MassChallenge Texas Awards Equity-Free Cash and Investment Prizes to Top Startups from 2020 Houston Cohort

Houston, TX – MassChallenge, the global network for innovators, tonight awarded more than $200,000 in equity-free prizes to seven startups from this year’s Houston-based competition. The announcement – made during the 2020 MassChallenge U.S. Virtual Awards Ceremony – caps the non-profit’s first virtual accelerator and second Houston-based program. 

“In the face of great uncertainty, MassChallenge Texas in Houston charged forward and did exactly what they ask their startups to do: love the problem. The successful pivot to virtual is a testament to the strength of their global community and the motivation of the Houston ecosystem to get behind new ideas and create businesses that will set roots and grow here,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As one of the most innovative cities, Houston is a place where startups can thrive – even in the midst of a pandemic. Programs like MassChallenge provide the best practices and networks to ensure startups get the access they need to create sustainable businesses and lasting change.”  

“This has been a year full of change, to say the least. But startups thrive in uncertain times – because they can move fast and remain agile, they are able quickly meet each new need that arises,” said Jon Nordby, Managing Director of MassChallenge Texas in Houston. “I’m extremely proud of the startups in our 2020 cohort – during the course of the program, they’ve pivoted, adjusted, and evolved in order to grow their businesses. And the numbers don’t lie: these startups have raised $44.4M funding, generated $24M in revenue, and created 297 jobs.”

“The progress these entrepreneurs made in just a few months has all of the hope, drama, anticipation, and optimism of seeing dawn break after a particularly difficult night,” said Wogbe Ofori, Principal at 360Approach and a MassChallenge mentor. “It’s fulfilling, actually, and makes me proud to be a MassChallenge mentor.”

In June, MassChallenge Texas in Houston welcomed 56 startups from 13 countries and 13 states to its first-ever virtual accelerator. The MassChallenge program connects startups with the resources, partnerships, and communities that help them launch, grow, and scale their businesses. Specifically, startups benefitted from bi-weekly sessions with top speakers like Niraj Shah (CEO, Wayfair), Brian Halligan (CEO, HubSpot), Kirk Arnold (EiR, General Catalyst), Deb Benton (Willow Growth Partners), more than 100 hours of tailored workshops, direct access to over 200 mentors, and access to MassChallenge’s global corporate partner network.

To close out the 2020 cohort, MassChallenge Texas in Houston and its partners awarded $200,000 in prizes to seven top startups during the MassChallenge U.S. Virtual Awards on October 22, 2020. MassChallenge Texas in Houston partner the Houston Angel Network and MassChallenge Boston partner Innospark Ventures presented sidecar awards and investment prizes worth $100,000 during the event.

The MassChallenge U.S. Virtual Awards brought together more than 2,000 viewers for a livestreamed event to celebrate the transformative power of entrepreneurship. In total, MassChallenge and its partners awarded more than $1 million in cash and investment prizes to 34 startups from this year’s Austin, Boston, Houston, and Rhode Island accelerators. The event was hosted by Chris Denson of Innovation Crush, and featured a fireside chat between Arianna Huffington (Founder and CEO, Thrive Global) and Linda Pizzuti Henry (Managing Director, Boston Globe). 


Diamond Award – $100,000

PATH EX, Inc. (Houston, TX): PATH EX is focused on the rapid diagnosis and treatment of sepsis through an unique pathogen extraction platform.

Gold Awards – $25,000

Healium (Columbia, MO): Healium is a biometrically-controlled virtual and augmented reality product powered by consumer wearables for self-management of anxiety.

Ozark Integrated Circuits, Inc. (Fayetteville, AR): Ozark IC’s hardware, software, and services bring the internet of things to the harshest environments – from jet engines to earth orbit.

PREEMIEr Diagnostics (Liberty, MI): PREEMIEr Diagnostics’s technology can identify which premature infants need an adjustment to their glucose levels for the prevention of them losing vision.

Scout, Inc. (Alexandria, VA): Scout is extending satellite lifetimes, preventing orbital debris, and keeping space secure through data gathered from inspections in space.


Innospark Artificial Intelligence Prize 

Articulate Labs – $25,000 Award – (Dallas, TX): Articulate Labs makes mobile, adaptive devices to help knee osteoarthritis and knee replacement patients rehabilitate on the go during everyday activity. 

Starling Medical – $25,000 Award – (Houston, TX): Starling Medical is developing a tech-enabled urinary catheter for patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. 

The Houston Angel Network Investment Prize 

Ozark Integrated Circuits, Inc. – $50,000 Award – (Fayetteville, AR): Ozark IC’s hardware, software, and services bring the internet of things to the harshest environments – from jet engines to earth orbit


This year, the U.S. programs in Austin, Boston, Houston, and Rhode Island welcomed a total of 244 early-stage startups. Selected from thousands of applicants, the 2020 cohorts represent the best and brightest ideas tackling some of the world’s most massive challenges including affordable housing, Alzheimer’s disease, climate change, waste management and sanitation, and more. In total, the cohort represents 18 countries, 34 U.S. states and 5 industries: 36% High Tech, 32% Healthcare/ Life Sciences, 18% General/Retail, 7% Energy/Clean Tech, and 6% Social Impact; and 57% cohort has at least one female founder.


Agrosuper, Altus Dental, Amica Insurance, Analog Devices, Austin Technology Incubator, Autodesk, Babson College, BAE Systems, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brex, Carta, Central Houston, City of Houston, Cydan Development, Defense Innovation Unit, Dell for Entrepreneurs, Delta Dental, Department of Defense, Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Duane Morris LLP, First Republic Bank, FM Global, Foley Hoag LLP, Hasbro, Henkel, IOwnIt, ISS National Laboratory, J.P. Morgan, Juice Consulting, KPMG LLP, MassCEC, McKinsey & Company, MITRE, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsui & Co., Office of Economic Adjustment/DIA, Oracle for Startups, PwC, Raytheon, Reliant, an NRG Company, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Sanofi, SOMPO, Stadia Ventures, Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities, The Boston Foundation, TMAC, University of Texas at Austin, UPS, Upstream, US Air Force, WeWork, Winstead 


MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,400 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $6.2B in funding, generated more than $3B in revenue, and created more than 157,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at