AFRL's Lab Launch 2017 Designed to Promote Innovation in the Lab & Surrounding Community

ALBUQUERQUE –Air Force Research Lab New Mexico today announced the launch of a new program designed to leverage its resources, technology and personnel to bolster the entrepreneurial culture within its own laboratory, as well as the surrounding community. The AFRL New Mexico Lab Launch 2017 is being developed in partnership with Wasabi Ventures and is based on the company’s proven Wasabi Ventures Technology Accelerator (WVTA) program.

For the Lab Launch 2017 program, Wasabi Ventures will identify individuals who are interested in becoming tech entrepreneurs and provide them the tools to develop their skills. Selected individuals will ultimately be teamed up, matched to existing technology from AFRL and tasked with developing plans to commercialize that technology. At the end of a 24-week incubation process, which will take teams through technical due diligence, commercial viability and market validation of their startup commercialization plans, the teams will pitch to the local investment community, industry leaders, and other potential partners.

While recruitment for AFRL New Mexico Lab Launch 2017 is principally focused on scientists and engineers within AFRL, Wasabi Ventures will work to identify interested individual entrepreneurs drawn from across the state and the broader Wasabi Ventures network.  The firm will conduct extensive partner outreach across New Mexico to make municipalities, universities, and all other organizations serving the entrepreneurial ecosystem, aware of this program and the opportunity it offers to the members of their communities. The program is designed to be complementary to other programs, and to permit participants to leverage all additional non-program resources they may be eligible for.

AFRL New Mexico and Wasabi Ventures will be hosting its first information session for those individuals interested in participating or finding out more about Lab Launch 2017. It is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, 2016 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the AFRL Collaboration Center located at 2350 Alamo Ave SE, Suite 100.                                       

For more details on the Lab Launch 2017 and how to apply, please visit www.afrlnewmexico.com/lablaunch2017

AFRL Lab Launch 2017 Program:

In order to become eligible for AFRL Lab Launch 2017 interested individuals must successfully complete the free Wasabi Ventures Academy Startup Foundations Program.  The introductory course, “Startup 101: Introduction to the Startup World,” is a self-paced online course designed to expose aspiring entrepreneurs to the general concepts of startups, the reality of being a startup founder, and the basics of venture capital, in order to help galvanize their entrepreneurial skills.  The course will also provide participants the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding about the AFRL New Mexico Lab Launch 2017 program and the commitment it entails, while their qualifications are evaluated.  Startup 101 will run during Fall 2016. 

Selected participants will be invited to advance to the second course, “Startup 201: Preparing Yourself for the Startup World,” which will allow them the opportunity to delve further into their startup journey by developing ideas for the commercialization of AFRL and Sandia technologies. The course includes further curriculum, live bi-weekly office hours and Q&A, plus several intensive boot camp sessions to be held at locations across New Mexico with Wasabi Ventures partners and staff, designed to help participants refine their ideas and prepare their applications for submission.  Startup 201 will finish in January, 2017.

After a final selection round in February 2017, entrepreneurs will be led through “Startup 301: Technology Venture Incubation,” a 24-week process consisting of weekly curriculum, mentorship and work sessions, conducted by Wasabi Ventures’ partners and other expert contributors, to further explore the commercial viability of their chosen technologies and seek to develop and test strategies to build sustainable startups eligible for licensing opportunities.  Teams will leverage Wasabi Ventures’ experience, resources and talent network to build their startups.

At the culmination of the 24-week incubation process, teams will pitch to the local investment community, industry leaders, and other potential partners at a Demo Day.  From that point forward, entrepreneurs can choose to move into existing incubator programs to further develop their companies, seek grants for further technology development, or explore startup funding opportunities. 

About Wasabi Ventures

Founded by Chris Yeh and TK Kuegler in 2003, Wasabi Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm specializing in co-founding, building, incubating, investing in, and advising early-stage technology companies. Its approach allows early-stage startups to gain traction quickly through interaction with the firm’s partners and extensive network.

The Wasabi Ventures Transfer Accelerator (WVTA), was developed after General Partner Jeff Abbott joined the firm, bringing his experience in running one of the nation’s leading T2 programs to bear to develop a unique approach that blends the best practices of effective technology transfer and commercialization with Wasabi Venture’s proven success in technology venture formation and incubation.  

The program is designed to foster partnerships with research labs around the world, combining their intellectual property (IP) with Wasabi Ventures-trained startup founders into a powerful global network of talent and technology capable of producing growth-oriented startups. This revolutionary approach has dramatically increased the rate of licensure, new venture formation, and the likelihood of new ventures succeeding at leading research labs.

To learn more about Wasabi Ventures, please visit our website www.wasabiventures.com.