ABQ firm that landed Steve Case funding among those tapped for high-altitude competition

By By May Ortega /Reporter/Albuquerque Business First

ABQid's third Ski Lift Pitch Contest will be held Feb. 28. ABQid accelerator alumni will be included. (Screengrab from SkiLiftPitch.com)

Twelve startups and even more investors are strapping on their ski boots for ABQid’s third Ski Lift Pitch Contest, to be held in Taos on Feb. 28. The winner will receive $10,000 for their company.
Among the dozen hopefuls is InnoBright Technologies, a visualization software company that won $100,000 in AOL co-founder Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest pitch competition in October. Founder and CEO Raghu Kopalle said this upcoming competition will help his team understand what investors want from startups in the present economic climate. And winning more funds, he said, would serve as another accolade.

“Winning the prize money in such a stiff competition is always a feather in the hat for the company’s marketing, when approaching new [venture capitalists] or angel investors,” Kopalle said.
A couple of contestants hail from outside New Mexico. Local competitors include Honeymoon Brewery, which makes beer brewed with kombucha, and EquiSeq (pronounced “eh-qui-seek”), a genetic-focused startup that helps identify diseases in horses. The latter reported that it broke $10,000 in revenue last year, a milestone for the two-year-old company.
Both competitors, as well as InnoBright, are graduates of the ABQid accelerator. EquiSeq also competed in Rise of the Rest last year.
This time around, EquiSeq CEO Lexi Palmer said she is most excited to show off what New Mexico’s technology scene has to offer.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to share our company and story with successful individuals outside of New Mexico,” she said. “It is also an opportunity for us to showcase a side of Albuquerque that not many people are aware of, but that has been thriving.”
ABQid’s new executive director, TJ Cook, told Business First that participants were selected based on their team, scalability and ideas, with a focus on how their idea might appeal to the judges.
“This year’s event is the best showcase yet of the unique blend of talent, capital and environment we’re a part of in New Mexico,” he said. “We have participants hailing from nine different states, growing our reach considerably among investors and entrepreneurs alike.”
Investors, who will serve as judges at the event, will come from all over. Local firms such as Sun Mountain Capital — the firm in charge of the state’s Catalyst Fund— will be present. Silicon Valley Bank and Utah’s Kickstart Seed Fund will have snow boots on the ground as well.
Los Alamos-based UbiQD (pronounced “ubiquity”) won last year’s Ski Lift Pitch Contest. In a surprise last-minute twist, two startups with Albuquerque ties snagged some dough that Wells Fargo kicked in for another $7,500 in runner-up prizes.
Other competitors in this year’s Ski Lift Pitch:
CivNet, Albuquerque — an online network to connect with like-minded individuals, find opportunities to get involved and organize to take action
iTherapyDocs, Albuquerque — providing documentation and billing software for a section of Medicaid serving people with developmental disabilities
Length Width Height, Santa Fe — e-commerce for customized upholstery and home décor
NoStamp, Tijeras — Leveraging image capture and comparison capabilities of smartphones to allow for the exact payment of postage
Peak Alpaca, Amsterdam, New York — Creating an eco-friendly, sustainable, hypoallergenic product line for the outdoors and home
Revolution Agriculture, Rio Rancho — Creating closed system organic farms that produce greater yield, run on renewable energy and use less water
Stow, Windsor, Colorado — A marketplace for storage allowing users with extra space to make extra income by listing it on an app
Twistle, Albuquerque— A health care communications platform with device and electronic health record integration
MetaPipe, Albuquerque- animation production in the cloud

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