MassChallenge’s 2023 flagship award ceremony RESOLVE was held on February 16th in Boston, MA, and we’re still reflecting on the community embrace and innovation insight of the event. Over $1.1M in equity-free cash and investment prizes was awarded to 22 startups from the 2022 early-stage cohort and MassChallenge alums.
2023 was also the first year that MassChallenge announced a Community Choice Award, which activated our global community of experts, partners, and alumni to identify five finalists during the Startup Showcase last fall. The competition received unanimous positive support and over 35k votes naming two finalists as the winners of the Community Choice Award.
Of the 250 startups who participated in the 2022 Early Stage cohort, founders from 175 startups were first-time founders – the highest number of first-time founders to date. The cohort makeup included founders from 28 countries; 37% of startups had at least one female or non-binary founder; 43% were BIPOC founded.
For MassChallenge, the event was a reminder of the incredible advancements coming from our innovation community. We were overwhelmed by the amount of talented, dedicated founders with mission-driven startups; the intelligence and dedication of experts and mentors; and the vision and support of larger external organizations and corporate partners who not only understand but embrace the need to expand who gets to innovate and how.
We thought to best capture this feeling of momentum in the MassChallenge community, we’d share some of our favorite and inspiring takeaways and messages shared from the community itself.
The Voices of RESOLVE 2023
Sid Pailla, Sunny Day Fund:
“Thrilled to have won the MassChallenge Alumni Award last night in Boston!
I was inspired and humbled by fellow finalists – I learned about the power of a motherhood network from Amy VanHaren at pumpspotting and creativity of using fat to fight aging from Ahmed Zobi at Syntr Health Technologies, Inc., among many other finalists changing the world (and beyond in space!) – take a second to read about them in the link below.
A pinch-me moment too as I walked up to the stage to receive the award from the great folks at MITRE, where I did my first formal internship almost two decades ago!”
Amy VanHare, Founder & CEO of pumpspotting:
“What an amazing honor and joy for all of us pumpspotting to win the top MassChallenge alumni award!
It will go towards our growth and power our work making the world a more inclusive place for women and families, and we could not be more grateful!
I’m so proud for pumpspotting to be seen and recognized by this amazing community of talented and world-changing founders, mentors, and champions. We are surrounded by the best believers.
The cheers were humbling and the awards night had me beyond inspired by the many visionary and vital companies, especially fellow alumni winners Ahmed Zobi at Syntr Health Technologies, Inc. and Sid Pailla ☀️ of Sunny Day Fund ☀️, maternal health company Flourish Care and finalists Boss Insights, mDoc, Otrafy, and Voi Technology.
Five years ago, I entered the Mass Challenge accelerator with little more than a big vision for my company. The experience gave us knowledge, resources, founder community, access to capital, amazing mentors, and a boatload of cheering on, which helped us truly take key steps toward bringing our vision to life.
Congrats to all the other inspiring companies, and thank you MassChallenge, for all the doors you open for us dreamers!”
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“Feeling very grateful for the MassChallenge community of partners, mentors, and fellow founders that inspire us every day to keep on building toward our vision of a more sustainable and inclusive apparel industry.
TrueToForm was named the WINNER of the 2023 MassChallenge Dual Use Award at the #RESOLVE Summit! The award comes with a $50,000 equity free cash prize.
Thank you to our MassChallenge mentors, advisors, and investors for their support and guidance throughout this program.”
Sarah Ganzenmuller, Co-Founder of Ripplfect:
“Truly believe there is no group more supportive of one another than early-stage founders.
Reflecting on my experience with MassChallenge – their ability to find founders who are driven by mission and purpose is incredible.
Very proud of everyone I have met through this program!”
Naman Shah, MachineBio:
“Machine Bio has been awarded the Technology in Space Prize! Our technology will be tested on the International Space Station National Laboratory in 2024 with $350,000 in grant funding from CASIS and Boeing. Our unique bioreactors are positioned to potentially enable the viability of protein production in space.
We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to participate in MassChallenge’s 2022 cohort which provided us with many opportunities for growth throughout the program, including the opportunity to compete for this prize.”
Devon Campbell, Founder, Prodct LLC + CPO, myBiometry:
“Congrats to all the MassChallenge finalists and award nominees from this week’s RESOLVE 2023 Awards event. Especially proud of #healthtech finalists Tushar Sharma of Vivifi Medical *and* Benjamin Freedman of Limax Biosciences!
