In northern New Mexico, investments in high-growth companies—the region’s job creators—are being made through the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF). VAF was established in 2006 by Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the company that manages Los Alamos National Laboratory. Today, the VAF is a collaborative investment tool supporting high-growth northern New Mexico companies. Partnerships with Los Alamos County, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Santa Fe County, and the City of Santa Fe have transformed the VAF into a multi-investor alliance to support economic growth in the region. The fund is administered by the Regional Development Corporation and provides investments to high tech and manufacturing companies in every stage of development that are poised for long-term growth. In the over ten years that VAF has been active, it has filled a unique funding niche by supporting companies that lack debt financing and are not ready for angel or venture capital investments.
Since its inception in 2006, VAF has made 53 awards and invested $3.6M across 7 northern New Mexico counties. The awards have enabled 815 jobs to be created and retained, and the companies have received $102.7M of additional financing to continue their growth. These investments have generated $150.1M of economic growth, or 42x the impact from the overall investment back to New Mexico.
In 2014, Dr. Hunter McDaniel founded UbiQD, LLC after leaving Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was a postdoc in materials science. UbiQD develops and manufactures quantum dots that are substantially free of toxic elements. The company licensed the underlying technologies exclusively from MIT and nonexclusively from LANS. Together these two inventions represent UbiQD's founding technology position.
In 2015, UbiQD was one of four companies to receive an investment from VAF. The investment was utilized in two stage—when the company made the first domestic sale of its technology and when it made its first international sale. In total, the company has made approximately 50 sales. Among its national and international research clients are Cornell University, University of Texas Dallas, LANL, University of Milan, and the University of British Columbia. Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies, as well as research and development scientists, also count themselves among UbiQD’s ever-growing list of clients.
UbiQD received a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) and obtained other key investments to further develop solid-state lighting.
UbiQD currently has five full-time and five part-time employees, and is aiming to double its workforce by the end of 2017. Employee-wise, the company has doubled each year since its inception. In 2015, UbiQD was recognized as a northern New Mexico high-growth company for the Regional Development Corporation. The company has recently moved into a new manufacturing facility in Los Alamos.