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MassChallenge Logo.jpg
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts

MassChallenge is a global, zero-equity startup accelerator, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 2009.[1] As of 2019, MassChallenge has accelerated more than 1,900 startups that have raised more than $4.3 billion in funding and generated $2.5 billion in revenue.[2]

MassChallenge is headquartered in Boston's Seaport District in the Innovation and Design Building.[3]


MassChallenge co-founders John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam were working as strategy consultants at Bain & Company during the global financial crisis in 2008. It was at this time that John and Akhil developed the concept for MassChallenge, a not-for-profit startup competition that would help jumpstart the global economy by supporting entrepreneurs around the world.[4] MassChallenge secured early support from successful entrepreneurs like Desh Deshpande and Joe Fallon, the public sector including Thomas Menino the then-Mayor of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and large organizations like The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Microsoft.[5]

During its first Boston-based cohort in 2010, MassChallenge accelerated 111 startups.[6] In 2018, MassChallenge accelerated 449 startups from 54 countries across its eight accelerators worldwide.[7] MassChallenge accepts less than 10% of all applicants.


In addition to its flagship location in Boston, MassChallenge has programs for early-stage startups in Austin, Houston, Jerusalem, Lausanne, Mexico City, and Providence.[8] It also runs vertical programs for later-stage startups in healthtech and fintech.

  • MassChallenge Israel: Launched in 2016, MassChallenge Israel supports 50+ early-stage startups each year through a Jerusalem-based accelerator.[9]
  • MassChallenge Mexico: Launched in 2016, MassChallenge Mexico supports 30+ early-stage startups each year through a Mexico City-based accelerator.[10]
  • MassChallenge Switzerland: Launched in 2016, MassChallenge Switzerland supports 50+ early-stage startups each year through a Lausanne-based accelerator.[11]
  • MassChallenge HealthTech (formerly PULSE@MassChallenge): Launched in 2016, MassChallenge HealthTech connects 30+ later-stage startups to corporate partners to address major challenges in healthcare.[12]
  • MassChallenge Texas: Launched in 2017, MassChallenge Texas supports 70+ early-stage startups each year through Austin and Houston-based accelerators.[13]
  • MassChallenge FinTech: Launched in 2018, MassChallenge FinTech connects 20+ later-stage startups to corporate partners to address major challenges in financial services.[14]

In addition to its accelerator programs, MassChallenge works with countries around the world to build stronger innovation ecosystems. To date, MassChallenge has partnered with economic development leaders in Australia, Colombia, France, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Russia, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.[15]


MassChallenge runs one accelerator program in each of its locations and in each of its verticals each year. MassChallenge does not take equity from its startups, and in turn, provides $3M in non-dilutive cash prizes globally to the top startups at the end of the program.[16]


In MassChallenge's accelerators (Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas), selected startups are early-stage (<$1M in funding) and participate in a four-month, industry-agnostic program where they receive mentorship, entrepreneurship and industry training, free co-working space, and the opportunity to win non-dilutive cash prizes.[17]

Vertical Programs[edit]

In MassChallenge's vertical accelerators (HealthTech and FinTech), selected startups are later stage (<$10M in funding) and participate in a six month long program where they partner with a top business, institution, or organization to solve key challenges related to their industry.[1]

Corporate Partnerships[edit]

As a not-for-profit, MassChallenge is primarily supported by corporate partnerships. Top partners include The Boston Foundation, Buhler, CASIS, Facebook, General Electric, MassMutual, Microsoft, Nestle, Southwest Airlines, and Vertex.[18]

In June 2019, MassMutual announced that it would donate an entire floor of its new $240 million office building at 10 Fan Pier Boulevard in the Boston Seaport district to MassChallenge for five years rent-free starting in 2021 when the building opens.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Ksplice, an open-source extension of the Linux kernel that allows security patches to be applied to a running kernel without the need for reboots
  • RelayRides, a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace[citation needed]
  • JoyTunes, a music app producer[20]
  • Thinx, maker of period-proof underwear[21]
  • Sproxil, a producer of app-based anticounterfeiting measures[22]
  • Drync, a wine mobile app for iOS platforms[23]
  • Her Campus, an online newsmagazine for college women[24]
  • Global Research Innovation & Technology, manufacturer of the Leveraged Freedom Chair[25]
  • LiquiGlide, a plant-based liquid-impregnated surface coating
  • RallyPoint, a professional network for US military members[26]
  • Ministry of Supply, a business wear men's fashion brand[27]
  • Moneythink, a non-profit organization that places college volunteers in high school classrooms to teach courses in financial literacy and entrepreneurship[28]


  1. ^ "About". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  2. ^ "'Impact Report 2018' by MassChallenge | Readymag". Impact Report 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  3. ^ Delaney, Erin. "MassChallenge Opens New Home for Innovation". MassChallenge. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. ^ "MassChallenge's John Harthorne Explains How Startups Can Fix The World". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  5. ^ Colao, JJ (13 March 2012). "MassChallenge: A Colossal Startup Accelerator That's 100% Free". Forbes.
  6. ^ Kirsner, Scott (24 May 2011). "MassChallenge start-up competition picks 125 finalists for 2011". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  7. ^ "'Impact Report 2018' by MassChallenge | Readymag". Impact Report 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  8. ^ "Programs". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  9. ^ "MassChallenge Israel Announces 2018 Class". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  10. ^ "36 Startups latinoamericanas compiten por 2 millones de pesos". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  11. ^ "MassChallenge Switzerland Announces 2018 Class of Startups". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  12. ^ "MassChallenge HealthTech Announces 2019 Cohort of Top Digital Health Startups". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  13. ^ "MassChallenge Texas Announces Inaugural Class of Startups". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  14. ^ "MassChallenge FinTech Announces 2019 Inaugural Cohort of Top FinTech Startups". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  15. ^ "Bridge to MassChallenge". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  16. ^ "'Impact Report 2018' by MassChallenge | Readymag". Impact Report 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  17. ^ "MassChallenge - More Than Just an Accelerator". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  18. ^ "Partners". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  19. ^ Tempera, Jacqueline (2019-06-04). "From a fax to a $240 million building: How MassMutual's Boston project went from idea to reality". Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  20. ^ Empson, Rip. "JoyTunes Wants To Teach You To Play Real Instruments With Interactive Video Games". TechCrunch. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Thinx". Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Sproxil". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  23. ^ "Drync". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  24. ^ Alspach, Kyle. "Her Campus Media gets trademark for term 'collegiette'". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  25. ^ "GRIT". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  26. ^ "Rallypoint". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  27. ^ Alspach, Kyle. "Ministry of Supply breaks Kickstarter fashion record with $300K+ raised". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  28. ^ "Moneythink". Retrieved 2014-06-18.

External links[edit]