh. Technology presentations will commence throughout the morning and afternoon with feedback from shark panels. The lunchtime panel will include Brian Henderson, CEO of Next State Systems, LLC, Victor Hughes, Founder of Roar Echo, LLC, Mark Johnson, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Descartes Labs, Charles Mendez, Jr., CEO of Enthentica, Inc., and Erik Strobert, CEO of Perspective Components, Inc. The event will wrap up with closing remarks from Tim Nitti, President & CEO of New Mexico Partnership and a drink reception.

To register, go to https://innovate-new-mexico.eventbrite.com.

May 22, 2019

Innovate New Mexico® Sixth Showcasing Event for Investors and Industry Features State’s Research Innovations

Innovate New Mexico, a network of the state’s seven leading technology-transfer organizations, held its annual spring event showcasing innovative technologies from the state’s research universities and national labs on May 7, 2019.

The showcase—the organization’s sixth gathering—was held at Sandia Golf Club in Albuquerque and featured 11 technology pitches by inventors from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Lab, the Air Force Research Labs, and new member NASA Technology Transfer & Commercialization Office to a crowd of approximately 125 investors, entrepreneurs, industry reps, and local business members.

The day’s events included welcoming remarks from Jon Clark, deputy secretary of the NM Economic Development Department and keynote remarks from Mara Aspinall, co-founder and managing director of BlueStone Venture Partners, LLC. 

Ms. Aspinall, also a member of the AZBio Board of Directors and President & CEO of Health Catalysts, is a healthcare industry leader and pioneer in medical diagnostics and in educating payers and policymakers on genomics and personalized medicine. She is the former President & CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, a division of The Roche Group, leading development and commercialization of tissue-based cancer diagnostics and digital imaging, and former President of Genzyme Genetics and Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, the former sold to LabCorp for $1 billion in 2010. 

BlueStone Venture Partners is a premier venture firm that invests in life-science technologies and companies in the Southwest and Health Catalysts invests and advises early-stage life-science companies focused on health information technology and diagnostics.  Ms. Aspinall received the Arizona Biosciences Leader of the Year Award in 2016 from the Arizona Biotechnology Association and was named a “100 Most Inspiring People in Life Sciences” by PharmaVOICE magazine.

Ms. Aspinall’s remarks, entitled “How the Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Changing Our World: Healthcare & Beyond,” focused on how healthcare will be changed by what has been termed the 4th Industrial Revolution.  This stage of economic development, preceded by urbanization (1st IR), factory automation (2nd IR), and computerization/digital (3rd IR), concerns integrating and connecting physical and biological systems into the digital age.  Ms. Aspinall stated that the 4th IR is focused on healthcare and is having its greatest impact on precision medicine. 

Investor and startup-company formation trends dominate the digital healthcare market.  Funding has grown from $1.1 billion to $8.1 billion between 2011 and 2018.  In 2018, eleven $100 million+ mega deals were done with healthcare companies.  Also trending are more acquisitions of data-based companies vs. physical technology-based companies, the development of more data-enabled devices, and more therapeutic and diagnostic technologies that treat patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease.  Industry sectors with the highest value propositions include on-demand healthcare services, diagnosis of disease, fitness & wellness, consumer health information, monitoring of disease, and research & development catalyst (drug discovery, clinical trials). 

The path for precision, or personalized, medicine in the 4th IR is more than selecting the right drug for each patient.  It also means calibrating precise dosage, measuring drug efficacy/resistance, monitoring disease status, and calculating recurrence risk and disease predisposition, with the ultimate goal of disease prevention.  The tools for this evolution will be data analytics and data integration leading to predictive analytics.  The changes in diabetes treatment is a good example of the trend, moving from urine test strips and blood glucose meters measuring one data point accurately to devices that use sensors (skin and contact lenses) to measure multiple data points accurately.

