Alpha Loft is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Alpha Loft Mission
Alpha Loft is dedicated to accelerating the development of early-stage, scalable businesses, commercializing the intellectual capital developed at UNH and other leading educational institutions, and creating sustainable employment opportunities in the state of New Hampshire.
Alpha Loft Overview
Alpha Loft supports and provides resources to entrepreneurs, improving their prospects for successfully launching and scaling innovation-based businesses. Alpha Loft’s success means a strong entrepreneurial culture in NH, creating companies and high quality jobs. In addition to high value programming, events, advice, and mentoring, Alpha Loft has locations in Durham, Portsmouth, and Manchester where entrepreneurs can start and build their companies.
Alpha Loft Team
Mark Kaplan, CEO of Alpha Loft has three decades of executive, venture capital, financial, and investment industry experience. He led the creation of the current Alpha Loft organization in New Hampshire through the combination of three separate entities.
Alpha Loft works collaboratively with a strong NH startup network to support and provide resources to entrepreneurs launching and scaling innovation-based businesses. Mark is a strong supporter of the startup ecosystem in NH and serves on the Advisory Council of the NH Live Free & Start initiative, aimed at making the state an even better place to start and grow companies. As a member of the council he chairs the capital access subcommittee.
Prior to moving to NH, Mark spent more than fifteen years working in entrepreneurial endeavors in the state of Maine. This included venture capital as a partner with CEI Ventures and as Chair of the Maine Venture Fund board. He’s been active in the roles of board member, advisor, mentor, investor, and executive.
Mark earned his MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management and BA from the University of Michigan-Flint. He is a graduate of the NVCA-NASBIC Venture Capital Institute Certificate and Graduate Programs. He was awarded the Charter Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1986.
Joshua Cyr is a UNH WSBE alumni, graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1996. He has worked in marketing agencies and co-founded a commercial CMS company, Savvy Software, being its primary software developer. In 2010 Joshua left Savvy Software to be a freelance consultant, and pursue other projects. Joshua created Alpha Loft a short time later. A short 3 years later Alpha Loft was acquired by abiHub and the organization was rebranded as Alpha Loft. Joshua serves as a City Councilor for the City of Portsmouth. In the past Joshua has been a founder of the eCoast, run small web developer conferences on cruise ships, served on the board of The Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, WSCA Community Radio, and was Board President of Pro Portsmouth.
Kristen Crawford joined the team as the Director of Development & Entrepreneurship Network to bolster strong financial and volunteer support for Alpha Loft. She joins us after having worked various positions in higher education development, as well as marketing and merchandising for start-ups and mid-sized private organizations. She is actively an adjunct professor in the business department at Saint Joseph’s College teaching Advertising and Social Media Marketing. When not working, she is involved in supporting organizations devoted to making a difference in the lives of young women, those with disabilities, and animal welfare.
Kristen earned her Leadership MBA from Saint Joseph’s College as well as her BA in Communications from Saint Joseph’s College. She holds a certificate in Fundraising from the University of Southern Maine.
Mike is responsible for Alpha Loft’s offices, admin, communication and marketing.
Prior to joining the Alpha Loft Team, he had a variety of experience in marketing, management, small business, community outreach and event planning. Over the last three years he has been an active participant in the Manchester Young Professionals Corner Office Connections Mentoring Program, with mentors including: Jeremy Hitchcock, Paul LeBlanc and Chris Pappas. Mike is a graduate of Leadership Greater Concord (2013) & Leadership New Hampshire (2014). He has been known to be a natural connector, that is always looking to connect others with the intention of helping them grow and thrive. He is a fan of all things tech, startups, business, communications and networking.
Our Board of Directors
Matt Rightmire – Interim Chair
Partner, Borealis Ventures
Matt uses the contacts and insights he gained from a decade of building internet companies in the Silicon Valley to lead Borealis Ventures investments in internet services and mobile content. He is currently a director on the board of Borealis’s portfolio company Handmark, and an observer on the Makeover Solutions and Wingu boards. He previously served on the board of Borealis portfolio companies Flurry, Foodbuzz, go2 Media and Icovia. Matt joined Borealis full-time in 2005 after serving as an advisor to the firm from its inception.Before Borealis, Matt was COO of Efficient Frontier (acquired by ADBE), a venture-funded marking services company that applies portfolio optimization techniques from financial markets to the marketplace of online advertising. Matt began his internet career as an early member of the team at Yahoo!, which he joined in 1995 when the company was still pre-revenue and a team of 10 individuals. Over the next seven years, he held a variety of product development and business development positions and played a critical role as the company grew to more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Matt concluded his tenure with Yahoo! In 2002 as the vice president and general manager of media and entertainment, one of the three business units at the company.Matt earned his M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College where he received the Julia Stell Award for leadership. He also received his B.S. in industrial engineering from Stanford University.
Jennifer Gray – Interim Vice Chair
President, Market Street Talent
Jennifer Gray is the Founder and President of Market Street Talent, an Information Technology Staffing and Consulting company launched in 2008 and headquartered in Portsmouth, NH. Prior to Market Street Talent, Jennifer founded a retail and online store called Attrezzi, selling fine kitchen accessories, which she successfully built and sold in 2006. Jennifer began her career at Liberty Mutual Group working in risk management information systems servicing the company’s national accounts. In addition to running Market Street Talent, Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for Bottomline Technologies, a public company that provides cloud-based payment, invoice and banking solutions to corporations, financial institutions and banks. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Franklin Pierce University.
