New Hampshire Opens its Doors to Tech Startups

Part of a public-private program, the state's new Startup Concierge Service opens communication for entrepreneurs in need of funding, incubators or legal assistance.

by The New Hampshire Union Leader / April 24, 2015

(TNS) — “Live Free and Start,” a state/private partnership, launched a website and a contest for fledgling tech startups Thursday.

The Ultimate NH Connection prize is an hour-long meeting with Gov. Maggie Hassan and a roundtable of tech industry leaders who can quickly connect the winner with the resources he or she needs.

But any innovator or entrepreneur who has started, or is looking to start, a new tech company can utilize the Startup Concierge Service on the website, www.LiveFreeandStart.com.

It offers a rapid response to a tech entrepreneur in need of assistance with connections to funding, incubators or introductions to legal or marketing expertise, organizers say.

Just over 10 months old, Live Free and Start is a joint venture of the Governor’s Office, the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority and the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and is headed by Liz Gray, former business services manager for the state’s Division of Economic Development.

“It started out as an idea... (and) we have receive a good amount of support,” Gray said.

That support is in the form of business leaders who signed onto an advisory board and legislators.

Seeking to make New Hampshire a more welcoming place for tech startups, legislators have proposed legislation to simplify business name availability, completely overhaul securities regulation and revise the research and development tax credit to provide capital when needed in the startup phase, instead of a credit down the road.

Gray is cautiously optimistic about the prospects of three Senate bills designed to accomplish those goals of modernizing regulations. “We want to create an environment that is more supportive,” she said.

While many people are familiar with Manchester-based Dyn, which actually started in Massachusetts, and is a huge cloud-based Internet Performance company based in Manchester, it started small.

So did SilverTech Inc., a Manchester-based interactive marketing and technology firm that Nick Soggu has built from a startup 11 years ago. Soggu is a member of the Live Free and Start advisory board.

Gray said not all tech firms will become large and do not need to do so to be successful. She also said they do not have to be clustered in a city like Manchester to be successful. She cited Secured Network Services in Littleton and Animetrics in Conway.

Gray said Live Free and Start will be spreading the word about its website and the resources it has to offer through social and business partner networks. It will also have an Innovator of the Week feature.

Information on the Ultimate NH Connection contest, which ends May 15, is available on the website. The winner will be selected in early June.

©2015 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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