The council unanimously approved the SIC funding on Tuesday for two different Crosslink venture funds. That includes $20 million for an early-stage investment fund that finances initial Crosslink commitments to new companies, plus $15 million more for a later-stage fund that Crosslink will use to help already-established startups continue to grow.
It’s the third-round of SIC investment to date in Crosslink-managed funds, after committing two tranches of $15 million each in 2018 and 2020 to the firm. That brings total SIC backing for Crosslink to $65 million, financed through the council’s private equity program, which pumps money from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund into venture firms that invest in New Mexico startups.
Previous SIC backing contributed to substantial Crosslink investments in two local companies, including Santa Fe-based data analytics firm Descartes Labs, which currently employs nearly 100 people, and Albuquerque-based X-Bow Systems, which has developed potentially ground-breaking rocket-motor technology that could shake up the space-launch industry.
Crosslink led the first seed-round in X-Bow (pronounced “crossbow”), which originally formed in 2016. But the company only emerged this year from stealth mode, after closing in the spring on a new $27 million round of private equity from a group of investors that included Crosslink and Lockheed Martin Ventures.
X-Bow now employs close to 100 people and is expected to reach $13 million in revenue this year, up from $7 million in 2021, said Crosslink Partner Matt Bigge, who now sits on X-Bow’s board of directors. And the company projects over $50 million in revenue next year.
To date, Crosslink has committed more than $45 million to New Mexico companies, which, in turn, has helped those firms raise about $150 million in total capital from various sources, Crosslink General Managing Partner David Silverman told the SIC on Tuesday.
Crosslink is a three-decade-old venture firm with more than $3 billion in assets currently under management, and more than 100 companies in its portfolio.
“We’ve helped generate more than $100 billion in enterprise value” in those companies, Silverman said.
Crosslink has proven to be a “good partner” for the state, generating enough faith among SIC members to approve two more commitments to Crosslink funds, said SIC spokesman Charles Wollmann.
“We’re excited about the investments they already made in X-Bow,” Wollmann told the Journal. “That company is growing rapidly, and we want Crosslink to find more startups like that in New Mexico to help build our local industries and generate good-paying, high-tech jobs here.”