CNM Ingenuity launches software development business

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer/Albuquerque Journal

Central New Mexico Community College is launching a commercial software development business in Downtown Albuquerque.

The new startup, Ingenuity Software Labs Inc., will begin operations on July 1 as a for-profit, spin-out business created by CNM Ingenuity, a nonprofit that manages all of CNM’s commercial activities. The new business will sell its services nationwide, offering custom software, mobile app development, website design and strategic consulting, said CNM Ingenuity Executive Director Kyle Lee.

CNM is converting an existing service into a commercial business. The college created CNM Ingenuity Software Labs last year to offer students in the Deep Dive coding program at CNM’s STEMulus Center Downtown work experience after graduation.

That service has to date managed about 15 commercial contracts, generating close to $500,000 in revenue and providing temporary jobs for about 20 Deep Dive alumni. CNM Ingenuity believes it can now grow those services into a thriving, independent business that could offer far more jobs to students and others in Albuquerque.

“We originally launched it inside CNM Ingenuity as a workforce development program to give students work opportunities,” Lee said. “But there’s very high demand for these services, too much so to be run by a nonprofit entity. By spinning it out as an independent commercial business, it can grow much faster and give more students opportunities.”

John Mierzwa, CNM’s director of STEMulus initiatives who founded the Deep Dive program, will leave the STEMulus Center to take over as CEO of Ingenuity Software Labs. Lisa Adkins, director of the FatPipe business incubator, will join Mierzwa as chief operating officer in the new business, although she’ll continue to run FatPipe.

It will be housed at FatPipe, at least to start.

“John and Lisa will offer great leadership to get this up and going and grow it quickly into a profitable operation,” Lee said. “They’ve both led successful ventures in the past.”

CNM is the lead investor in Ingenuity Software Labs, which will be run as a public-private entity. Additional investment will come from Nick Truyol, founder and CEO of the Albuquerque staffing and recruiting company Sabio Systems.

The startup will take advantage of Albuquerque’s low cost of business to offer high-quality services at an affordable price, Mierzwa said.

“The goal is to get as much work from out-of-state contracts as possible while taking advantage of our low-cost environment here,” Mierzwa said. “We’ll help brand New Mexico as a place for top-quality software development services at lower cost than is available is elsewhere.”

CNM sees the venture as an economic development initiative to grow high-paying jobs for both students and local developers.

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