Alpha Loft is strengthening NH’s tech ecosystem by helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses in the Granite State.
The result of a merger of three organizations, Alpha Loft offers co-working spaces in Portsmouth, Manchester and Durham and provides programs and resources to accelerate the development of early-stage, scalable businesses and commercialize the ideas developed at the University of NH and other educational institutions.
Those programs range from monthly workshops, access to experts, panel discussions and one-on-one advisory meetings. Alpha Loft now has about 40 members using its co-working spaces, and 30 to 80 people attend its monthly events and education programs. One signature program is the eight-week Startup Fundamentals that assists entrepreneurs with business plans. “We want to be a catalyst for activity,” says Alpha Loft CEO Mark Kaplan. “Our real goal is to focus on startup founders and what he or she is building,” Kaplan says.
To that end, Alpha Loft’s Accelerate NH seeks to give six to nine startups a year a boost. Participants go through an intensive three-month curriculum that includes mentoring and education, culminating in a demo day event where they make their pitches to an audience of investors and business professionals. The companies receive free
services from Alpha Loft partners, including support from Amazon and Microsoft.
“When I applied to the Accelerate NH Program, I was struggling with essentially every aspect of running my startup. Not only was the company new, I was fresh out of college with little experience… Joining Alpha Loft was exactly the jumpstart I needed to get myself and my business on the right track,” says Connor Roelke, founder of Nobl Coffee in Newmarket. “Alpha Loft paved the way for introductions to investors, new customers and, most importantly, the mentorship. Quite simply, we would not be where we are today without their guidance and support through the Accelerate NH program.”
Alpha Loft also collaborates with other organizations such as the Live Free & Start Advisory Council to advocate for policies that strengthen NH’s high-tech ecosystem.
One area they plan to focus on, according to Kaplan, is expanding access to capital for NH startups. That includes reaching out to individuals with the capacity to be angel investors and encouraging investment in NH startups as well as supporting the various startup competitions in the state by offering free services and space at Alpha Loft.
“We try to be involved in supporting or leading different initiatives around building a vibrant startup economy,” Kaplan says. “We are an advocate for entrepreneurs and the startup economy.”