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Alpha Loft moving to new space

By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 22. 2017 12:48AM

MARK KAPLAN 

MANCHESTER — Alpha Loft is moving a few blocks north on Elm Street, leaving behind the prime store-front space the startup incubator has called home for the last five years.

Alpha Loft CEO Mark Kaplan said Monday the new site at 1087 Elm St. better suits the non-profit’s needs as well its budget.

“We were looking at the way we operate and decided we could focus more on our mission of supporting our startup companies and not put resources toward the management of the space itself,” Kaplan said. “It’s a space that we don’t really have to manage from the real estate side of things.”

Alpha Loft, known as abi Innovation Hub when it moved from the Millyard to a street-level property at 844 Elm St. in 2012, plans to be up and running at the new location Oct. 1.

Rather than managing the entire space with members working on getting an assortment of projects off the ground, Kaplan said Alpha Loft will have its own space within a larger co-working space shared with others at the corner of Elm and Lowell streets. Renovations are underway for the office space on the second floor, above Penuche’s Music Hall.

The building is owned by WBC Estates management firm, which is moving its own corporate offices there as part of the renovations. Greg Cullen, WBC president and CEO, said he and business partner David Bettencourt, president and CFO, bought the building in April and were excited to bring Alpha Loft on board with their vision for the second floor.

“What we’re going to do is offer the shared office space component,” Cullen said. “They’ll be able to focus more on their core mission of taking their few select companies or startups and try to guide them through the quagmire of getting a business off the ground.”

Kaplan said the move will help as Alpha Loft does some restructuring almost two months into the new fiscal year.

“Our funding situation has changed quite a bit from this past year. Our budget is more constrained,” he said.

Kaplan said a significant amount of funding Alpha Loft used to get from the University of New Hampshire has been reduced as UNH focuses more on some its own programs for entrepreneurs and startups.

“They remain a sponsor of ours, but we previously had a much more significant partnership so the financing is a lot less,” he said.

Kaplan said Alpha Loft’s space in Portsmouth will remain open as the organization takes a look at what may come next. Kaplan said Alpha Loft has been working on plans and has received some assistance from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.

“We’re doing some strategic planning with an eye on a sustainable biz model for an organization like this,” Kaplan said.


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