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New Investment Fund to Put Money Behind N.H. Startups

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A group of New Hampshire investors are launching the largest seed stage venture capital fund in state history.

More than 40 individuals, including some early Dyn stakeholders, are putting money into the new Millworks II Fund. The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority is also chipping in, bringing the total investment pool to $1.8 million.

“The New Hampshire economy needs new grow and flourish,” says Millworks partner Gray Chynoweth. “If we are not consistently putting investment at the very early stage to get those entrepreneurs--to give them the courage to quit their full time jobs, and start out on these new ventures--then we won’t have a future economy.”

Chynoweth helped spearhead Manchester-based Dyn’s rapid growth, which eventually resulted in the company’s purchase by Oracle for a rumored price of $600 million.

With this new Millworks Fund, Chynoweth, partner Elizabeth Hitchcock, and other investors will try to find local startups that can also scale rapidly.

The fund will make its investment decisions based on live pitch events, with $200,000 going to the winners of the annual Accelerate NH contest and TechOut event. Second place companies will get $100,000 in capital.

“People watch Shark Tank on TV. Well, that’s live right here in New Hampshire,” says Tyler Matzke, who will compete in the Accelerate NH contest later this month.

He’s the founder of Hidden Collective, an online store for small brands and craftsmen in the outdoors industry.

“My little measly marketing money with my bootstrap funding is not going to get me far, so something like the [Millyard] fund is just going to get me into those eyes and ears that I really need to get my business to the next level,” he says.

The Millworks Fund plans to invest in 12 companies during the next three years.


Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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