Over the years, HD3 has assisted hundreds of young companies, startups, concepts and discoveries — with strategic advice, connections and improvement to their idea. For the few that become HD3 portfolio companies, they gain full access to the HD3 network and we work as partners to accelerate their opportunity to become a robust, high-growth enterprise.
Either through our signature Discovery Day events, by referral or spinoff, HD3 selectively adds up to 5-6 new promising startups each year to its portfolio, and then drives their growth alongside their innovation team or entrepreneur.
We partner with industry and trade groups, economic development groups, universities, laboratories and government agencies to identify and encourage promising innovators to bring forward their ideas and present them to HD3. Through a process of due diligence, getting to know the team, understanding the market and opportunity, learning what is needed and if/how we can be of assistance, HD3 may ultimately form an equity partnership and/or advisory services relationship with the company.
Many factors are involved in becoming an HD3 portfolio company, but first and foremost, is a strong market-based idea, innovation or product. Also high among our criterion when considering a startup relationship is to work alongside people who we enjoy, trust, are coachable and team oriented. At HD3 we often say, it takes a village to grow a startup in New Mexico. But traveling the journey with others who have done it before, increases the odds of success.
A few of the HD3 startups include:
About a decade ago, the California wine industry came calling to New Mexico – seeking solutions to some pesty pathogens that for decades had a devastating impact on the grape vines in the U.S. Industry leaders had been following the research of Dr. Goutam Gupta, who was developing novel innate approaches to therapy. They worked with Dr. Gupta to develop the chimera strategy for protection against Pierce’s Disease (PD) in grapes. Xylella fastidiosa, a gram-negative bacterium, is the causative agent and is transmitted to grape by vectors, called glassy wing sharpshooters. PD is a major threat to the wine industries in California and in Brazil. In 2016, a new HD3 startup, called Innate Immunity was born that acknowledges the rapid emergence of pathogenic resistance against drugs, antibiotics, and vaccines warrants radically novel approaches to therapy. While vector control by insecticides can temporarily halt the disease occurrence but cannot totally eliminate the disease. The therapy is able to show complete suppression of PD in greenhouse and field studies by designing Thompson Seedless grape that expresses a chimera targeted against Xf.
HD3 and founder Dr. Gupta have reignited their partnerships with the California wine industry and will work collaboratively to host field trials with the largest nurseries supplying the industry beginning in 2016. Additional crops that may become future market segments for Innate Immunity therapies include citrus, cannabis and chile.
The idea that New Mexico has a largely untapped yet highly promising entrepreneurial and innovator pool of Post Docs working inside our state’s DOE labs and elsewhere, was something HD3 started exploring early on in our history. And it was during the Winter of 2013, that one such Post Doc was ‘discovered’. Dr. Hunter McDaniel – a Los Alamos National Laboratory Post Doc who – along with a disruptive technology primed to enter the marketplace – also seemed to possess that entrepreneurial gene. Thus, after presenting at the HD3 Discovery Day in Los Alamos, UbiQD, short for ubiquitous quantum dots, was born.
A cleantech materials company was spun out of LANL that manufactures optical components for energy applications. The company’s core technology is based on low-toxicity “quantum dots”, which are particularly attractive due to their ability to efficiently manipulate the spectrum of light. UbiQD’s materials are primarily utilized for LED lighting and building-integrated solar, with the first products aimed at the horticulture industry. The company’s vision is to be the worldwide leader in quantum dot technology by turning the glass on skyscrapers into the power supply of cities.
HD3 assisted in accelerating UBQid identifying a few advisors and board directors, and raised early seed capital. Since then, HD3 advisors have participated in bringing solid mentorship, connections and guidance to their growth.
When Dr. Alex Koglin, a Los Alamos J. Oppenheimer Fellow and German Biochemist, approached HD3 in the winter of 2014 to explore what it might take to start a biotech startup in New Mexico, he was adamant “We will stay in New Mexico”. And so they have, and they will.
