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Venture catalyst

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By Roger Snodgrass

SANTA FE – Los Alamos National Laboratory is looking for a full-time visitor with a sharp eye for hot technology.

LANL officials held a bidder briefing for a new entrepreneurial initiative that they hope to begin with the new fiscal year in October.

The program, called the Los Alamos Venture Accumulation Initiative (LAVA), is worth up to $1 million over three years to the right company and maybe more. The funds are intended to defray a portion of the company’s costs, which would include one or more “on-site” company representatives and direct expenses for each deal.

In return, the company is expected to find backing for at least three new companies.

The meeting described the initiative, the solicitation procedure and answered a number of questions about what was expected to respond to the proposal.

John Mott, who heads the Tech Transfer Division, said the laboratory is looking for a partner who could help overcome one basic problem.

“It’s very difficult for us to spin out our technology,” he said. “In part, that’s because few venture firms invest in early-stage technology.”

Typically, venture capitalists are looking for more of a package and business plan combination when they entertain investment prospects.