Albuquerque Gains Prominence, Visibility at SXSW Conference

City leveraging NM Tourism brand to market area as startup hotspot

The City of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico have partnered this year to deliver a cohesive message about working and living here to the tens of thousands of people from around the world who will attend next week’s SXSW Interactive Conference & Festivals.

Albuquerque’s visibility will be more prominent than ever with increased community participation on high-profile panels and a diverse group of startups participating in the trade show component. This will all be supported by the State Tourism Department’s wildly successful New Mexico True campaign.

The collaboration of City and State efforts is strategically designed to increase opportunity for SXSW attendees from around the world to learn about innovations being born in Albuquerque and to discover all that the state of New Mexico has to offer.

The state’s Tourism Department produced two video testimonials under the New Mexico True brand in time for SXSW – one from Albuquerque tech startup Innobright and another from Taos Mountain Energy Bars. Each shares its story about why they chose New Mexico as the place to start their companies. Hear Innobright founder Raghu Kopalle talk about Albuquerque’s supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem and how it’s possible to start a multi-billion company in New Mexico here:

The state also secured 100 percent of the Wi-Fi at the Austin airport for the month of March, said state Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham: “To connect to the Wi-Fi at the Austin airport, you’ll first see a 30-second commercial that describes New Mexico as a place built on stories – stories that make you feel like you’ve been somewhere, done something and met people you could only find in New Mexico. Highlighting our culture, heritage and scenery as points of difference works well for tourism and relocation, conveying the spirt of New Mexico that makes us a truly unique place to visit and live.”

Start or Move Your Business to Albuquerque

SXSW, to be held March 10-19 in Austin, Texas, is among the leading global events for startups, technology and culture. Below is a snapshot of how Albuquerque will tell its story:

  • Mayor Richard J. Berry will appear on stage in association with a special mayor’s conference held concurrent with SXSW. The panel will address how Living Cities’ “Racial Equity Here” initiative is working with cities to improve racial equity and advance opportunity for all.
  • Sandia National Laboratories and the Department of Energy’s role in developing “CleanTech” innovation will be the focus of a panel featuring Jackie Kerby Moore, manager of Technology & Economic Development for Sandia; Jean Redfield, president and CEO at NextEnergy; Raymond Weitekamp, founder/CEO of polySpectra; and Vladimir Matias, founder and president of Santa Fe-based iBeam Materials. They will discuss ways that DOE programs are adapting to provide more resources for private sector innovation.
  • Julia Youngs, Albuquerque program manager for Creative Startups, and Manuel Montoya, associate professor of Global Structures and International Management at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, will talk with Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs and Lenard Koschwitz, director of Public Policy for Allied For Startups, on the impact and potential of creative economies globally.
  • New Mexico-based Cottonwood Technology Fund’s David Blivin and Ray Quintana talk with Holt Ventures’ Edward Cramer and Bert Fulgium about expediting technology innovation in the construction, resource, energy and transportation industries.
  • Los Alamos/SantaFe-based Descartes Labs CEO and co-founder Mark Johnson will be part of a panel titled “2017: A Space Odyssey – Changing Our View of Earth.” Johnson, along with Matt Finer, senior research specialist with the Amazon Conservation Assoc., Will Marshall, CEO and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Sue Gordon, deputy director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will discuss how satellite imagery can help solve some of our biggest problems – from effects of wildfires to the rate of urban sprawl in developing countries, to how global warming impacts crops.

The backdrop for the City of Albuquerque booth will be an image of the New Mexico landscape, with the words “Work – Life Balance. [True].” “This partnership is a great example of how the City of Albuquerque can leverage a proven tool that the state has invested nearly $30 million in (cumulative campaign cost since 2012), as well as how New Mexico True can be used for more than generating tourism,” Latham said.

New Mexico startups registered to participate for SXSW by deadline were: ActiveClean, Cottonwood Technology Fund, Cultivating Coders, Dovetail Community Workshops, Kanoodl, Night Out Cards, Plot Duckies, WhichCraft, and ABQid Accelerator graduates Innobright, MetaPipe and Teeniors.

Participating organizations include the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Tourism Department and the New Mexico Technology Council.

To learn more about participants and their activities during SXSW, follow @abq2sxsw on Twitter and visit

Anyone planning to be in Austin during SXSW, please contact Eric Renz-Whitmore at or

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