5 finalists compete for tech award

NASHUA – The New Hamp­shire High Tech Council has se­lected the final five competitors for the 10th annual Product of the Year Award, a contest in which New Hampshire companies – in­cluding two in Nashua – will vie to have their product publicly displayed.

The competition began with nine companies who pitched their product to a panel of judges in October. As part of the elimi­nation process, the nine semifi­nalists were narrowed down to the final five, who will again pitch their product in front of the audi­ence at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford on Thursday.

Two Nashua companies are among the finalists.

Plexxi makes networking equipment for data centers, and ARC Energy manufactures CHES furnaces that grow syn­thetic sapphires, which are used in LED manufacturing.

The other three competitors are B2W Software’s Maintain software, Rapid Insight’s Rapid Insight Analytic Platform and Retrieve Technologies’ kApps.

Matt Cookson, executive direc­tor of the New Hampshire High Tech Council, said the judges have completed their role and have already ranked the remain­ing five companies. The rest will be based on audience participa­tion.

"The audience will vote for 50 percent and the judges have already voted for the other 50 percent," Cookson said. "The au­dience will use a cellphone text for their top five and the combined votes will determessage system to vote mine the winner." ­

The winner will receive an engraved crystal tro­phy and a display for their product in the Welcome Center off of Interstate 93 South in Hooksett. The display will include a vid­eo of the project showing its function, and may in­clude a display case with the project itself if appli­cable.

The competition is also a chance for New Hamp­shire technology compa­nies to network and share ideas with each other, as well as see Gov. Mag­gie Hassan, who has con­firmed her attendance.

"This event is one of her favorite things. She likes to visit all the tables and see demonstrations of the company’s products," Cookson said.

In addition to the event being open to the public, the New Hampshire High Tech Council has invited past winners to attend the event as part of a celebra­tion of the award’s 10th anniversary.

"We expect over 200 people there including other tech companies, sponsors and guests, it’s a great opportunity for vis­ibility," Cookson said.

People are encouraged to arrive between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to take part in cocktails, discus­sion, networking and viewing the products the five companies are pre­senting. Gov. Hassan will introduce the competition after 6:30 and the com­petitors will give their 7-minute pitches to the audience in random order. There will also be a short presentation about the event’s history and past winners.

Both a celebration and a competition, the event is open to the public with tickets starting at $50 for members of the High Tech Council and $75 for non-members. For more details, visit their website: https://nhhtc.org.

Sara Webb can be reached at 594- 6531, swebb@nashuatelegraph. com or @Telegraph_Sara.