Ask the Expert: Entrepreneurship in New Hampshire is alive and well — and moving fast
At Alpha Loft (formerly abiHUB) we’ve extended our reach from the Seacoast to Manchester, aiming to play a leading role in the e-ecosystem. We’re acting as a key collaborator providing support and resources to entrepreneurs, improving their prospects for successfully launching and scaling innovation-based companies.
Partner UNH and recent Party at Arms sponsor Southern New Hampshire University, as well as other institutions, want to commercialize more research, foster student and faculty entrepreneurship, and develop internships and job opportunities for students. More opportunities in New Hampshire will keep graduates living and working here in the state.
Larger growing companies recognize that a stronger economy with more innovation-based companies makes the state a better place to live and work. This enhances their ability to attract and retain high-quality employees who might otherwise gravitate to larger metropolitan areas. Dyn has long been a leading proponent of this view and major sponsor of Alpha Loft. Others agree with this view, including Newforma, and Scribe — and still others are taking a closer look.
Law firms, marketing agencies, Web development companies and others realize the successful startup companies of today are the big company clients of tomorrow. These professionals donate valuable pro bono time for startup consultations and workshops, as well as funding for Alpha Loft. Firms such as Cook Little, Nixon Peabody, Howe Riley Howe, and GYK Antler are among our collaborators.
Alpha Loft’s efforts would not be complete if we didn’t also work to improve capital availability in the state, as it is vital to many high growth startups. We’re nurturing relationships with “angels” and venture capital firms such as Borealis Ventures and Wasabi Ventures here in New Hampshire, as well as larger firms elsewhere that include Northbridge and Insight Ventures. Those relationships can provide the firms opportunities for deal flow, and our entrepreneurs with warm introductions.
The state’s “Live Free and Start” initiative, under the leadership of Liz Gray, who recently joined the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority under Jack Donovan, is focused on creating an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. With an advisory council, Liz will look at the impact of existing laws and regulations on startup companies, opportunities to create incentives and support for startups, and work with others in the e-ecosystem on our mutual goals.
Mark Kaplan, CEO of Alpha Loft, has 30 years of executive, financial, venture capital, and investment industry experience. During the past 15 years he has been working in entrepreneurial endeavors, much of the time in venture capital. Before coming to New Hampshire in March 2013 he was actively engaged in building Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the roles of board member, advisor, and mentor to organizations and entrepreneurs. Since becoming CEO of the NH-ICC he worked to transform it into Alpha Loft of today, a platform supporting and providing resources to entrepreneurs across New Hampshire improving their prospects for successfully launching and scaling innovation-based businesses.