An entrepeneur who wants to bring new business to the Granite State has teamed up with 20 investors and a group of executives to launch a new fund and startup competition.
Jamie Coughlin, CEO and entrepreneur-in-residence at abi Innovation Hub, an incubator in New Hampshire, and the team has launched The Fund, a new $500,000 venture fund.
Coughlin and a few others – including Matt Cookson, executive director, New Hamphsire High Tech Council; Matt Benson of Esquire, Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson PLLC; and Matt Pierson, managing director, Dunn Rush & Co. LLC – pushed the envelope and raised the bar when they came up with the model of a traditional fund and added a competition, Coughlin told Mass High Tech. The team members, some of whom are investors in the fund, asked other investors to kick in $5,000 each year for five years.
Coughlin would not disclose the name of investors, saying the goal is to “respect their confidentiality,” but said the fund was oversubscribed.
The fund, which is the catalyst for the competition, will act like a traditional fund, seeking a return like a convertible note, but the risk level is reduced, according to Coughlin. “The Fund” will award $100,000 annually through a competition judged by the Entrepreneurial Foundation of New Hampshire. A total of $50,000 will be doled out for the first prize; $30,000 for the second; and $20,000 for the third.
“The fact that there is an unprecedented five-year commitment to support this competition will help us grow many exciting, high potential companies in New Hampshire,” Cookson said. “With engaged funders and organizations such as the High Tech Council, the abi Hub and others, this effort will have a positive impact on our workforce, our tech community and our economy.”
Startups interested in competing must be for-profit and must have raised between $250,000 and $500,000 in revenue, but do not have to be New Hampshire-based, said Coughlin.
“The reason for that is we have a lot of exciting things going on in New Hampshire and we want to put New Hampshire on the map and are encouraging people to build their businesses here,” Coughlin said.
The name of the venture is temporary until the group of investors decide on a formal name for the company and set up an Internet URL and website.
An outdoor party with music and food was held recently to drum up momentum. “It was done outside with character and attitude,” Coughlin said, adding that it’s just one piece of the plan to build an ecosystem of innovation startups in New Hampshire.