MassChallenge Rhode Island

MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. We equip bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and create meaningful change. With more than a decade of experience, our proven methodology accelerates the innovation potential of high-growth businesses and startups as they address some of the biggest challenges across industries, impacting the way we live, work, and play. 

Our US-based early-stage organizations in Austin, Boston, Houston, and Rhode Island attract top talent and entrepreneurs to the regions and provide access to the tools and resources founders need to set roots and grow. MassChallenge is committed to advancing new technologies and innovations that will have a widespread impact across business, industry and economic growth.

MassChallenge Rhode Island Continues to Accelerate


Startups Accelerated


Funding Raised


Cash Prizes Awarded


Revenue Generated


Jobs Created

How to Apply?

Learn more here!



For Startups: Program Benefits + Tracks

  • Unique programming tailored to support early-stage startups in Rhode Island
  • Up to $100,000 in cash prizes
  • Global network of corporate and government partners
  • Strong base of mentors and experts
  • Opportunity to connect regionally with the MassChallenge Boston ecosystem
  • Introductions to top corporate mentors and partners
  • Find more information and answers to frequently asked questions here.


Applications Open

17 February 2021

Applications Close

31 March 2021

Online Judging

April - May 2021

Finalist Announcement

June 2021

Accelerator Program

June - October 2021

Final Judging Rounds

September - October 2021

MassChallenge Awards

October 2021

About our Industry Tracks:

MassChallenge runs tracks to strengthen innovation across key challenge areas identified by our corporate and government partners. In 2021, our tracks include:

Safety and Security

Select startups will receive specialized support and resources as part of the program’s Safety and Security track. The Safety and Security track accelerates, connects and educates startups with direct or potential relevance to national defense and public safety applications accelerate their commercial and defense pathways to scale. S&S track, partners a demonstrated platform to access the next generation of defense-relevant technologies and strengthen the defense innovation ecosystem. S&S is sponsored by BAE Systems, Mitre, Draper, Mitsubisi America, the U.S Airforce, and Raytheon.

Enterprise Technology

The Enterprise Technology Fellowship will support a select group of early stage companies building towards the next generation of enterprise technology and service platforms related to security, data management and artificial intelligence.  Fellows will receive specialized support from sponsors and a select network of experts addressing critical startup-barriers to success. Enterprise Technology is sponsored by KPMG.  

The US Air Force Lab

MassChallenge Boston runs The US Air Force Lab on behalf of the U.S Airforce. Labs is an initiative to support the goal of innovation at speed for the defense industry. This select program is funded by Air Force Research Labs, PEO Digital, PEO C3I&N, CROWS, and the Griffiss Institute to de-risk and grow cutting edge technologies and startups awarded that are addressing national security challenges. Click here to learn more.

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Featured Startups

2019 Rhode Island Finalist
H2Ok Innovations
Water Treatment & Technology
2019 Rhode Island Gold Winner
Consumer Products

“As a founding partner of the MassChallenge Rhode Island program, Hasbro actively inspires and encourages creativity, and strives to provide resources for entrepreneurial activity across the state. Through our partnership with MassChallenge, we have the unique opportunity to engage with likeminded organizations and the innovation ecosystem to support the most-promising startups from around the world. These early-stage ventures are driving widespread impact across industries from entertainment to clean energy.”

- Brian Chapman President and Head of Global Design and Development, Toy/Game/Consumer Products  

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Hope Hopkins
Managing Director, Early Stage, New England

Hope Hopkins is a leading advocate for growing Rhode Island’s entrepreneurial and innovative communities. She is currently the Program Director of MassChallenge Rhode Island. Prior to joining MassChallenge Hope was a VP at the RI Commerce Department where she worked with companies in their expansion and relocation to the state.

Rhode Island Partners

Rhode Island Diamond
Rhode Island Diamond
Rhode Island Diamond
Rhode Island Diamond
Rhode Island Platinum
Rhode Island Platinum
Boston, Rhode Island, Texas In-Kind
Rhode Island In-Kind


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. 

Do you fund companies that are competitive with each other? 

MassChallenge is an industry agnostic accelerator that supports early-stage startups across industries. We rely on our community of expert judges to select the highest-potential solutions – regardless of whether startups are in direct or indirect competition with each other. 

Do I have to be in the MassChallenge location for the entire 4-month period? 

MassChallenge does not require startups to work full time out of its offices. Whether in person or virtual, it is highly recommended given the rigorous programming, active mentorship, and serendipitous encounters that happen often in the space. (Note: In 2021, we will remain virtual until world events allow at which point, we will consider hybrid opportunities.)

Will 2021’s accelerators be virtual?

MassChallenge plans to host this year’s accelerator and competition in a completely virtual experience, until world events allow.  If we are able to and comfortable convening in groups later in the year, we are prepared to explore a hybrid option and will keep virtual an option for those who cannot or are not comfortable being in person.

How do you choose which companies to accept into the program?

Acceptance is determined by our diverse community of expert judges who have been recruited and trained to identify the highest-impact startups across industries.

Where will we live while we’re there?

Startups who are accepted and decide to visit or live in the location of your MassChallenge program will have access to a list of resources to support their housing search. 

Do I need to send in a business plan? 

While a formal business plan is not required to apply, many elements will be incorporated into the application, including the problem, solution, and impact of your venture. Should a startup advance into further judging rounds, a slide deck will be required for the 20-minute in-person pitch. 

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. 




Our mission is to equip bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change.