May 4, 2017
NH Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders and Government Officials Announce $1.8 Million Public-Private Partnership to Spark Expansion of NH’s Startup Economy
Millworks II Fund and NH Business Finance Authority committing $600,000 per year to support early-stage New Hampshire startups over three years
MANCHESTER, NH – A team of New Hampshire entrepreneurs and investors, together with the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority, today announced the formation of a new investment fund aimed at further energizing New Hampshire’s startup economy. The new Millworks Fund Series II (Millworks II) will make strategic investments in New Hampshire startup companies over three years. In this public-private partnership, the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority (BFA) will match Millworks II investments two-for-one, with total contributions from BFA and Millworks II providing a combined $1.8 million infusion of startup capital.
Millworks II is funded by 40 individual investors committed to strengthening New Hampshire’s startup community and attracting additional investment dollars to the state. They include representatives from development, banking, investment, accounting, legal, healthcare, and high-tech communities and reside in every corner of the Granite State–many are current or former Dyn employees, showing successful business growth leads to follow-on impact for years to come.
“With BFA participation, Millworks II has the potential to make an unprecedented commitment to New Hampshire’s startup ecosystem,” said Millworks II General Partner Graham Chynoweth. “This unique public-private partnership will not only increase investment in viable high-tech companies, but will also lead to more job creation for New Hampshire and send a clear message that New Hampshire is a premier state to start a new company.”
The BFA Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to provide a two-for-one match on Millworks II investments, which translates to a $400,000 BFA investment of startup capital each year for three years. Over the next three years, Millworks II will invest $600,000 each year through two programs: $300,000 in winning companies at the New Hampshire High Technology Council’s TechOut event, and $300,000 in winning companies participating in Alpha Loft’s Accelerate NH program, an intensive training, mentoring and coaching program.
Millworks II builds on the success of a similar yet smaller fund, Millworks I, which launched in 2012. Millworks I made small, strategic investments in companies now employing 80 people. The early signs of the fund’s success are positive, as 75-percent of companies are currently either active, have attracted significant additional financing, reached profitability, were successfully taken to exit, or are returning capital plus earnings to investors. Additionally, Millworks I raised more than $200,000 in private sponsorship revenue for NHHTC and Alpha Loft, supporting the work those institutions do to help small businesses start and thrive in New Hampshire.
BFA has already played a major role in shaping and establishing New Hampshire’s thriving high-tech startup ecosystem. In 2010, BFA collaborated with Borealis Ventures to create the Granite Fund, which focused on investing in early-stage New Hampshire startups. One of the Granite Fund’s key initial investments was in Dyn, now a 350-person, global internet performance company headquartered in Manchester serving customers like Netflix, Twitter, Zappos and CNBC. In November 2016, Dyn was acquired by Oracle, establishing Manchester as a home base for a multinational employer.
“BFA is proud to support the work being done by the many hardworking men and women involved with the Millworks Fund. Our capital will enable those investments to be larger and even more effective. This is a public-private partnership in the truest sense of the word, and will have a meaningful impact on the entrepreneurs we depend on to support the future of New Hampshire’s economy. We want New Hampshire to undeniably be the best state in the country for a new business to get its start, grow, create jobs, and support our communities. This effort is a great step in the right direction, with hopefully many more to come.”
Organized jointly by NHHTC and Alpha Loft, TechOut is a startup competition that identifies talented, tech entrepreneurs and funds them through investment capital awards of $300,000 per year. TechOut is a fast-paced event featuring live pitches by finalists, displays of their innovations, and networking opportunities with like-minded innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. Millworks II will provide the prize money for TechOut winners, with first place receiving $200,000, second place receiving $100,000, and third place receiving mentoring and connections to the early stage ecosystem. Through TechOut, Millworks I awarded $500,000 to New Hampshire startup companies.
Through its Accelerate NH program, Alpha Loft, which supports the next generation of innovative, growth-oriented companies in New Hampshire, works to support, nurture, and fund early stage startups. Accelerate NH, which launched in 2015, takes a small batch of startups through an aggressive training and mentoring program. The Accelerate NH program has supported 20 startups, including Pickup Patrol, HappsNow and ValChoice. Millworks II will provide the prize money for Accelerate NH winners, with first place receiving $200,000 and second place receiving $100,000.
“We are excited that the programs run by NHHTC and Alpha Loft have a statewide reach,” added Millworks II General Partner Elizabeth Hitchcock. “Companies from 38 towns across New Hampshire have participated in the TechOut or Accelerate NH program, including more densely populated areas like Manchester, Nashua, Keene, Franklin, Lebanon and Portsmouth and more rural areas like Amherst, Campton, Fitzwilliam, Mont Vernon and Newfields. This geographic reach benefits the state’s startup ecosystem by ensuring companies from across the state have access to capital, and investors by ensuring we invest in the most promising companies.”
About Millworks Fund Series II
Millworks Fund Series II (Millworks II) is an investment fund committed to strengthening New Hampshire’s startup community and attracting additional investment dollars to New Hampshire. The fund is comprised of 40 individual investors from across New Hampshire, including representatives from development, banking, investment, accounting, legal, healthcare, and high-tech communities. Millworks II has committed to provide $200,000 per year for three years to New Hampshire startup companies through the New Hampshire High Technology Council’s annual TechOut competition and through Alpha Loft’s Accelerate NH program.
About the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority
The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority (BFA) was created in 1992 to foster economic development and create employment in New Hampshire. The BFA accomplishes these objectives by working with New Hampshire's banking, business, and economic development sectors to expand the availability of credit in the state. BFA customers include manufacturers, small, medium, and large businesses, health providers, and non-profit educational and cultural organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.nhbfa.com/.