RELEASED 10.28.21




El Paso, TX – Ten startup entrepreneurs from El Paso and New Mexico will pitch their businesses to established investor judges for an opportunity to win $200,000 in prizes. 


El Paso Dia del los Muertos Pitch Competition

Hotel Paso del Norte, Pancho Villa Ballroom – 2nd Floor (Downtown El Paso)

November 6, 2021


The competition, led by STTE Foundation in collaboration with various funding organizations, was created as an event to celebrate startups throughout El Paso’s entrepreneurial community and beyond. Organizers see the contest as an opportunity to connect regional companies with national investors while simultaneously inspiring the next wave of regional entrepreneurs.


“STTE is proud to shift the mindset of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our community. We believe through trust and collaboration, our region can become the economic destination of the southwest for startups to innovate and thrive,” said event organizer and STTE Foundation Executive Director Joseph Sapien.


Participants include business owners in bio-medical technology and eSports gaming as well as a digital marketplace for underrepresented Mexican artisans and a team-based health and fitness tracking app.


A total of seven prominent business leaders who will judge the pitches include Franklin Mountain Investments Founder and CEO Paul Foster, Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation President Emma W. Schwartz, and Hunt Companies Inc. Executive Vice President Joshua Hunt.

“Supportive sponsors, stellar judges and investors, committed regional partners and clearly, excited and courageous startup entrepreneurs, all point at a region that is ready to take its proper place as a leading source of talent, capital and ideas in the Latino community, and beyond. Ensuring our ecosystem is globally competitive is our top priority,” said STTE Foundation Chairman Dr. Beto Pallares.


The pitch competition is open to the public along with workshops for early-stage entrepreneurs and startups seeking to raise capital. Anyone interested in tickets for the pitch competition or the schedule for workshops can refer to the event website for more details.

The El Paso Dia de los Muertos Pitch Competition focuses on three core principles:

Celebrating regional startups and the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Connecting startups with access to capital, a national investor network and potential partners.

Inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.



Interview and coverage opportunities are as follow:

Hotel Paso del Norte (10 Sheldon Ct.), Pancho Villa Ballroom – 2nd Floor

9:30 AM to 11:45 AM – Live pitches from participating startups for coverage.

12:00 PM to 12:30 PM – Interview opportunities with participants and/or event organizers.

12:30 PM to 1:00 PM – Announcement of winners for coverage.

1:00 PM to 1:30 PM – Interview opportunities with winners and/or event organizers.


Requests for interviews with participants or organizers on the day of the competition or in the days leading up to it can be scheduled in advance.




Champria (Albuquerque, NM) is a web platform that allows grassroots esports/gaming programs to have a data-backed organized environment for teams/players to recruit top talent, practice against skill-relevant teams, and compete in community-based tournaments.


PainScan (Albuquerque, NM) is a bio-medical platform that maps pain intensity onto a “Digital Twin” using a custom 3D avatar. 


Mercaíz (El Paso, TX) is a digital marketplace created to empower and educate

under-represented artisans in Mexico to showcase and sell their work at a larger scale.


TNeuroPharma (Albuquerque, NM) is developing a biomarker that identifies Alzheimer’s

patients before brain damage has occurred.


Parabeac (El Paso, TX) is a software company that offers a continuous design/integration conversion tool that makes it easy for both designers and developers to launch software products.


Oxy-Fit (El Paso, TX) is a medical product company that created the first wireless ear pulse oximeter device that measures oxygen saturation of body tissue, heart rate, pulse rate, pulse rhythm, trends, and apnea.


Pantheon (El Paso, TX) created a mobile, augmented reality, social fitness game that rewards people for being more active.


ORC Tech (Ohkay Owingeh, NM) is a technology development company that is currently developing a portable, wireless signal booster.


Metalx Biocycle (El Paso, TX) created a process that leverages biological functions of naturally-occurring microorganisms to efficiently extract, concentrate, and purify metals from waste electronics to make e-waste recycling economically viable and competitive.


ThyroidHQ (El Paso, TX) offers a platform for personalized thyroid function testing to drive better health outcomes for people living with hypothyroidism.




Carlton is Senior VP, Treasury and Risk Management for Hearst, serves on the Hearst Board of Directors, and is on the Board of Advisors of Hearst Labs, Hearst’s accelerator for early-stage, women-led companies. Carlton recently helped launch Level Up Ventures for Hearst, which is an incubator and investor for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.


Paul is the founder and CEO of Franklin Mountain Investments, founder and former Executive Chairman of Western Refining Company, former Chairman of Western Refining Logistics, and also serves on the board of several Franklin Mountain Investments portfolio companies, Jordan Foster Construction, Vomaris Innovations, WestStar Bank, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine. 



Shayna Harris is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Supply Change Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in the future of food. Shayna serves on numerous boards in the food tech space, and she is a contributing writer for Forbes. She is also the Co-Founder of The New American Table, a coalition that convenes the next generation of iconic food and technology brands in inclusive, paradigm-shifting collaborations to increase representation on shelf and in the value chain. 


Josh is Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors for Hunt Companies, Inc., President of the Hunt Family Foundation, and Chairman and CEO of MountainStar Sports Group. In addition to his duties at Hunt Companies, Mr. Hunt serves on numerous other civic, non-profit, and professional boards.


Lolita is Corporate Development VP at Catalyte and a Scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where she invests in community-driven companies. Lolita is also a Co-Founder of the Startup-Investor Matching Tool, the GP-LP Matching Tool, and LaaS!


Drew is the President of the New Mexico Angels and is very active with New Mexico start-ups. He has contributed to 100+ business plans and has generated over $300 million in investment and 1,000s of jobs. Notable work includes roles to help grow Meow Wolf, Build with Robots, Electric Playhouse, and Parting Stone!

Event Schedule Hotel Paso del Norte, 2nd Floor (10 Sheldon Ct.)


Pitch Competition (Pancho Villa Ballroom): 9:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Navigating the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (Henry Trost Boardroom) 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM


How to Access Capital (Henry Trost Boardroom) 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM


Released 8.19.21



City Learning & Action Lab Launched in Five Latino-Majority Cities or Communities Across U.S.

El Paso, TX (August 19, 2021) – The City of El Paso is proud to announce its participation in the City Learning and Action Lab, a new 12-month program led by Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program (AILAS) in partnership with the Drexel University’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab and Christopher Gergen, the CEO of impact investment firm, Forward Impact and Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow. The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso will work as the city’s data partner on the project.

Read full press release