Our investors are Cottonwood Technology Fund (CTF), an early-stage technologycommercialization fund; Sun Mountain Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm withexpertise establishing and managing private equity programs and DENSO.

Cottonwood Technology Fund (CTF)

Cottonwood Technology Fund (CTF) is an early-stage technology commercialization fund with offices in El Paso, Texas, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. It aims to cultivate the entrepreneurial community of the Paso del Norte region running along the Rio Grande River from Los Alamos, New Mexico to El Paso, Texas. It is an area rich in resources, host to two federal labs (Los Alamos and Sandia), two medical centers (the University of New Mexico Health Services Center and the Texas Tech University Health Services Center at El Paso), and four engineering schools and research universities (UNM,UTEP, NM Tech and NM State). Collectively, they represent more than $4.0 billion in annual research across critical fields such as Bio-Sciences, New Energy, Nanotechnology, Information Technologies, CleanTech and Aerospace. CTF will work to provide venture services and capital to tech transfer opportunities having strong commercial potential. We borrowed our name from a tree native to the region. The Rio Grande Cottonwood a welcome sight to pioneer desert caravans because it often signaled water typically reaches 50 to 60 feet in height and can produce as many as 25 million seeds in a season. CTF aims to be as fruitful with its work.


DENSO is a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components for major automakers. The firm is committed to making the world a better place through their world- first products and technologies.


Like many entrepreneurial stories, Kickstart began with the recognition that there was a problem to be solved. After five years of making Series A investments in Utah, our founder, Gavin Christensen, saw that the lack of seed capital in Utah and the West was hurting entrepreneurs and that the ecosystem needed a seed fund. In 2008, Gavin worked with local universities, angel investors, entrepreneurs, venture capital funds, and other key stakeholders to build a seed fund that the community could rally behind. Following the launch of its first $8M fund, Kickstart became known for being accessible, willing to lead investments in promising but early teams, and for being fair with entrepreneurs and investors alike. Kickstart Seed Fund quickly became the most active investor in Utah and is now synonymous with seed capital in the region.

Stage 1 Ventures

Stage 1 Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that is seeking to build partnerships with great entrepreneurs that are flexible and who want to build meaningful companies.  The depth of Stage 1 Ventures venture capital and operating experience makes it a trusted partner for entrepreneurs looking to build their companies both smarter and faster. The firm is structured to maximize the time its partners spend working cooperatively with entrepreneurs to add value to their companies. Portfolio companies benefit from access to the broad skills, contacts and resources of the entire Stage 1 Ventures team.

Sun Mountain Capital

Sun Mountain Capital is a private equity and venture capital firm with expertise establishing and managing private equity programs across the United States and Mexico. We manage direct private equity investment funds and also provide fund investment advisory and management services for public and private entities. Sun Mountain Capital was founded in 2006 by a team of senior investment professionals with over 80 years of private equity experience and since then the team has grown significantly to encompasses over $3 billion in private equity transaction experience across all facets of the asset class.