Innovation Blog

Catching Up with Our 2017 Winners – OffGridBox


Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the winners from our 2017 MassChallenge Boston cohort, which were awarded shares of $1.5M at #MCAwards17 on November 2nd. Over the past four months, top startups across industries have leveraged expert mentorship, tailored curriculum, corporate partnerships, and industry resources to launch and grow their companies. The best part? They’re just getting started! Our entire cohort now joins a powerful group of alumni companies that have raised more than $2B in funding, over $900M in revenue, and created over 65,000 around the world. Pretty crazy!   

… now onto our winners. First up, meet OffGridBox, a 2017 alum and $100K winner that brings clean energy and water to remote areas.

Globally 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity and another 800 million do not have access to clean water. The all-in-one solution enables NGOs, schools, hospitals, businesses and homeowners around the world produce clean power and water.

We had a chance to catch up with Troy Billett, U.S. Director, about his experience going through the MC accelerator:

Take us back to MassChallenge Awards… what was going through your mind when you heard your startup name called to the stage?
After all that we learned at MassChallenge, we hoped we had a chance to win a prize, but when they called our name we were in shock! Our faces dropped and the EVP of PepsiCo patted my back and said, “I told you so!” With relentless smiles on our face, we went on stage.

As a winner, how do you plan to use the cash prize to further accelerate growth?
We were trying to grasp the idea that we could send 6 more boxes to Rwanda, helping prove our business model and providing clean water and power for thousands of people.

What would you say has been the key driver of your success throughout the program?
I believe the encouragement from mentors and entrepreneurs as fuel for our drive were the key drivers of our success as during the program.

What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
I believe the hardest lesson was staying focused on our core business and not getting distracted by the many possibilities for new markets and products/services.

What advice do you have for startups thinking about applying to MC?
I definitely recommend focusing on traction–defined as contracts and revenue/users. At the end of the day, that’s what it takes to create a self-sustaining business.


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