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How to Fund Your Small Business by Riding a Ski Lift
Entrepreneur Support Organization in New Mexico Gave Entrepreneurs a Chance to Pitch Businesses to Venture Capitalists on Famed Slopes of Taos Ski Valley
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- There's the elevator pitch. And now, there's the ski lift pitch, which happens once a year at the world-class Taos Ski Valley in northern New Mexico. Run by ABQid—an entrepreneur support organization powered by CNM Ingenuity in Albuquerque—the recently completed 2020 version provided small businesses with scalability and high-growth potential the chance to ride the lift with a series of investors in an effort to attract investment.
"The whole event creates a really rich environment for startups that they otherwise would not have access to," says T.J. Cook, executive director of ABQid at CNM Ingenuity, the research park for Central New Mexico Community College.
This year's Ski Lift Pitch featured six businesses from New Mexico and six from across the country. On the investment side, there was over $100 million worth of investable capital represented by the investors. The event is principally designed to create funding opportunities, but it's also a way to showcase New Mexico as an emerging startup hub and highlight the beauty of the state.
"There are a lot of myths about New Mexico – everyone thinks it's just a desert," Cook says. "Many don't know we have a world-class ski resort and so much more."
After a first round of pitches on the lift, investors narrowed the field to three finalists. Those three finalists presented again in a restaurant at the base of Taos Ski Valley, competing for a $10,000 first-prize check. Meanwhile, all the companies participating had a chance to mingle and develop relationships with the investors.
"The in-between time is actually really important," Cook says. "A couple years ago one of the companies that didn't win the competition was able to leverage a connection from the event and received $300,000 in investment four months later."
This year's winner was Relativity6, a national startup that uses a proprietary algorithm to help large-scale companies prevent customer churn. More specifically, Relativity6 helps a company that has repeat customers identify which of those customers are most likely to drift away. Then, Relativity6 helps that company run a marketing campaign to increase retention.
"You can imagine how meaningful that is to companies with a significant customer base," Cook says.
New Mexico-based EveryDay Contacts was also a finalist. Their company helps optometrists and consumers connect in order for consumers to buy premium-quality contacts at more affordable prices.
"It's great for optometrists because they don't lose business to third parties, and it's great for the customer because they get a lot of value," Cook says.
The next opportunity for New Mexico companies to pitch investors will be the Balloon Pitch Contest in October during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The Ski Lift Pitch will take place in early 2021. Businesses interested in either can get in touch now at ABQid.com.
SOURCE Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)