MassChallenge Awards $105K in Scholarships to Top Early-Stage Startups

Each year, MassChallenge welcomes 128 promising startups across industries and from around the world to Boston to advance their ideas. Through this, it has become clear that entrepreneurs are society’s value creators, dramatically impacting the way we live our lives, conduct business, approach healthcare, and more. 

To further accelerate our cohort’s efforts, MassChallenge’s community of partners awarded a total of $105K to 21 startups. In addition to equity-free scholarships, selected startups also receive an opportunity for deeper engagement with partners, which included expert mentorship, co-developments, pilots, potential investments, and more.  

We are proud to announce the 2018 MassChallenge Boston scholarship recipients: 

BNY Mellon Scholarship for Social Impact
Identifies and supports early-stage startups that are developing new and innovative solutions to critical social problems.

Daisey Holmes, President of the BNY Mellon Foundation announced, “BNY Mellon is proud to fund MassChallenge’s social innovation efforts. They are leaders in the field. As part of our support, this year we awarded five MassChallenge startups the BNY Mellon Scholarship for Social Impact based on the strength and viability of their models, proposed solutions and potential impact.”

  • Cleancult – makes household green cleaners that actually clean
  • Dondoctor – creates an Airbnb-like online service to find doctors and medical centers in Colombia and Latin America 
  • Food for All – connects users to surplus food from restaurants at a deep discount an hour before they close 
  • Natured – brings groceries from local food makers to your doorstep 
  • STEMgem – provides wearable device toolkits that allow students to build real, useful, and relevant technology


Cydan Development Scholarship for Rare Diseases

Identifies and supports startups that are working to improve the quality of life for patients with orphan diseases and accelerate diagnosis of rare disease. 

“At Cydan, we are dedicated to improving the lives of patients with rare disease. We have a creative model where a collaborative team of scientists and drug development experts work to find and accelerate therapies for patients in need,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Cydan. “Our sponsorship of this program is emblematic of our philosophy to support and work with a variety of different stakeholders to rapidly improve the lives of patients in need.” 

  • Remora Therapeutics – preclinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel platelet-based cell therapies
  • Meter Therapeutics – develops awareness and treatments for rare respiratory disorders with unmet need, starting with chronic hiccups
  • Oxalo – develops a novel drug to prevent kidney stones using breakthroughs in microbiome research
  • TREND Community – turns anecdotes into evidence on a platform for those living with rare disease who can engage in community powered science


MassCEC Scholarship for Clean Energy and Water Innovation  

Identifies and supports startups in Massachusetts that are developing and commercializing technologies that that address the most pervasive energy challenges and specific climate issues facing the state.


“MassChallenge provides essential guidance and resources that help propel the next generation of innovators as they pursue solutions to our most pressing energy challenges,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “The startups coming out of this program will be better equipped to accelerate groundbreaking advancements in technology while creating jobs and economic activity right here in the Commonwealth.” 


  • Kinetic Batteries, LLC – aims to end battery manufacturing stagnation in the lithium ion industry through our cost-saving, eco-friendly AM batteries
  • Takachar – uses decentralized biomass upgrading technology to bring a larger fraction of biomass energy to cost parity
  • Flux Marine LTD – stealth
  • WatchTower Robotics – uses robots to help water pipe operators find leaks, save water, and protect infrastructure
  • Infinite Cooling – disrupts the way power plants use water by capturing and recycling evaporative losses in cooling towers
  • NovoMoto – stealth 
  • eCeptacle – offers an intelligent waste management platform that increases efficiencies, reduces cost, through deployment of smart tech


Microsoft Scholarship for Civic Innovation 

Identifies and supports startups that help public officials deliver improved services to private citizens and enhance government effectiveness.

“We are thrilled to support these startups that are using technology to advance civic engagement and transparency between governments and private citizens. We believe this work will create more economic opportunity across many communities and look forward to supporting each startup’s progress through the accelerator program.” – Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager, Microsoft 


  • Abridge News – increases empathy and critical thinking in the world by promoting diverse perspectives
  • Inkrypt – creates a censorship-resistant distributed global network for content storage and retrieval geared towards journalism firms
  • MEANS Database – fights food waste and hunger in the U.S. by connecting retailers and restaurants with unsold food to nearby hunger nonprofits 
  • Pilleve – integrated pill bottle that prevents prescription opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction using real time data and security
  • Zoba – uses machine learning to predict human behavior in cities