BlueStone Venture Partners LLC, with offices in Tucson and Santa Fe, must match the state commitment with $3 million from private investors, making at least $6 million available for emerging early-stage companies based in New Mexico.
This is the sixth state investment in local venture funds since last year, when the State Investment Council launched the $20 million Catalyst Fund to boost venture activity in New Mexico. To date, Santa Fe-based Sun Mountain Capital, which manages the Catalyst Fund, has approved about $13 million for venture funds that commit capital to local startups to prove their technologies and move to market.
“Investing in homegrown New Mexico companies and entrepreneurs strengthens and diversifies our economy,” said Gov. Susana Martinez in a statement Thursday announcing the BlueStone commitment. “The Catalyst Fund helps our local companies get off the ground and succeed, creating new jobs and opportunities for New Mexicans.”
BlueStone is raising its first $50 million to $75 million fund to invest in life science startups in the Southwest. That includes New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma, which BlueStone co-founder and managing director Mara Aspinall calls the “NATO” states.
“There are tremendous entrepreneurs developing new, promising technologies in the Southwest, but to a large extent, this area has been ignored by larger venture funds,” Aspinall said. “We believe there are strong technologies and opportunities in the NATO states, and that will be our primary focus.”
The fund will concentrate on medical devices and diagnostics, biopharma technologies and healthcare information technology.