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Live Free and Start in New Hampshire

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Gov. Hassan, Christopher Way, Jamie Coughlin

            Down on Elm Street in Manchester this morning, there was a pause in the bustle for a celebration of new beginnings.

            The abi Hub marked the opening of its new downtown location, right in the heart of New Hampshire’s largest city.

            In its past incarnation, this space was the former McQuade’s Department Store, so it has wonderfully wide windows – windows with a view of the street busy with trade and traffic, but, more importantly, a window for people to look into as they pass by.

            The view, says Jamie Coughlin, abi Hub’s CEO, is a look at New Hampshire’s newest ecosystem.

            “This is a vision for a new New Hampshire, in the heart of New Hampshire’s largest city,” Coughlin said this morning at the open house, “a vibrant ecosystem of innovator and do-ers.”

            The abi Hub is a business accelerator that has created an environment for innovation, entrepreneurship and experience. The dreams, ideas and hard work that are hatched here become tomorrow’s company that offers Granite Staters good jobs and generous pay, creating a ripple in the overall ecosystem that benefits the entire state.

            “We are well positioned to lead the country through innovation,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan, who attended the celebration. “We have great potential here and I am pleased that abi is working with innovators throughout the state.”

            Chris Way, interim director of the Division of Economic Development, has watched the evolution of abi over the past few years.

            “We’re speaking more and more of the state as a destination for entrepreneurs and start-ups,” he said. “A place where those with innovative ideas can begin their journey and progress to the result: Well-paying jobs.”

            This kind of environment, or ecosystem, doesn’t just happen, Way said, and Coughlin has done well in reaching out across the state to spread the message that innovators and entrepreneurs will find resources, mentors and experience to help them with their start-ups.

            “Today we are in the business of accelerated serendipity,” Coughlin said. “abi and New Hampshire represent the Live Free and Start capitol of the world.”

            Keep an eye on that window in downtown Manchester. From there, and reaching out across New Hampshire, great things will happen.

Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development

VentureX Startup Pitch Competition Announces Semi-Finalists

Monday, January 9th, 2012

The abi Innovation Hub and Wasabi Ventures is excited to announce the 10 semi-finalists for New Hampshire’s first ever, ultimate pitch competition, VentureX.  Start-ups interested in taking part in VentureX were asked to submit a short application, of which only 10 were invited to participate.  The top 10 were selected from a highly competitive field of early stage technology companies, ranging from mobile crm communications to a digital asset storage solution for professional and prosumer photographers.  The 10 semi-finalists are Digital Harbor App, Pokos Communications, My Bridal Dream, Try It Now Network, KYA Serve, Sumpto, Mosaic Storage Systems, Conforme, EyeSpy, and UVR Defense Tech. 

“The response to this competition has been tremendous,” says Jamie Coughlin, Entrepreneur in Residence at the abi Innovation Hub.  He adds, “The caliber of applicants was top notch.  I think the response to VentureX is indicative of the growing need to fund and mentor early stage startup companies here in the granite state.  It definitely shows that NH is a growing hub of innovation.”

The final rounds of VentureX will take place on January 26th, at 5:30pm and will be held at the abi Innovation Hub.  The event will begin with an expo-style, cocktail party.  The 10 lucky applicants will set up booths and present their project or startup to attendees. Open and free to the public, each attendee will be given 5 golden tickets, which they can distribute among the 10 startups as they wish (e.g. all 5 tickets to one, 1 ticket to 5 different competitors).

The three participants that collect the most golden tickets will qualify for the final pitch round. These three finalists each get 10 minutes to pitch their startup to a panel of five successful entrepreneurs and investors.  At the end of the evening, the panel will choose the winner and an investment of $30,000 will be made.

Tom Kuegler, General Partner of Wasabi Ventures, noted  “The 10 semi-finalists have much to be proud of.  The competition to get to this stage was fierce.  Not only was the field made up of disruptive technologies and unique business models, but I was most impressed by the entrepreneurs behind the ideas.  They were passionate and communicated their ideas in a concise, professional and energetic manner.  VentureX is ultimately a platform for innovative ideas and people; and in the final round we have both.”

For more information, or to attend visit venturex.wasabiventures.com.

Amoskeag Business Incubator Relaunches as abi Innovation Hub

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Congrats to our friends at the abi Innovation Hub!!

The abi Innovation Hub (abi) (formerly Amoskeag Business Incubator) has unveiled its formal rebranding and 2011 strategic plan focused on technology innovation. The 14-year-old 501(c)(3), originally formed as a collaboration between Southern New Hampshire University and the City of Manchester, believes its stable foundation coupled with its new vision will elevate its relevance and attract the most innovative minds, ideas and businesses in New England. 

abi-innovation-hub“It’s invigorating to have the abi back on the path to changing the business landscape in New Hampshire by creating jobs and wealth, fostering the area’s entrepreneurial climate and accelerating growth of local industry. The rediscovered energy is contagious,” said Ed French, long standing board member and MBA Director from Franklin Pierce University. 

In October 2010, the abi brought on Jamie Coughlin as VP, Strategic Initiatives & Entrepreneur in Residence focused on strategic growth, recruitment of technology startups and innovation, strengthening of affiliate programs, formation of business and non-profit partnerships, building of support programs and services for members, and the creation of a national voice representing the abi and innovation out of New Hampshire.  Working alongside Michele Petersen, VP, Operations, who has been with the abi for three years, Coughlin, a serial entrepreneur and graduate of Princeton University, will lead a new vision of open source entrepreneurship.  

“These are exciting times for people with big ideas and the new abi will literally be a hub for all things startup,” added Coughlin. “In recent years, there has been an influx of new innovation centers, business mentor programs, next generation incubators, angel and venture capital portfolios forming and seeing great success. We recognize that we’ve been behind the times a bit and that many of these organizations have thrived in larger cities, but our new leadership and board is dedicated to harnessing and catapulting innovation in our region.”  

Manchester-based marketing and advertising agency, Griffin York & Krause (GY&K), provided the new branding, packaging and positioning for the abi free of charge, displaying its commitment to entrepreneurship and technology in New England. Touted as a marketing innovation firm, GY&K, dove in with both feet helping to create the abi’s new vision and tagline, “ideas | innovation | impact.” 

The abi has also increased its board of directors from six to 10 members, many focused on Internet startups with specialties in venture capital and strategic investments, patent and IP law, technology operations and production, real estate and property management, sales, marketing, customer service and finance and accounting. Each director brings a shared focus of sustainability and long-term viability, fueled by revenue growth and profitability, which yields continued relevancy for the abi. 

“We knew that we needed to evolve and shift our positioning to return to prominence. Rebuilding our board was our starting point,” said Pete Lachance, Board Chair of the abi and CPA at Howe, Riley & Howe. “We’ve rebranded, are building out a socially connected website, assembled a stable and engaged board, livened up and wired our space, partnered with key technology companies and VC firms, and even have an event series in the works. You will see our board serve as a moving board of mentors for all abi companies past, present and future. Do you have an idea? Are you a startup or early phase business looking to work amongst likeminded entrepreneurs? Join the abi community.”