Not Bad Investment — No Investment

Let’s all hope for the best for Sigma Labs. The Santa Fe-based firm “has uplisted … to the NASDAQ,” according to Albuquerque Business First. Under CEO Mark Cola, Sigma “develops and engineers advanced, in-process, non-destructive quality inspection systems for commercial firms worldwide seeking productive solutions for metal-based additive manufacturing or 3D printing, and other advanced manufacturing technologies.”

But there’s a dark cloud to every silver lining, and the company’s status shift is a reminder that New Mexico is woefully bereft of investable enterprises. The state does have a smattering of publicly traded corporations, but Sigma joins PNM Resources — a regulated monopoly — to comprise the only state-based companies listed on major stock exchanges.

Several of the Land of Enchantment’s other public corporations have been de-listed, while others (Santa Fe Gold, Net Medical Xpress Solutions) trade on the over-the-counter market. No offense — and as a reminder, Errors of Enchantment is not an investment-advice blog — but shares for the OTC firms are in the penny-stock range, and demand is rather limited.

For a state that prides itself on high-tech “investment” from Washington, it’s really appalling that PNM and Sigma are all we’ve got. New Mexico’s deep-in-denial pols can continue to ignore reality, but all the big-brained men and women working on nuclear-weapons systems at Los Alamos and Sandia aren’t entrepreneurial types. As Greg Mello at the Los Alamos Study Group noted in 2012: “It’s simply a fact that the economic standing of the state has not tracked lab spending. If anything, our standing relative to other states has declined as lab spending has increased.”

New Mexico is not the place for red-hot tech companies, explosive IPOs, and instant millionaires. Maybe D.C. dependency isn’t the best route toward STEM-based economic development?

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One Reply to “Not Bad Investment — No Investment”

  1. The exit strategy for homegrown tech businesses apparently is to be acquired by an out-of-state company and then leave the state. Is anyone keeping track of the local businesses that have gone this route?

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