Innovation Blog

MassChallenges Secret Sauce to a Powerful…


I set out to learn how MC built trust within this network of high-profile partners. While its value stems from MCs tight-knit community and dedication to innovation, the partnerships established by Scott Bailey and Kara Shurmantine were integral to MC’s unparalleled success.

During a presentation earlier this week, Bailey provided a glimpse into how the most successful entrepreneurs develop critical relationships. In every relationship, he is determined to give value first and leave every conversation with a clear path to mutual benefit. David Skok ( also shared how he views customers like bank accounts you need to make a deposit before you can withdraw. Entrepreneurs must learn where and how they deposit in order to yield compelling returns.

MCs secret sauce begins with a cultivated understanding of needs within their ecosystem to create immediate value. The overwhelming value for startups like my own is due to unwavering support from entrepreneurs, mentors, sponsors, and staff. On the flip side, innovation from these budding startups feeds value back into MCs external stakeholders and the community at large.

Careful positioning within an ecosystem will offer immediate value even if an early-stage startup isnt ready to deliver its primary solution. Start by gaining a deep understanding of the needs that each stakeholder has on a personal level. Go out and shadow, conduct interviews, get drinks, and go golfing whatever you do, always be prepared to uncover the immediate value you can add to those around you.

Thanks to Jibran Malek, Mark Michelman, and Alexandra Knowles for reading drafts of this.

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