Lis Kuuttila

STC.UNM Helps Albuquerque Startups Gain Momentum

City Alive Aligned Contributions, Connecting People and Places, Education, Entrepreneurship

STC.UNM Helps Albuquerque Startups Gain Momentum


STC.UNM is playing a crucial role in business, job and wealth creation in Albuquerque.

STC.UNM, the University of New Mexico’s technology transfer and economic development organization, has been around for more than a decade, but according to Lisa Kuuttila, CEO and Chief Economic Development Officer, the past four years have been a time of rapid growth and development – for both the organization and for Albuquerque’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “There is a common understanding between universities, government and the private sector that entrepreneurship and small businesses are the future,” says Lisa, “and we all have a role to play in helping them to succeed.”

STC.UNM has two key focus areas related to supporting entrepreneurs and startups at UNM. Their first focus is geared towards supporting faculty research and identifying ideas that may have commercial potential. The second is supporting student entrepreneurship through things like pitch competitions, job fairs and early incubator programs. STC.UNM aims to support between 10-12 startups a year, and with a success rate at around 55%, they have a much higher success rate than Albuquerque’s average.

STC.UNM, which is now located on UNM’s main campus, will be one of the first to move to the Innovate ABQ site when it is completed (projected for late summer this year). The organization will be a pivot point in the Lobo Rainforest Building, a hub for students, entrepreneurs and innovators.

“We’re really excited,” says Lisa.  “The University was the founding partner in the [Innovate ABQ] initiative, so we have a really big stake in it. And locating our work downtown at the Rainforest Building will help innovation spread organically. Innovate ABQ and the activity that will be there is vital to not only homegrown businesses but to attracting other companies here.”

IntelliCyt, a company whose technology was first licensed by STC.UNM in 2006, is one of many success stories out of the organization. The company, which sells super fast cytometers (or cell meters), was acquired for $90 million last year, leaving the tech business and all of its 55 high-paying jobs right here in Albuquerque.

Lisa says that STC.UNM’s goal is to recreate similar outcomes with many more Albuquerque startups. “We want to continue to grow our platforms so that folks outside of New Mexico continue to see our technologies. We’re just beginning to build bridges between startups and large corporations out of state and we’re seeing the results of that now.”

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