Winning fellows will collaborate with Lab experts

The New Mexico Lab-Embedded Entrepreneur Program (New Mexico LEEP) announces the fellows in its 2023 cohort, launching this month. The program provides a two-year fellowship for entrepreneurs focusing on deep tech for national security.

“New Mexico LEEP presents a unique opportunity for Los Alamos National Laboratory and our community to support deep-tech innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Lab Director Thom Mason. “We look forward to providing the expertise and resources needed to develop new solutions for key national security challenges.”

“Deep tech” refers to technological solutions to society’s biggest issues including chronic disease, climate change, space systems, clean energy and food production.

Deep tech is often pioneered by start-up companies with the freedom to be innovative but not the resources to take their technologies to the next level. Partnering with a national laboratory such as Los Alamos can help change that.

NM Leep entrepreneurs will help grow innovation in New Mexico

The 2023 New Mexico LEEP fellows are:

  • Yun Li of Filtravate Inc., which produces efficient, ultra-sensitive filtering devices for biological and pharmaceutical applications.
  • Scott Ziegler of Space Kinetic, which is developing a new space-logistics technology to build more resilient in-space supply lines.

Dozens of innovators applied for the program following a national solicitation. The selection process consisted of rigorous evaluations from industry experts, investors and scientists.

“We had an outpouring of interest and strong candidates across our four target areas — artificial intelligence and advanced computing, advanced materials, biotechnology and space systems,” said Duncan McBranch, program director of Entrepreneurship for Mission Innovation at the Laboratory. “We look forward to matching the selected fellows not only with scientific expertise but also industry leaders to position them for follow-on investment.” 

How LEEP works

New Mexico LEEP is operated by the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (CDC), who helps the fellows relocate to Northern New Mexico for two years to participate in the experience.

“Los Alamos CDC will introduce our 2023 fellows to a variety of business-development incentives, low cost of living and abundant recreational opportunities that will hopefully entice them to stay long-term and grow their companies in Los Alamos County,” said Lauren McDaniel, executive director.

Fellows will collaborate with an experienced network of mentors in both science and business as they participate in a curriculum tailored to support deep-tech business growth.

Meet the entrepreneurs

Based in Albuquerque, Yun Li is developing a nano-membrane so fine it can filter viruses from liquid, making water and the world safer from disease. Filtravate’s advanced manufacturing process is sustainable, uses less energy and isn’t as solvent-intensive as current methods, thus lowering production costs. Filtravate’s membranes are also ideal for monoclonal antibody production, which is used to treat diseases such as cancer and COVID-19.

From Lafayette, California, and relocating to New Mexico, Scott Ziegler of Space Kinetic is developing a new kind of space-logistics technology based on an electromechanical launch-and-catch system. Instead of using a bulky transportation vehicle to move payloads between orbits or between operations on the Moon, Space Kinetic can just move payload itself. This will drive down space logistics costs to make space more accessible, while simultaneously providing a suite of new capabilities to both the private sector and the U.S. government.