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Flatley Challenge Helps Tech Companies to Grow in NH
Published Friday, May 26, 2017

From left: Bo Overschmidt, director of resources; Krysta Moulton, director of operations; Paul Holzer, president and CEO; and Nick Tsimortos, finance director at XenoTherapeutics. Photo by Matthew J. Mowry.

For five years, the Flatley Challenge has offered seed money and free digs to entrepreneurs to help build NH’s high tech ecosystem.

“I saw a need for startups in New Hampshire to be given a chance to succeed,” says John Flatley, CEO of John Flatley Company in Massachusetts, of the competition. “One way to do this, from my perspective, was to provide promising companies free incubation space and a small monetary incentive.” Flatley’s company owns and operates office, research and development complexes, retail centers and apartments throughout NH and Massachusetts, including the Nashua Technology Park where winners receive free space for a year.

The 2017 winners of the Flatly Challenge are XenoTherapeutics, which won in the biotech category, and Datanomix, which won in high tech. Each received $10,000 in addition to free rent. There are also two runner-ups: Therapeutic Innovations for biotech and Forcivity for high tech, both of which receive free office space in Gateways Hills in Nashua.

XenoTherapeutics is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science of xenotransplantation, which is the transplant of organs and tissues from dissimilar species.

XenoTherapeutics, a finalist in both the MassChallenge and HubWeek, has been working with the FDA and is expected to initiate its first human clinical trial in 2017 with burn patients, says Paul Holzer, president and CEO.

Holzer is a former Navy Seal officer who is currently completing a joint graduate degree through the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. He formed XenoTherapeutics in January 2016 after serving as a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital investigating skin graft and vascularized allograft techniques. Last year the nonprofit raised approximately $500,000.

“In the lab, I was face to face with something that could improve people’s lives but was dormant,” Holzer says of the inspiration to bring Dr. David Sachs’s 30 years of research to market. “We’ve proved the concept and shown the promise.”

XenoTherapeutics, which has seven employees and has been collaborating with Mass. General, will now have an office in Nashua. Clinical trials are expected to last 18 months, after which XenoTherapeutics will seek a partner who can scale the technology, says Holzer.  “If clinical trials are successful, it could prove to be a boon for burn patients as we believe it [pig skin] is the equivalent of human skin,” says Holzer, noting it would be more available and more economical than skin from a cadaver.

Datanomix, the high-tech winner, is a stealth mode startup in Brookline. The company is focused on solving major cloud infrastructure challenges for business. The founders have previously worked for Data-Gravity and EqualLogic, (the latter was acquired by Dell) that are also located at Nashua Technology Park.

The 2017 winners join previous Flatley Challenge winners Plexxi Inc., VGo Communications, Pilera Software, SMTP, Infinio, XCube and SimQuest Systems, most of which are still located in Gateway Hills. The hope is to replicate the success of Plexxi, the 2011 inaugural Flatley Challenge winner. Plexxi has grown from 10 employees in 8,474 square feet of space to more than 92 employees in 27,946 square feet in the Nashua Technology Park.

Runners Up
Runner up Forcivity is a cloud-based data reporting and access platform startup. Runner up Therapeutic Innovations is a health care engineering startup that develops pediatric care devices for the developing world.  

Steve Baines, CEO, left, and Maxwell Lydstone, COO of  Forcivity. Photo by Matthew J. Mowry.

Forcivity CEO Steve Baines and COO Maxwell Lydstone started their company in 2015. Baines previously worked as a consultant assisting businesses with Salesforce, and Lydstone was a client. After encountering a problem with Salesforce they couldn’t easily solve, the duo paired up to create an application to address the issue. “If you use a cloud application, it’s of the moment and if you make a mistake, there is little you can do to correct it,” Lydstone says.

Forcivity, which released its cloud product in February, recently agreed to terms with investors for $200,000. The company has five employees in NH and five in Vietnam and plans to fill development, sales and marketing positions in the coming year. Baines says he aims to have 13 employees and 100 customers by the end of the year and generate $1 million in bookings.

Forcivity and Therapeutic Innovations join previous runners up AlignMeeting, Performology and AuthEntry, which continue to operate out The Flatley Innovation Center, a co-working and incubation center at Nashua Technology Park. For information about applying for the Challenge, visit gateway-hills.com/flatley-challenge.

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