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Venture capitalists today look far and wide for start-ups

Business StrategyWhile others toiled in the technology mecca of Silicon Valley, Trevor Loy — a former Intel manager and Stanford University-trained engineer — pursued the digital road not taken.

Nearly a decade ago, he moved to the New Mexico desert to co-found a small venture-capital firm called Flywheel Ventures. His aim: to find the next generation of start-ups where few others were looking.

Tapping into the wealth of technology talent and research in the region surrounding the Sandia and Los Alamos federal research labs, Flywheel Ventures has invested $34 million in 19 companies in solar, biofuel and other sectors. Most of the start-ups were “born global,” Loy says, with U.S. and overseas offices, employees and customers.

One promising find off the beaten tech track: Miox, an Albuquerque firm that makes water-disinfectant generators that use salt and electricity, not potentially dangerous chlorine gas. Miox — which just received $19 million in funding from DCM, Sierra Ventures and Flywheel Ventures — has water-treatment installations in 30 countries.

“This is the natural evolution of our industry,” the 37-year-old Loy says. “Venture capital has matured and reached critical mass in some markets, and now we’re seeing explosive growth and opportunities elsewhere.”

This article originally appeared in USA Today.

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