Vivifi Medical is developing a revolutionary new treatment for Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) through a quick & easy vascular procedure.
Limax Biosciences, who won the grand prize within the healthtech group, is improving the treatment of internal and external injuries with a stretchable adhesive hydrogel.
I had the unique privilege to support both teams as one of their MC Early Stage 2023 mentors.”
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Nikki Szanyi, SB Field & Startup Manager at CDW:
“What an incredible few days with MassChallenge and startup community. So many amazing founders, speakers, and powerful connections to be made.
I was particularly impressed by the level of collaboration and camaraderie among the attendees, regardless of background and area of expertise.
Big thank you to MassChallenge for all the hard work and commitment to the startup community. Their non equity model and ability to develop connections and positive collisions in the space for uncommon opportunities and uncommon founders is truly impressive.”
Meenu (Meenakshi) Patil, Associate Partner- Cloud FinOps Leader:
And talk of the great pride when you see your startup up there on the podium receiving the award! Yahooooo!
Partners & Sponsors
So, it was an easy decision to partner with them for our #foundation‘s inaugural #awards for two #femalefounders out of 180 in a single cohort building impactful businesses. The hard part was to pick the top two out of so many amazing women and businesses!
“Congrats to the latest MassChallenge Technology in Space Prize winner, #biotechnology startup Machine Bio! Their research—that will now have the opportunity to utilize the ISS Nation Lab—’would be a significant advancement for biomedical research in low Earth orbit and will be crucial for studies on future spaceflight missions farther from Earth.’ “
Are You Interested in Becoming a MassChallenge Partner?
MassChallenge has a variety of different partnerships from corporate to foundations to municipal. We believe our partners are creative collaborators in advancing innovation. You can lean about partnerships here.
“Today was a great day at RESOLVE | The MassChallenge Summit! It was our pleasure to help curate content and sessions at this exciting event. Huge thanks to our wonderful MIT REAP alumni and faculty for sharing their thoughts and insights today. “
“Yesterday Davis had the pleasure of sending some of our rising team members to RESOLVE | The MassChallenge Summit & Awards flagship event in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. Our employees were able to hear from global stakeholders during a series of panels and presentations around emerging sectors including Ag-Bio, Blockchain, Climate, HealthTech, Bio Security and more. Davis is a proud sponsor of MassChallenge, an organization committed to fostering entrepreneurship with more than a decade of experience accelerating startups, industry and innovation ecosystems in Boston and across the country. Davis President Stephen Davis had the honor of being part of the MassChallenge Host Committee. Congratulations to all of yesterday’s award winners and nominees!”
Wiljeana Glover, Ph.D. (panelist):
“Many thanks to Rep. Jake Auchincloss, David R. Gastfriend, M.D. and Jaya Tripathi for an important but surprisingly fun discussion on the Future of Healthcare Innovation. We discussed equitable, evidence-based solutions like the #SUD solution from #Dynamicare, promotive vs. preventive VC behaviors, the need for considering value differences in digital solutions, & that “the US govt is the ultimate impact investor.” Thanks to MassChallenge#MCResolve23 for an excellent conference.”
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Whether you’re a founder or an industry expert or want you organization to consider being more involved with the MassChallenge mission—we have a spot for you. Learn more about joining the community now.
Stephanie Soetendal, CEO & Founder Matrix Holograms:
“Last evening, at the MassChallenge RESOLVE awards, it was a great honor to see fellow cohort mates be granted recognition for their impactful achievements with their start-ups. A huge congratulations to Carmen Romanand Susan Shultz for their contributions to society.
Great time and conversations with advisor Sung Park, Mark Weber researcher at the IBM MIT-Watson labs, and brilliant mentor and creator of the MC-IBM Mentorship program, Matt Puccini.
Grateful for this awesome community! Great to have met and catch-up with fellow mates of the IBM AI Mentorship Program and MC Boston Sesha Kadakia, Shashank Singh, Madison Sowards, Natalie Bossart, Vijay Sekhara.”
Charley Gowland, Activating Partnerships & Ventures with AAA Northeast:
“I couldn’t agree more with Marisa Nieves about the significance of the work being done by MassChallenge and their network of founders and partners. I’d encourage any entrepreneur to learn more about their current accelerator programs and consider applying!