How can I learn more about MassChallenge and its programs?
How do I apply for a MassChallenge accelerator program?
Visit our “How to Apply” page to learn more about our application process and to apply for open programs.
How does the accelerator work?
MassChallenge runs one accelerator program in each of our locations and in each of our verticals each year.
In our accelerators (Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas, UK), selected startups are early-stage (<$500K in funding) and participate in a four-month, industry-agnostic accelerator where they receive:
- Hands-on support from top mentors and experts
- Free co-working space
- Access to MassChallenge’s unrivalled network of corporate partners
- Tailored workshops and office hours
- The opportunity to win a portion of more than $2M in cash prizes
In our vertical accelerator (PULSE), selected startups are later stage (<$5M in funding) and participate in a six month long program where startups:
- Partner with a top business, institution, or organization to solve key challenges related to their industry.
- Partners support startups with:
- Co-development opportunities
- Product validation
- Strategic investments
- Customer connections
- Advisor introductions
- Get free co-working space in Boston
- Have the opportunity to win cash prizes
What kind of companies do you accelerate?
For our accelerators Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas, Rhode Island, and the UK, we accept applications from early-stage startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world. Prospective startups should be ready to make a big impact in your industry and should have raised less than $500k in equity-based funding and generated less than $1M in revenue in the last 12 months. If your startup exceeds these guidelines, we still recommend that you apply for the accelerator program. There will be an opportunity on the application for you to provide more information about your current funding amounts. There is no lower-level funding or business development limit to apply to MassChallenge.
For our vertical accelerator PULSE, we accept applications from industry-focused startups that have raised less than $5M in equity-based funding and generated less than $5M in revenue in the last 12 months. If your startup exceeds these guidelines, we still recommend that you apply for the accelerator program. There will be an opportunity on the application for you to provide more information about your current funding amounts. Prospective startups should be developed enough to work collaboratively with a large business or institution.
What does MassChallenge look for in a startup?
MassChallenge judges look for high-impact startups, with a viable path to success and some traction/progress in their plans.
How is MassChallenge different from other accelerators?
- MassChallenge does not take equity from the startups we support (yes, really).
- MassChallenge is open to startups across any industry, from anywhere in the world.
- MassChallenge is a global network, which means more resources and more access for all startups.
- MassChallenge is one of the largest accelerators in the world - which means more resoures for our startups.
- MassChallenge uses a competition framework to facilitate our accelerator program:
- We use two rounds of judging during the application process to select startups for the cohort.
- Experts from the startup community serve as MassChallenge judges.
- Cash prizes are awarded at the end of the MassChallenge accelerator, based on a final round of judging.
Does MassChallenge provide funding for startups?
Startups do not receive any upfront funding but do have the opportunity to compete for approximately $2 million in zero-equity cash awards at the end of the program. MassChallenge does offer a limited number of scholarships, provided by our sponsor organizations.
What is the time commitment for startups in the accelerator program?
We know from experience that it's easier to take advantage of all MassChallenge has to offer when you or someone from your team is working onsite. MassChallenge expects active, consistent engagement in the accelerator program. This requires regular, physical presence from at least one team founder in your MassChallenge office for the duration of the accelerator program you are participating in.
What is your policy on intellectual property protection?
Protection of intellectual property rights (ex. patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, etc.) of your concept is your responsibility and your responsibility alone. If you have an idea or product that you might want to patent, we strongly recommend speaking to a lawyer before submitting information about this idea to MassChallenge.
Information you include in your application will be shared with the set of expert judges that review your application. Please note that these judges do NOT sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Therefore, you should not include any information in your application that you feel could be harmful to your company should that information be disclosed.
Note that applying to MassChallenge is very similar to presenting your idea to potential investors. Very few investors (Venture Capitalists or "angel investors") will agree to sign an NDA before even hearing your initial pitch. It is up to you to determine the right balance between sharing enough information to get people interested and to give you credibility - and sharing information that could potentially be damaging to your company if it were to be disclosed.