Three years ago, you may not have thought about Manchester, New Hampshire, as a destination for your business. And that's fair. But now it's home to critical pieces for both Oracle and Amazon, and its old millyards have been turned in to sprawling and unique high-tech office space.

Microsoft and Amazon helped Seattle reach where it is today. Nike has done the same for Portland, Oregon. SXSW turned Austin into a hub for creativity. Some cities, like Boston or Raleigh or Pittsburgh, grow because of large groupings of talent and research universities. 

Some, like Boulder, Colorado, just grow because people crave a different kind of experience and work-life balance. 

Every city has some sort of startup ecosystem but it takes one company to hit before the investment dollars really start being seen. Some cities never create that hit company.

How Manchester Has Hit It Big

Manchester has created two hits in the last two years. The latest, PillPack, has been purchased by Amazon for $1 billion in cash. The home-delivery pharmacy provides medications in specific-dose dispensers so people can stay on schedule. Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens stocks all dropped roughly 10 percent on the day the deal was announced.

With Amazon looking to create a better health care alliance with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, purchasing an online pharmacy was a logical next step.

Dyn was Manchester's first big acquisition--it was bought by Oracle in late 2016 for a price reportedly between $600 million and $700 million. The DNS company founded and headquartered in Manchester drives 40 billion traffic optimization decisions daily and works with a good chunk of the Fortune 500.

"We've long felt like ambassadors for New Hampshire, constantly talking about the state's many advantages wherever we went in the world. Now, as part of Oracle, we're doubling down on our commitment to Manchester and proving that a premiere enterprise software company can thrive here," says Kyle York, vice president of product strategy at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

And Oracle, which has been in New Hampshire since the 1990s, is equally excited about increasing their presence in Manchester's growing tech ecosystem.

"Dyn knew its potential when they established the business here in 2001 and have seen it over the past two decades become an emerging tech scene," says Doug Kehring, executive vice president, chief of staff, and head of corporate development at Oracle. "Dyn and Manchester are of strategic importance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as we work to build the cloud of the future."

A Culture of Innovation 

The Segway was invented in Manchester. Not everyone knows that. Its legendary inventor, Dean Kamen, has more awards and recognition than I have space to list but the serial inventor's next project in the millyard could be his greatest yet. It's called the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, or ARMI.

"Building organs in the lab is not the stuff of science fiction, it is happening right now. With the collaboration among the members of ARMI/BioFabUSA, we feel there will be significant breakthroughs in the next five to 10 years--maybe sooner," says Kamen. "Imagine how health care would change if we could print a new kidney or liver for you when you needed one."

ARMI has received 10 years of corporate tax relief and $5 million in student loan forgiveness programs from the state of New Hampshire to help attract talent. 

The Outdoors and Access Are Major Selling Points

That level of innovation you don't see in most cities, especially not in ones with a population around 110,000. It was way more mountainous than I thought it would be. Most people who live in Manchester like to hike, kayak, and climb. It's not something you generally associate with the Northeast but Manchester feels more like Boulder.

"New Hampshire's message is simply that we offer the best combination of a pro-business environment and quality of life anywhere on the East Coast of North America," says Taylor Caswell, commissioner at the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. "We share access to a regional world-class workforce with the Boston metro area without their legendary gridlock or astronomical costs."

And whether you are trying to create an international hub for regenerative medicine, a new tech company, or any other kind of company, New Hampshire is willing to work with you.

People joke that you can text Governor Chris Sununu and he'll respond. But that's actually accurate. Unprecedented access to government leadership and a willingness to attract your business is a major selling point. 

"Between a thriving tech ecosystem, an emerging regenerative medicine sector, and a historic millyard turned innovation district, we have all the tools needed to execute," says Mike Skelton, president and CEO at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

And for those reasons, you may want to give Manchester a second, or perhaps first, look for your business.

Published on: Jul 12, 2018