Venture capitalists fund NM deals

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By Roger Snodgrass

SANTA FE – New initiatives and advanced technology at New Mexico’s national laboratories are playing a role in the state’s entrepreneurial growth, according to panelists at the Coronado Ventures Forum’s annual “State of the Venture Capital Industry” program Thursday.

Brian Birk, a managing partner of Sun Mountain Capital, said he wasn’t sure about the quantity of deals involving laboratory technology lately.

“But qualitatively, they have really paid benefits over the last 3-4 years,” he said.

He credited the reputation of the laboratories for attracting top-tier investors, like Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, Oak Capital Group and Draper Fisher Jervitson.

“All that comes back to the labs and the University of New Mexico,” he said.

Another panelist, Stephanie Spong, a principal of Epic Ventures, reported she had spent the morning in presentations at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“I saw some cool stuff today,” she said.

The thing about intellectual property at the lab, she said, is that there may be something very deep and “worth shaking,” but there is rarely an entrepreneur attached.

“They’re not bad development deals, they’re just underdeveloped,” she said.

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