Innovating NM’s Startups: A Call for Collaboration and Change


By Angelica Maestas for the Journal

New Mexico is on the brink of a transformative era in its business ecosystem. However, to truly harness this potential, we must address some critical challenges and embrace key principles that will shape our future. Organizations like NM Angels have, and will continue to be, instrumental in this journey, but there’s more to be done.

One of the foundational principles that can drive New Mexico’s growth is the ethos of collaboration over competition. In a world where resources are finite, collaboration ensures that startups and established businesses alike can pool their strengths, share knowledge and drive mutual growth. This collaborative spirit is especially crucial given the current shortage of operators in our ecosystem. By working together, we can bridge this gap and ensure that every startup has the operational expertise it needs to thrive. The face of entrepreneurship and venture capital is changing, and New Mexico must be at the forefront of this evolution. We need to bring diverse entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to the table to shape our evolving startup ecosystem. Their unique perspectives, experiences, and insights will be invaluable in crafting a more inclusive and dynamic business landscape.

Furthermore, while we have a wealth of talent within New Mexico, it’s essential to build bridges with established leaders outside our state. By tapping into their knowledge and expertise, we can infuse our ecosystem with global best practices and innovative strategies, ensuring that we’re not just growing, but growing smartly.

Now, as we look to the future, here are some calls to action for our community: 1. Start New Conversations: It’s time to bring in new voices and fresh faces. Diversity in thought and experience will be the catalyst for our next wave of innovation. Women like Sandy Hirschberg, with her dedication to connecting entrepreneurs with much-needed resources, and Mahrinah Shije, a trailblazer at the nexus of technology, policy and venture, are exemplary figures driving transformative change and bringing fresh, impactful insights to New Mexico’s startup ecosystem.

2. Collaborate and Level Up Together: Let’s move beyond silos and work together. Whether you’re in tech, healthcare, bioscience or any other sector, collaboration will be the key to leveling up. Startup founder, Ian Koons, Co-Founder and CEO of Karoo Health, exemplifies this ethos. Having recently joined the New Mexico community, Ian’s bold and candid perspective encourages New Mexico’s startup ecosystem to envision greater possibilities and reach higher aspirations.

3. Innovate in Healthcare and Bioscience: These sectors hold immense potential. By focusing our energies here, we can drive breakthroughs that not only benefit New Mexico but the world at large. Organizations like UNM Rainforest and the NM Bioscience Authority are already hard at work to facilitate technology transfers from research institutions and startups — creating an environment that fosters cooperative research and innovation. It’s in this realm that HealthTech Rx also plays a pivotal role in helping scale equity-centered strategies and innovative technologies.

The path ahead for New Mexico is filled with promise. With the continued efforts of organizations like NM Angels and a renewed focus on collaboration, diversity and innovation, we’re set to usher in a golden era for our startups and business ecosystem. Let’s come together, embrace change, and build a brighter future for the Land of Enchantment.

Angelica Maestas is a seasoned healthtech entrepreneur, founding HealthTech Rx to scale MVPs for healthtech startups. A fervent advocate for women in leadership, she hosts ‘She’s Ambitious AF,’ a podcast dedicated to shedding light on the challenges and triumphs of startup life for women entrepreneurs.