Laura Jacobi – Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer, Lake Sunapee Bank Group
Laura Jacobi is the Chief Financial Officer for Lake Sunapee Bank and its bank holding company, New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: NHTB) At $1.5 billion, Lake Sunapee Bank is the largest bank headquartered in the state of New Hampshire with banking offices in NH and VT and wholly owns McCrillis & Eldredge Insurance, Inc., an insurance agency, and Charter Trust Company, the largest independent wealth management firm in Northern New England. In her role, Laura has been integral in acquisitions of multiple banks and companies, capital raises, and investor relations.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Laura moved to NH in 1995. Laura is committed to and actively engaged in community and charitable ventures. Laura serves local community boards and has been the driving the force behind the revitalization and restructuring of mature programs and the introduction of new programs. In 2010, Laura joined Flashes of Hope as founding director of the New Hampshire chapter. Flashes of Hope is a national non-profit which raises funds to accelerate a cure for children’s cancer while honoring the unique life and memories of every child fighting cancer. In 2012, the chapter was renamed Northern New England as Laura expanded the footprint of service to include VT and ME. The chapter currently serves approximately 300 children with cancer and their families annually.
Laura received her BS in Accounting and Finance from Southern NH University and her MBA from Salve Regina University.
Vice President Cloud Innovation Lab, IBM
John Considine is a successful serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of technology vision and proven experience in complex enterprise system development, integration and product delivery. His most recent company CloudSwitch was sold to Verizon in 2011, where John became the CTO for Verizon’s Terremark division. Prior to Cloudswitch John was Director of the Platform Products Group at Sun Microsystems, where he was responsible for the 69xx virtualized block storage system, 53xx NAS products, the 5800 Object Archive system, as well as the next generation NAS portfolio. John ended up at Sun when they purchased his previous company. John has started and boot-strapped a number of start-ups with breakthrough technology in high-performance distributed systems and image processing. He has been granted patents for RAID, distributed file system technology, and cloud computing. John began his career as an engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Interim Executive Director, 3S Artspace
Karil Reibold has over 20 years of experience as a results driven senior operating executive helping companies define their organizational strategy and how they execute to achieve results that drive stakeholder value. In her career, she has raised in excess of $300 million in debt and equity financing. Most recently, she served as the CEO and President of Whaleback Managed Services were she was responsible for creating a culture to deliver a best in class managed service offering which drove revenue growth for over 16 consecutive quarters. Karil’s work as an Executive in Residence at Norwest Venture Partners allowed her to work with portfolio companies to define the right go-to-market strategy, build the right team and drive shareholder value. Karil has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and a strong sense of commitment to her community and the investment in future generations.
VP for Finance & Administration, University of New Hampshire
In his role as the University of New Hampshire’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, Chris oversees nearly 2,000 employees on UNH’s three campuses in Durham, Manchester and Concord. He brings significant private and public sector experience. He spent nearly two decades with Goss International as Director of Global Product Management, where he created new global product business plans for the high-tech printing market. Chris also has been engaged in other private sector business activities, including serving as a board member of early stage companies.
In addition to his private sector experience Chris had six years of service to the state of New Hampshire prior to joining UNH. Most recently he served as commissioner of the Department of Transportation. As transportation commissioner, he managed a $700 million operating budget, 1,665 employees and a $3 billion capital program. During his three years as commissioner, he also led the department’s response to declared emergency events including Tropical Storm Irene and a record-breaking October 2011 snowstorm.
Chris graduated from UNH with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology (BSMET), and received an MBA from New Hampshire College Graduate School of Business, now SNHU.
Vice President of Solution Design and Customer Success, Dyn
Gary is the Vice President of Solution Design and Customer Success for Dyn, which provides Internet Performance Management through its Cloud based offerings. Prior to Dyn, Gary was the Area VP of Sales Engineering and Sales Operations for CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) running a 200 person organization supporting $1.5 Billion in revenue for their Cloud and Managed Services business. He has extensive experience in various startups both technology and consumer based offerings located in the Northeast. Gary regularly helps mentor companies and is an active committee member with the New Hampshire High Tech Council’s Entrepreneur’s Forum.
Gary is a graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, MA with a BS in Computer Information Systems and currently resides in Londonderry where he remains active in the community.
Michele Pesula Kuegler
Dean of Content and Instruction, Wasabi Ventures Academy
Michele Pesula Kuegler is the Dean of Content and Instruction at Wasabi Ventures Academy and has been part of the startup world since 2007. She is the founder and CEO of PeKu Publications, an internet-based publishing company that delivers original content to its female-oriented audience. Prior to her career as an entrepreneur, Michele worked in education. During her decade in that role, she helped to build several curricula, worked in various leadership positions, and (of course) managed and instructed individual classrooms.
Michele graduated from St. Anselm College with a BA in Criminal Justice and received a MEd in Elementary Education from Notre Dame College.
Director, Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (UNH ECenter)
Ian Grant is the first director of the newly established Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter) at the University of New Hampshire. He co-founded/founded three companies (bootstrapped and venture backed), all of which were acquired, and he led innovation projects within large Fortune 500 corporate environments. Ian’s start-up companies included VillageGenie.com, where he was CEO (acquired by Lee Hecht Harrison/Adecco), Hotchili Technology, and PlanetResume.com/MTS-Group (both merged with Careershop.com and acquired by Personnel Group of America). In addition, he was involved with the early stage company Pure Barnyard Lawn & Garden Products (Cockadoodle-DOO brand) as COO and head of marketing. Within corporate innovation, he worked for the Sodexo subsidiary, Circles, focusing on American Express’ Centurion/Platinum card member loyalty through its concierge service as the executive director of product and marketing and executive director of innovation.
His entrepreneurial success and involvement with non-profits led the Boston Business Journal to select Ian from more than 300 nominees for its “Top 40 Under 40” award in 2001. Ian Grant graduated with a BA in Government from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.