Awato, Forcivity and KudosWall Earn Top Awards at 2016 TechOut

Alliance News |

Three New Hampshire startup companies left Dyn on October 5 with a combined $100,000 in funding to take their companies to the next level after competing in the NH High Tech Council and Alpha Loft’s 2016 TechOut competition. Awato won the $50,000 first prize; Forcivity took home $30,000 and second place; and crowd-favorite, KudosWall, walked away with $20,000. First and second place awards were determined by a panel of judges comprised of business experts, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists; the third-place slot was determined solely by the evening’s audience of more than 200 people.

NH Hi Tech Council Tech-Off at Dyn in Manchester, NH on October 5, 2016. Photo: Mike Gridley
TechOut first place winner, Matthew Guruge of Awato, holds a check for his $50,000 prize at the NH High Tech Council’s and Alpha Loft’s competition on October 5. Also pictured from left to right are: Michelline Dufort of the NH High Tech Council and Cookson Strategic Communications; Toral Cowieson, chairperson of the NH High Tech Council and the Internet Society, Awato cofounder Tyler C. Hurst; Mark Kaplan of Alpha Loft; Matt Cookson of the NH High Tech Council and Cookson Strategic Communications; and Gray Chynoweth of SilverTech.

“The energy that TechOut brings to the entire New Hampshire startup community is unparalleled,” said Matt Cookson, the Council’s executive director. “From the early stages where these companies are learning to craft their messages, to the all-important pitch camp where they hone their presentation, to the judging process, it’s very gratifying to watch the evolution of innovation. The Council is proud to offer Awato, Forcivity and KudosWall a leg up as they move forward to advancing their companies in the future.”

First place winner, Awato, presented by CEO and cofounder Matthew Guruge, is an online platform that automates quality academic and career counseling for colleges. Its main feature is a series of dynamic assessments that learn and adapt to the user.

“We’re building an automation suite that helps people find, identify and pursue careers they love,” Guruge said during the evening’s presentation that outlined the company’s customized and patent-pending approach to career assessments. “We want to next enter the college market to gather data and ultimately solve the happiness equation; to determine just how happy you’d be at a given job. We want to help everyone from high school students to retirees get jobs they love.”

Second place winner, Forcivity, presented by CEO and co-founder Steve Baines, is a cloud-based data reporting and access platform that makes the near-impossible reports and tasks of possible. Described as “five bars for the cloud,” Forcivity’s focus is to unlock the shackles to your data.

Third place winner, KudosWall, was presented by cofounder Jag Vootkur and his son Nikhil, the company’s designer, cofounder, and a middle school student. An online portfolio for K-12 students and their achievements, KudosWall automates student achievements into an online portfolio and resume.

Heat Oracle and Near Field Magnetics were also finalists for the 2016 TechOut competition and demonstrated their products and presented at the event as well.

TechOut, now in its fifth year, is open to startups that have been in business for fewer than five years, raised less than $250,000 in funding and have less than $250,000 in revenue. It is produced in partnership with Alpha Loft, and has helped nine past winners launch and grow their businesses in the Granite State.

The lead sponsor for the 2016 TechOut competition was Borealis Ventures. Other sponsors included FairPoint Communications, Dyn, Cook Little Rosenblatt Mason, UBS, Dunn, Rush & Co., Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire, Berry Dunn, TD Bank, Meltwater and New Hampshire Business Review.