News Column

Thriving environment for homegrown startups

June 23, 2014

By Kevin Robinson-Avila, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

June 23--This year's list of fast-growing companies with under $10 million in revenue reflects a thriving startup environment in New Mexico.

Three of the four top-ranking firms have only been in business since 2009, and most of the other 20 companies on the list launched after 2006.

Taken together, they collectively doubled their revenue over the past five years, from $31.3 million in 2009 to $65.5 million last year. They also doubled their workforce in the same period, with the number of employees at all firms combined rising from 168 to 339.

"We have a vibrant startup economy," said John Freisinger, president and CEO of Technology Ventures Corp. "There's a real focus now on building new businesses, and it's making Albuquerque and New Mexico a great place to start a company. In general, the number of startups making it beyond the first critical year of operation is increasing significantly."

This year's top honoree, InkSoft Inc., grew its revenue from just $7,300 in sales during its first year of operations in 2009 to $2.49 million last year. The company provides business software for screen printers who imprint images on clothing to fully manage their operations online.

With about 250,000 such apparel screen printers in the U.S. alone, InkSoft has a large market to grow in, said founder, owner and CEO Scott Allen.

"We expect to reach $3.7 million in revenue this year," Allen said. "We're also developing more software to expand into new markets, such as printing on coffee mugs, smartphone cases, mouse pads and signs and banners."

Like InkSoft, many companies on the list have launched a range of new, homegrown products in a variety of fields, including computer hardware and software, biotechnology, and high-tech optical devices.

Actoprobe, for example -- which launched in 2009 and earned the number three spot on this year's list -- makes microneedles, or probes, to allow scientists to see things at the nanoscale. The company builds the probes with lasers at the University of New Mexico's Center for High Technology Materials.

"These are workforce tools that can provide images of a single molecule, and in some cases of single atoms," said Actoprobe Managing Director Alexander Ukhanov.

Other fast-growing startups on the list offer a broad range of engineering services.

The Burgos Group LLC, which manages construction, safety and facility operations at military installations, earned second place this year after growing its revenue from $92,600 when it launched in 2006 to $5.55 million last year.

LoadPath LLC, which launched in 2009 to provide structural engineering design work for satellites, earned fourth place. Its revenue grew from $236,000 to $3.47 million.


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Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)

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