VAF Award Allowed IR Dynamics to Take Their Ideas to the Next Level
Innovative, highly-insulating window films cut homeowners’ electricity costs
Part of the job of economic development organizations such as the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) is keeping a finger on the pulse of the local entrepreneurial community to find ways to help boost it. And, economic developers working in primarily rural areas like the RDC’s region—Northern New Mexico—know that when you find true innovation, you do all you can to help support it.
The RDC recognized major marketplace opportunity in IR Dynamics, a producer of nanomaterials based in Santa Fe. The company produces transparent, thermally-dynamic window films that can insulate existing single-pane windows. This insulation provides a great deal of energy efficiency and can cut homeowners’ electricity costs by a significant portion each year.
In May of 2015, IR Dynamics received the good news that the company was one of four recipients of a VAF investment. After the award, RDC staff continued to check in with the company and encouraged them to attend a series of workshops in 2016 that were conducted to help portfolio companies succeed. IR Dynamics COO William Kurtz attended several workshops with his son, an aspiring entrepreneur himself. The workshops were sponsored by a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The RDC is the administrator of the VAF, the only program in Northern New Mexico that provides seed money for early-stage technology startups and growth-oriented businesses who lack the collateral for debt financing. Established in 2006 and funded primarily by Los Alamos National Security (LANS), the VAF receives additional support from Los Alamos County, Santa Fe County, City of Santa Fe Economic Development and New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).
“The funds helped us to develop a proof of concept that allowed us to go out for private investment and capital,” said IR Dynamics CEO Jim Satterwhite. “They came at a critical time in the development of the company. It’s been very helpful.”
A press release issued by the company in June 2016 states that, according to the Department of Energy, retrofitting single-pane windows with technology like IR Dynamics’ can save the country approximately the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million US homes for one year.
Since receiving the VAF award, IR Dynamics has since hired three people and plans to hire more in the coming year. The company also received a $1.95 million from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
“The RDC is really excited to support companies like IR Dynamics,” said Val Alonzo, RDC Executive Director. “Their goals of adding jobs and bringing new revenue into our Northern New Mexico region align exactly with the mission of the RDC. We’ll continue to do all we can to help fuel their growth.”