MANCHESTER — The “NH Millworks Fund,” a new venture that will award $500,000 to start-ups over five years, will announce rules for its first “Tech Out” competition this week.
“The real focus here is the competition as a way to distribute the capital, as well to create an event, create buzz, showcase the ecosystem,” said Jamie Coughlin, CEO at abi Innovation Hub in Manchester.
The Sept. 20 startup plan competition will be held at Nanocomp Technologies Inc. in Merrimack.
“We're looking for for-profit technology oriented companies,” said Coughlin, who also goes by the title of Entrepreneur in Residence at abi.
“The point of the entire competition is to showcase and hold up the entrepreneur,” he said, “...and showcase the exciting technologies, innovations, happening here in New Hampshire.”
Matt Pierson, an active early-stage investor and managing director of Dunn Rush & Co. in Boston, and a founding board member of NH Millworks Fund, said, “We've got commitments to put up $500,000 over five years. Our expectation is we're going to fund 15 new start-up ideas.” The fund was first reported in the New Hampshire Union Leader on May 28, but organizers had not yet settled on the name.
NH Millworks Fund
“The difference between Tech Out and some other business plan competitions (such as) Green Launching Pad or a similar program by the Manchester Young Professionals Network is we are specifically focused on technology, broadly defined, and we're focused on the cash element of what we're giving,” Pierson said. “We're focused on giving them capital. Other programs offer some capital but they also offer resources” in lieu of money, such as in-kind service and consulting, he said.
NH Millworks Fund will award cash prizes to 15 entrepreneurs ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 over the next five years, to bolster start-up ventures and attract new companies to New Hampshire from outside the state.
Each year there will be three prizes of $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000, Coughlin said.
“This is that necessary capital that people need to build a prototype or set up a website and take that first step toward having a business that somebody like us might fund,” said Pierson.
The first and second prizes will be awarded by judges made up of entrepreneurs, capital-resource people, and others, according to organizers. They will interview applicants and review their plans, Coughlin said. A novel aspect for the Sept. 20 event will be the way the third prize is chosen, Coughlin said. It will be “crowd sourced.
“Every participant of the event will be able to cast a vote for who they think the third prize will be,” he said.
Rules will be posted at abihub.org/techout.