TechOut success leads to more applicants this yearBy DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 22. 2013 9:33PM
MANCHESTER — An inaugural competition for startup technical businesses was such a success that organizers are preparing to sort through a much larger field of applicants.
Monday is the deadline to apply for the second annual TechOut, which will distribute $100,000 in prize money to three ventures that are transitioning their ideas into businesses.
“The success of last year’s event really has afforded us this year to have some wonderful partners,” said Jamie Coughlin, CEO and abi Innovation Hub in Manchester.
The abi and the New Hampshire High Technology Council organized the event, which is based in New Hampshire but open to all U.S. companies that meet TechOut’s standards for startups. With $50,000 going to first place, it could be worth a trip for someone confident enough in what they are trying to create.
Coughlin said TechOut is also a showcase for the state, should any of the participants be interested in relocating.
“One of the primary reasons we created it that way was to draw attention to and bring eyeballs to the great activities and resources in the startup community of New Hampshire,” Coughlin said.
The first TechOut went so well that the second picked up a primary sponsor in New Hampshire venture capital firm Borealis Ventures.
Coughlin said it’s the latest addition to the collaborative effort that made TechOut possible as well as establishing New Hampshire as a startup friendly location.
Coughlin generated funding for five years of TechOut from a group of 20 local investors who pledged to give $5,000 a year to fund the competition.
He said the frequency of applications coming in has increased as the deadline gets closer. He didn’t have an actual number on Thursday, but estimated that inquiries and overall interest in TechOut 2013 has more than doubled.
There is a $100 entry fee, which Coughlin said is meant to attract only serious competitors. The applications will be narrowed to about a dozen by a panel of judges from the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire.
The next cut is to a group of six finalists, which will be on display the on Sept. 26.
The judges decide who gets the $50,000 for first place and $30,000 for second. The audience will choose among the remaining four startups, which gets to go home with $20,000 for third place.
And the startups that don’t get cash still can benefit through the exposure, Coughlin said.
“Winning a cash prize great, but I think we’ve also created an environment with this idea of getting found,” Coughlin said. “Getting found by a collective audience of professionals is a great way to get on the map. Who cares if you have the greatest idea if no one knows about it?”
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