FAQ

What is MassChallenge?

MassChallenge is the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet.

Where is MassChallenge located?

MassChallenge has a global network of accelerators in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the UK.

What does “startup-friendly” mean?

No equity and not-for-profit, we are obsessed with helping entrepreneurs across any industry. Everything we do brings value to startups and prioritizes their needs:

  • Zero Equity: MassChallenge takes no equity for its support or funding
  • Not-for-profit: We are a registered nonprofit in each of our global locations
  • $2M+ in Cash Prizes: Startups have opportunity to win zero-equity prizes
  • All industries: Startups across all industries are eligible to apply.

We have a proven track-record of taking startups to the next level:

  • 1,211 startups accelerated
  • 60,000 jobs created
  • $1.8 billion in outside funding raised
  • $700 million in revenue

How is MassChallenge different from other accelerators?

  • MassChallenge is open to startups across any industry and does not take equity from the startups we support - no strings attached.
  • MassChallenge uses a competition framework to facilitate our accelerator program - instead of an investment-style program. Experts from the startup community serve as MassChallenge judges.
  • Prizes are awarded at the end of the MassChallenge accelerator, based on a final round of judging.
  • As the largest startup accelerator in the world, MassChallenge can provide more value to our startups. Our size means more resources for all startups, and our global network means great international opportunities for all startups.

Does MassChallenge have other programs?

Bridge to MassChallenge strengthens innovation ecosystems and drives the creation of high-quality jobs by supporting entrepreneurs and connecting them to our global network. Using our tested model for driving economic development, we bring world-leading expertise, experience, and connections to help our partners build ecosystems around the world and drive high-quality job creation. To date, we have collaborated with eight markets, further strengthening their innovation ecosystems: Australia, Colombia, France, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, and Spain.

MassChallenge Boston is proud to support PULSE@MassChallenge, which connects digital health startups to world-class strategic partners and resources for zero-equity, MADE@MassChallenge, the organization’s startup-friendly R&D lab, and the Newton Innovation Center, a community-driven collaborative workspace that aims to catalyze a global startup renaissance, beginning on a local scale.

How is MassChallenge funded?

MassChallenge is a registered 501(C)3 non-profit in the United States and a registered charity in the other markets where we operate. Learn more about our partnerships.

How can I learn more about MassChallenge and its programs?

ACCELERATOR FAQS

What is the MassChallenge accelerator program?

MassChallenge runs two cycles of accelerator programs each year. The Boston, Israel, and Switzerland accelerator programs run from June to October, while the Mexico and UK programs will run from August to December. As part of the program, selected startups 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, and the opportunity to win a portion of more than $2 million in zero-equity funding globally.

What are the benefits of applying for MassChallenge’s accelerator program?

Just applying to the accelerator program can be a valuable experience for a startup. MassChallenge ensures that every single startup receives a comprehensive read of their application by assigning each of them a panel of diverse judges that represent a range of different industries.

  • All applicants receive feedback from expert judges on their online applications
  • All Semi-Finalists receive extended feedback from expert judges on their in-person pitches.
  • All Finalists take part in the 4-month accelerator, and have access to:
    • Expert Mentoring
    • Alumni & Community Network
    • Flexible Curriculum
    • Corporate Access
    • Free Workspace
    • In-Kind Deals
    • More than $2 Million in Zero-Equity Cash Awards

Learn more about the MassChallenge accelerator program applications and apply today.

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 are MassChallenge scholarships?

MassChallenge currently offers scholarships for our Boston accelerator program. Through generous partnerships with our sponsors, eligible startups have the opportunity to apply for $5,000 and $10,000 pre-program scholarships to help with expenses like travel, rent, and pilots.

Learn more about MassChallenge scholarships.

What kind of businesses does MassChallenge accelerate? Am I eligible?

MassChallenge accepts applications for early stage startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world. If your startup has raised less than $500M in equity-based funding, generated less than $1M in revenue in the last 12 months, and are set to make a big impact in your industry or on the world, you’re our kind of entrepreneur. You do not need to have a business plan to be eligible for the MassChallenge accelerator program.

If your startup exceeds these guidelines, we still recommend that you apply for the accelerator program.  As long as your startup is early stage, our judges would be glad to consider your application. 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.

Learn more about our alumni.

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.

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. You're able to choose elements of the program that work best for you: the events to attend, the mentors to meet with, the sponsors to network with, and the office hours or info sessions to participate in. It also helps us better proactively support you if you are onsite.

MassChallenge expect active, consistent engagement in the accelerator program. This requires regular, physical presence from at least one team founder in the MassChallenge Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, or UK office for the duration of the accelerator program you are participating in.

Can my startup apply to multiple programs?

Yes, your startup can apply to multiple programs.

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.