January 28, 2014

New Hampshire Tech Momentum Continues to Grow with Announcement of New abi HUB

Today, two New Hampshire tech organizations joined forces to create abi HUB with the goal of building a stronger platform to support entrepreneurship in The Granite State.

NH-ICC, which was developed in partnership with UNH, was New Hampshire's Seaport area focused innovation hub with programs running in Portsmouth and Durham. The abi Innovation Hub was centered in the Manchester area and had a ton of back from Dyn, a company that plays a vital role in pushing NH entrepreneurship. As one entity, the newly formed abi HUB looks to make an even greater impact on the state's growing technology and innovation ecosystem.

Mark Kaplan, who was brought in from Maine's entrepreneurial community to run the ICC last year, will head the program and the abi Innovation HUB's COO Michele Petersen will take on a similar role in the new organization.

Kyle York, Chief Revenue Officer at Dyn, and Jamie Coughlin, former CEO of the abi Innovation HUB, will play important roles as members of abi HUB's board of directors. Coughlin is currently helping to build and promote a third innovation hub in the state with Dartmouth College in the Lakes/Mountains region. Additionally, Marc Sedam, the Executive Director at UNH Innovation, Dick Cannon, the VP of Finance & Admin at UNH, Dyn's COO Gray Chynoweth, and Allan Kline from the NH-ICC wil join Matt Rightmire, the Managing Director at Borealis Ventures and Peter Lachance, a Partner at Howe, Riley & Howe, from the abi Innovation HUB on the board.

As Dyn's York said of the new entity's leadership, "The joint board is energized about this merger which brings leadership and resources that can further advance New Hampshire entrepreneurship."

In a press release announcing the formation of the new organization, Kaplan explained, "The merger of the two organizations, first broached with me by NH-ICC board member Gray Chynoweth when I was interviewed, provides an opportunity to leverage everything each brings to the equation and broaden efforts to support entrepreneurship across southern New Hampshire.”  

“Taking advantage of the momentum built by the abi over the past three years, and the significant commitment by the NH-ICC, UNH, Dyn, CDFA, and others," Kaplan said, "this merger provides an exceptional opportunity to enhance the network of resources available to entrepreneurs through more programs, mentorships, and events.”

The press release also mentioned UNH's continued role in the organization, especially in the interest of the "commercialization of intellectual property and research coming out of the university," and as a support for student and faculty entrepreneurship. 

The merger is expected to be completed by this Friday. 

Kaplan told me the he expects the abi HUB to become "a hub of entrepreneurial activity and resources for entrepreneurs in New Hampshire." "We want to grow start-ups, grow entrepreneurs, and grow entrepreneurship," he added.

One of the greatest benefits of the merger is the expansion of the formerly separate organization's deep entrepreneurship networks that include UNH, the New Hampshire High Technology Council, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of NH, and the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center as well as various companies, service providers, investors, technologists, and angel investors.

The new abi HUB will continue the momentum of a growing startup movement north of the Massachusetts border the we've been keeping an eye on for a while. While Dyn, DataGravity, and Dean Kaman's projects have played an integral role in the growing NH tech ecosystem, the newly formed abi HUB could have a far more impactful affect on the state's future as an entrepreneurial center.

Dennis Keohane is the Senior Writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.