MANCHESTER — A Nashua company automating the job of rating employee performance and a Concord firm creating an app to mobilize political change were top-finishers in the third annual Startup Shindig competition on Thursday night.
Bilal Jordan, president and CEO of Performology, said evaluating how workers can meet goals or become deserving of bonuses is “a broken system” not practiced very well in the workplace.
“I compare it to high school boys always talking about sex and they don’t know what they are doing or what they are talking about,” Jordan said. “Everyone talks about performance management but nobody knows what they are doing with it. We allow employers to create goals to make sure their workers are doing well.”
Starting in the insurance industry, Jordan said his firm’s clients report seeing a 23 percent reduction in turnover.
Performology won the $200,000 first prize in the competition, which pitted 11 startups against one another.
“All of you are winners and you’ve proven that with your ideas,” said Gray Chynoweth, a Manchester high-tech executive. He and Liz Hitchcock are the two principals in the Millworks Fund II that gave out $300,000 in prizes.
The other $100,000 went to Echo Ridge of Concord, which started with an idea a few years ago about how to create a software application so individuals or small groups could maximize their political power by navigating the landscape of politics in Washington, D.C.
“Politics in the U.S. isn’t working too well for the average person,” said John Clemente, the firm's chief operating officer.
“I decided we can do better and so we looked at finding a complete solution for navigating a system that seems impossible from a distance but really isn’t.”
Other competing startups: Portsmouth’s Helios Hockey, Underground Overdrive of Barrington; ecoText of Durham, started by three University of New Hampshire students; Canopus Water Technologies of Windham; IDEAL Energy Cooperative of Brentwood; Iris Messenger LLC of Portsmouth; Measured Air Performance of Manchester; NextStep HealthTech of Durham and Reflen of Bedford and Hanover.
“We have startups that are impacting us with sports, renewable energy, on the health level and everything in between. This is a very exciting and broad cohort,” said Joshua Cyr, director of education and acceleration for the New Hampshire Tech Alliance.
The winners were named at the end of a two-hour ceremony held at Oracle/Dyn in the Millyard.
The Millworks Fund Series III is in its third year and composed of 40 individual investors from across the state. The Business Finance Authority has matched the fund’s donations for the competition.
The Accelerate NH’s contest was sponsored by Alpha Loft Founding Partners, Oracle+Dyn and Borealis Ventures. New Sky Productions was a gold star sponsor of the event.
“We have fewer new businesses than ever and certainly fewer startups,” Cyr said of the five years he’s been hosting Acceleration NH events. “That decline has been a steady, steep drop for decades and we’re working hard to reverse it.”