Case Study

Collaborative and Built for Scale: Corporate Partnerships with MassChallenge Are a Win-Win 

MassChallenge is the expert in helping corporate partners efficiently and effectively work with startups, supporting a scalable and inspiring approach to innovation. Our dedicated Partner Success team works in lockstep with partners to empower them to maximize the benefit of the MassChallenge Global Network.  

For corporations to remain competitive, they must adopt a culture that embraces new technology, methods, and personnel, as well as actively seek out ways to enhance their business model. With this proactive attitude to corporate innovation, enterprises can remain agile in the face of rising competition. The corporations may even identify new opportunities before any startup has a chance to establish itself in the market. 

Corporate innovation comprises several key tenets, including problem-solving, leadership, people management, and entrepreneurship. 

MassChallenge’s team works to ensure direct, unbiased focus on the specific interests of each of its partners and startups. Rooted in a non-profit model, MC offers a range of industry-specific and industry-agnostic solutions that are tailored to meet their partners’ goals. At the same time, we encourage pushing the boundaries that connect corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, and communities to drive business growth and transform economies. 

With the right strategy in place, enterprises can bring these aspects together to create new products in-house, form strategic partnerships through corporate innovation programs, or make targeted investments in promising startups. 

Let’s take a look at a few partnership examples. 


In 2013, CASIS began their partnership with MassChallenge to better educate those within innovation sectors on the possibilities that existed on the orbiting laboratory, and that they were available to all types of researchers, not just those that represented huge companies.  

Like many other MassChallenge partners, CASIS and BOEING actively participate with the MassChallenge startup cohorts, including being involved with seminars, events, and vetting of research applications to select the most space-based appropriate concepts for awards and flight to the ISS.     

Since the start of the partnership, more than 20 research concepts have been awarded for flight opportunities to the ISS National Lab creating a successful steady cadence of quality science that adds to the space station’s research portfolio that brings value back to our nation. 


In 2020, KPMG collaborated with MassChallenge cohort member TeamLift through MC’s Enterprise Technology Track. Largely, KPMG is always looking for the freshest ideas and applications for enterprise innovation. Because KPMG operates in over 100 countries and with thousands of large brand clients, they work with MassChallenge as both a conduit to find solutions to their clients, and to inform innovators of current or future struggles clients are experiencing.  

Recently, KPMG in the US (KPMG) and Floodlight collaborated to determine whether Floodlight’s extensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data could be used to reduce the time KPMG professionals needed to complete a GHG assessment. The use of Floodlight improved data delivery time and helped KPMG more efficiently measure their client’s ESG data.

In early 2022, Floodlight participated in MassChallenge early-stage accelerator as KPMG was making strides in utilizing ESG data to help clients create reporting strategies and demonstrate credibility for stakeholders.

Retail Business Services 

Retail Business Services (RBS) work with some of the biggest grocery store brands in the country. Their main focus for innovation covers three core areas:  

  1. Customer experience 
  1. Associate experience 
  1. Cost saving 

While obviously these are three main tenets of most businesses, outside “increase profit”, however in the grocery store space, solutions to achieve one, may contradict a solution of another. It gets complicated quickly. RBS works with MassChallenge to see a range of possible solutions, ones that may be built for a specific challenge, but RBS sees potential for the solution in a different way. They also get to share their challenges and priorities with these innovation networks to inform their own tech directions.  

Haliburton, Microsoft, BAE Systems, and Mitsubishi  

There is no “one shoe fits all” approach to how MassChallenge builds their partnerships. One corporate team might want to increase diversity of both identities and ideas in a specific department, another may want to bring in several startups working on similar tech to see who might be the best fit or have the most potential. Another may want to drive innovation on a variety technology and working closely with those teams.  

Ultimately, these partnerships are true collaborations, curated to what will best advance our partners innovation goals and initiatives.