NTxBio, LLC is a Santa Fe-based bioinformatics and biomanufacturing startup company that develops and advances a platform for research to mid-scale and host-independent biological manufacturing. The platform enables high-throughput screening for and production of biological materials with defined qualities. N TxBio’s invention further allows real-time metabolic profiling of bacteria, fungi and plants to discover, characterize and produce bioactive natural products with increased reproducibility, at a reduced footprint and accelerated time effort compared to established methods. The goal is to provide novel materials for diverse product development and drug leads for clinical development, which can counter infectious diseases that present a public health threat and are of concern to biosecurity. The company is on its way to develop host-independent, enzymatic and scalable production systems. It aims to eliminate or reduce the primary bottleneck of biomaterials and natural product discovery by exploiting ex-vivo biosynthetic methods. This allows for rapid and reproducible identification, characterization and production of novel structural proteins and medically relevant metabolites. Our engine significantly increases the database for drug discovery and novel drug leads development, resulting in a massive reduction of time and labor. Licensing opportunities with pharmaceutical partners as well as government contracts define our initial revenue model.
The NTxBio team are the sole inventors of the bioinformatics platform and jointly hold relevant compound patents with LANL. Alongside Dr. Koglin, CEO Dr. Michael Humbert is founding member of NTxBio and has extensive experience in preclinical drug development through his former position as Harvard Faculty. He also has start-up experience as he joined a private biotech in the Bay Area working as a senior scientist developing diagnostic assays in 2013. HD3 acts as the accelerator partner providing strategic business guidance, industry connections and governance. Through HD3, NTxBio is guided and mentored by a core group of experienced management, investment, scientific, engineering, commercialization and product development experts.
Sometimes innovation that becomes the core of a new startup arises from New Mexico. Sometimes however, it comes from some other place whereby we are able to benefit from its opportunity. In the case of Bionic Soil Solutions, this discovery came about after a long history of the company finding its adoption in the international marketplace, and several restarts, that finally led to its path to New Mexico and to HD3.
Lithification is a complex process involving naturally occurring chemicals, minerals, moisture, pressure and cementation, where soil gradually becomes solid rock over thousands of years. Bionic’s use of nontoxic, environmentally friendly ionic soil stabilization products are designed to interact with the mineralogy of clay and native insitu soils, thereby reducing the cost of materials and fuels needed to import materials, and greatly reducing the carbon footprint.
HD3 saw the product’s amazing promise from the start. But given its long history, we stepped in to assist in restructuring and modernizing its business structure, identifying Accounts Payable financing, matching up experienced advisors to the startup team, and making high value introductions with our strategic industry contacts that could get them to revenues.
As we all know, New Mexico is one of the largest oil and gas producing states. And the market for heavy oil is growing on a worldwide basis. Indeed, following one of the most severe market downturns seen by the oil and gas industry in recent decades, global producers are seeking innovative solutions that improve margins and improve efficiencies. One of HD3’s first portfolio companies aims to do just that. HOS was founded when Dr. Steve Yarbro – a Lovington, New Mexico native and longtime Los Alamos National Laboratory chemical engineer – presented at a 2012 Discovery Day. His innovation, Super Critical Water Extraction and Refining (known as SCWER), is a technology process that uses the high solvent capacity of supercritical water to thermally crack heavy oil and bitumen into higher value compounds. The SCWER system refines oil directly at the wellhead, eliminating the need for alternative transportation methods, which dramatically decreases costs – making previously uneconomical oil into highly economical oil. Following the SCWER process, the upgraded oil has a low viscosity and conventional pipelines and trucks can easily transport it. The SCWER system is a simple, skid-mounted unit placed at the wellhead. The SCWER process has been tested on a laboratory scale with a variety of samples from sites across the United States and the Canadian Oil Sands.
Under the capable business, scientific and engineering leadership of Chris Traylor and Steve Yarbro, HOS will launch a one barrel per day pilot program – located initially at the San Juan Energy College in Farmington – in the Fall of 2016.
For generations, the Roswell, New Mexico-based Visser family built a successful dairy business. Millennial son Garren Visser, in fresh receipt of his dairy sciences degree from Cal Poly SLO, desired something different. Entrepreneurial and innovative in nature, yet schooled in the industry, he began to study the process of making alcohol and soon realized that lactose, the sugar in milk, could be formentable. Some years of trial and error discovered the right mixture, the right yeast – finally resulting in one of the most satisfying vodkas he and others had ever tasted.
Milk Money Vodka, distilled from milk, is a new product poised to make a significant impact in the spirits industry nationwide. The product has caught the attention of critics, distributors and connoisseurs alike. With its unique composition, clever bottling and packaging, and smooth taste, HD3, who became the startup’s accelerator partner in 2014, joins Mr. Visser to bring this disruptive, innovative value-added dairy product to the world.