Precision medicine will also be technology agnostic but data integrated, combining the latest innovations in diagnostics with patient data and leading to the emergence of a new field of data interpreters.  Hospitals in the future will move from an organ-based treatment paradigm to a mechanism, or genomic-based, paradigm.  Paradigm shifting has already begun with the FDA release of two new cancer drugs (Keytruda and Vitrakvi) that are based on a common biomarker across different types of tumors, and the NCI MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice) Trial, a precision medicine cancer clinical trial in which patients receive treatment based on the genetic changes found in their tumors.  Medical practice will also evolve from evidence-based to a more precise data mining-based approach, where the shift will be from discovering drugs and finding patients to having patients with a particular DNA profile/disease genome and finding the drug(s) that will be most effective. 

Ms. Aspinall wrapped up her keynote with the following predictions:

  • Big tech will enter the precision-medicine and genomics markets
  • Digital health roll-ups (consolidations) will happen within the next 10 years
  • Data segmentation will create specialized markets
  • Payers will be the largest acquirers of data
  • Telemedicine will become mainstream and consolidate into 5 big players
  • Diagnostics will grow with alternate sample types, predictable reimbursements and increased pharma adoption

The showcase also included exhibit space for 15 New Mexico startup companies and business organizations. Presenters and exhibitors had ample networking sessions to talk with company technology scouts for possible business opportunities.

University and lab inventors pitched the following technologies to the crowd and panel of local sharks who asked market and commercialization questions and offered feedback:

  1. Adaptive Space-Time Processing, Khanh Pham, PhD (AFRL)
  2. NASA Innovations in Battery Technologies, Walter Ugalde (NASA Johnson Space Center)
  3. Non-Destructive, Real-Time Monitoring of Plant Water Status, David Hanson, PhD (UNM)
  4. Metasurface Technologies for Fast and Cheap DNA Sequencing, Adam Backer, PhD (Sandia)
  5. PYRLnESS: Rare Earth Starting Materials, Ross Beattie, PhD (LANL)
  6. Circular RNAs for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Brain Disorders, Nikolaos Mellios, MD, PhD, and Alex Hafez (UNM)
  7. Observing Satellites in the Daytime, Scott Milster and Waid Schlaegel (AFRL)
  8. DynAmmo Gas Sensors: Less Ammonia, More Profit, Kannan Ramaiyan, PhD (LANL)
  9. Bio-Inspired Deep Foundations Piles, Craig Newtson, PhD (NMSU)
  10. Paraquat as an Adjuvant for Insecticidal Bednets, Cody Champion, PhD (NMSU)
  11. Innovation and Technologies at White Sands, Joe Bullington (NASA White Sands)

To read the technology summaries go to the Innovate New Mexico website at http://www.innovatenewmexico.com/.

The lunch time session, moderated by Carlos Romero, Associate Vice President of Research & Economic Development at New Mexico Tech, featured a panel of New Mexico startup CEOs who discussed their experiences growing their companies in New Mexico. Panel speakers were John Brown, Chairman & CEO of Silent Falcon; Steve Graves, CEO & President of BennuBio; Charles Harb, CEO & President of RingIR, Inc.; Federica Pericle, President & CEO of AgilVax; and David Smidt, Owner of Mother Road Mobile Canning.

The showcase ended with closing remarks from Jennifer Sinsabaugh, CEO of the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and a reception for the attendees.

Innovate New Mexico would like to thank event sponsors:  New Mexico Economic Development Department, New Mexico MEP, Sandia National Laboratories, Arrowhead Center at NMSU, and Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation at LANL.

Special thanks goes to the lunch panel of startup executives mentioned above and the following shark panelists:  John Chavez, President of the NM Angels; Charles Mendez, CEO of Innobright Technologies, Inc.; Tom Nickoloff, Managing Director of BlueStone Venture Partners; Stuart Rose, Founder of The BioScience Center; and Mathis Shinnick, CEO of OptiPulse, Inc.