Purpose: The VAF fund seeks to improve the economy of Northern New Mexico by providing a unique source of funding to companies who are on track to add jobs, grow revenues, or attract follow-on investment.


VAF Funding: VAF financing is useful for companies that are not ready for equity investment, but unable to get bank financing. It is also useful for companies who will not need additional investment but can use a one-time cash infusion to achieve growth goals.


In 2018 the maximum award size will be $60,000. Projects are often funded at a lower amount than requested. In 2016 and 2017, the median award size was $41,000.  Previous VAF awardees are not eligible to reapply.


Companies selected for VAF do not give up any equity by accepting the funding. Repayment is made in the form of providing mutually agreed upon support to northern New Mexico’s startup community.  The award must be repaid upon the company:


  • being acquired
  • leaving the state
  • failing to provide the mutually agreed upon annual support to northern New Mexico’s startup community


The “payback” is designed to help grow the fund so that in the future, more companies can be awarded and the fund will become independent of the need for regular fundraising.


Application and Selection Process:

Applications are due at Close of Business on March 12, 2018. Once the application period is complete, a panel of reviewers evaluates the applications and selects a subset of companies to present their projects in person. The format is generally a brief presentation followed by Q&A. In 2018, these presentations will occur in early April. The review panel then selects awardees from this group.  Awardees will be notified in late April and work on contract milestones and deliverables begins in May. The review panel consists of entrepreneurs, previous VAF awardees, investors, and economic development experts.

What Is the VAF Looking For?

Industry: Technology-driven or manufacturing companies are eligible to apply for VAF.


Stage: Although the bulk of companies awarded VAF funds tend to be less than 2 years old, an established company can apply as long as it can show why VAF funding is more appropriate than traditional financing such a lines of credit, loans, etc. and if it can tie receipt of VAF funding to a major impact (such as entering a new market, significantly growing jobs or revenues, etc.).


Presence in Northern New Mexico: VAF will only accept applications from companies located in Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Taos, Rio Arriba, Mora, and San Miguel counties.


Market traction: Companies must show that there is a viable market for their product. VAF will not fund R&D projects for which no real commercial application can be shown.


Regional Impact: The purpose of VAF is to help build the economy in Northern New Mexico by creating jobs, growing the tax base, or otherwise bettering the community financially.


Team: We want to know that the right people are on board (or that you know what skills are missing and have a plan for obtaining them).


Milestones: VAF will not fund general development work. Each proposal must outline concrete tasks that the funding will help achieve (and show how these milestones advance the commercial progress of the company). Payment is only made once a milestone has been completed.


Matching Funds: Companies must show that they are willing to provide a match—in the form of either money or an in-kind contribution of labor, etc.—for every dollar they request from VAF.


Connection to Los Alamos National Laboratory: Because this fund was originally developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), we will give a preference to companies who have licensed LANL IP, were founded by LANL employees, or who participated in a New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) project with LANL.


Previous VAF Awardees: Companies who were previously VAF awardees are not eligible to apply for follow-on funding in the spring 2018 VAF call. This policy is revisited each call based on the size of the fund.

Who Is Behind the VAF?

The VAF is a collaborative investment founded by Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) in 2006. This year LANS, along with Los Alamos County, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and the City of Santa Fe are investing in the economic health of New Mexico via their support of growth-oriented companies. The fund is administered by the Regional Development Corporation of Española, New Mexico (www.rdcnm.org).

What is the Impact of VAF?

VAF Cumulative Impact