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About

Vision & Story

Forming a successful social entrepreneurial venture requires a community of involved stakeholders who listen, care, guide, challenge, and engage with founders and their teams. Santa Fe Innovates supports disciplined, purpose-filled entrepreneurs, bringing together the program, mentors, investors, and community to launch and grow. Our primary focus is on startups who have a scalable idea with a focus on technology or other solutions.

Santa Fe is a place for social entrepreneurs to start, stay, grow, and achieve a positive impact. Through our community, New Mexico will become a state known for social impact investing and scalable social enterprises. A positive ripple effect begins, igniting social impact ventures and an activating ecosystem to support founders, team members, investors, and citizens.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. averages 20 technology companies founded per year that reach $100 million in revenues. New Mexico can be a key part. Through Santa Fe Innovates, we imagine helping to create at least five startups in New Mexico in the next ten years, each realizing $10 million in annual revenue. Job creation of 25+ team members per company will be a key result. Just as valuable, tangible social impact through the embedded purpose of each startup will multiply the outcomes realized.

Affiliates

Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce logo Social Enterprise Alliance Member Certified B Corporation Pending logo

Philosophy

Decency

Treat everyone with respect – the right things in the right way

Betterment

Collaborate, learn, grow – innovation with humanity

Honesty

Own up to my actions and words – responsibility with accountability

Optimism

Always try to make it work – persistence with results

Effort

Do the work – thoroughness with momentum

Our philosophy in how we work with each other and how we work with our community is straightforward. Our community of entrepreneurs will create a better future through disciplined work, engaging teams and companies, substantial growth and profit, and worthwhile purpose.

“I know the idea for the company came through me in some way, but it’s beyond me. I planted the first seed and now I look around and there’s this amazing garden. I’m just an ordinary person.”~ Eileen Fisher, founder

Our Team

Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz, Founder

Jon is a 25-year tech and marketing executive. He led brand development, product management and marketing, lead generation, and sales channel efforts for entrepreneurial and enterprise companies, including Corepoint Health, QuickArrow, Deloitte, IBM, and BMC. He founded Activate World, a leadership and podcast community designed to explore corporate citizenship and activism. Jon is pursuing an interdisciplinary leadership doctorate through Creighton University.

Sean O'Shea

Sean O'Shea Program Director

Sean started HatchForm in 2018 after working as the business and entrepreneurship project manager at the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation and as the Program Director at the Santa Fe Business Incubator. Sean received his MBA from Philadelphia University in 2010, is a certified Business Incubator Manager, serves on the New Mexico TechWorks Task Force and the City of Santa Fe’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, and sits on the Advisory Boards of Honeymoon Brewery and FairBikes.

Melanie Lenci

Melanie Lenci, Community & Events Manager

Entrepreneur intoxicated by bringing people together through storytelling. Melanie worked with MIX Santa Fe and the bizMIX business accelerator program, which shepherded 98 businesses through eight cohorts and awarded close to half a million dollars in cash and resources. She also worked with the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership and the City of Santa Fe’s Office of Economic Development (SFOED). Melanie founded Entrepreneur Story Time™ and has worked with several startup companies and established firms in project management, event management, and product launches.

Kent Nutt

Kent Nutt, Marketing Director

Kent is a marketing and communications entrepreneur in high-tech and nonprofit industries. He’s a strategic thinker and hands-on implementer with experience building end-to-end, transformative marketing and communications programs for startups, Fortune 500 companies, growing nonprofits, and academia. Sectors included telecommunications, 3D printing, network software, semiconductors, web analytics, and scientific research.

Advisory Council

Tom Aageson

Tom Aageson, Co-Founder (Emeritus), Creative Startups

Tom is the co-founder of Creative Startups. He is also the co-founder of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the largest folk art market in the world. Tom was VP of Marketing and Merchandising at Mystic Seaport, where he created the Mystic Maritime Art Gallery along with other startups. Tom led artisan entrepreneurs from 20 countries into international markets as Director of Aid to Artisans. He holds an MBA from Columbia University, a BFT from the Graduate School of International Management, and a BA in Economics from Marquette University.

Pamela Koster

Pamela Koster, CEO, Falling Colors

Pamela is a tech-minded, community focused entrepreneur and innovator. She is the co-founder and CEO of Falling Colors, which itself is multifaceted. Falling Colors focuses on improving life and business outcomes through their custom data-driven software and providing transparency through their financial arm as a third-party payor, all on top of a community-focused foundation.

As CEO of a small company, Pamela is very hands-on and involved with day-to- day functions and integrating our purpose-driven approach to all areas of the company. She sets the vision for the company and leads by example in setting the company culture.

Mindy Hale

Mindy Hale, COO, Falling Colors

Mindy is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Falling Colors, which develops custom data driven software, has a financial arm serving as a third- party payor, and a philanthropic branch for supporting organizations with similar visions. Mindy is focused on designing and scaling systems that support behavioral health improvement, fintech for public and non-profits and real-time data management. She loves wood carving, spending time with her family, hanging out in the mountains, and solving logic problems – particularly creating logic out of chaos.

Andro Hsu

Andro Hsu, PHD

Andro is a strategy and marketing leader with 12 years’ experience transforming technological innovation into novel commercial products across precision medicine, health information technology, and the life sciences. He has a PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, and held early roles at 23andMe, Syapse, and GRAIL.

Victor Johnson

Victor Johnson, Founder, Santa Fe IP

Victor is an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney who founded Santa Fe IP to provide entrepreneurs, startups, and multinationals with the experience of an AmLaw 20 firm and the entrepreneurial spirit of an IP boutique. Victor began his IP career nearly 30 years ago as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. More recently, he spent nearly a decade as a partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. Currently, Victor can be found volunteering at the Santa Fe Business Incubator with their Patent:ly program

Julie Crabill

Julie Crabill, Business and Marketing Consultant

Julie Crabill is a business and marketing consultant for organizations across the technology spectrum. She is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Descartes Labs, a predictive intelligence company that uses geospatial data to predict supply and demand factors – like agricultural outputs or steel demand. Prior to Descartes Labs, Julie spent nearly two decades in agency PR at SHIFT Communications, Edelman, Weber Shandwick and the Benjamin Group. Most recently, she was the founder/CEO of Inner Circle Labs, a marketing communications company focused on frontier technology, which she sold to Highwire Public Relations in Jan. 2018.