2011 Masschallenge Startup Competition & Accelerator Receives Record Number of Entries – Announces 125 Finalists

May 24, 2011, 00:00 AM by User Not Found
BOSTON, MA – May 24, 2011 – Today, MassChallenge joined by Governor Deval Patrick and ~100 area business leaders, announced 125 finalists in the world’s largest global start-up competition. Hundreds of expert judges from the startup ecosystem selected these finalists after 2 rounds of judging on 733 original entries from 24 countries and 34 states. The 2011 accelerator program starts on June 27 and the final ceremony will be held on October 20.

MassChallenge, honored by President Obama in January as one of nation's best support organizations for high-growth startups, announces 125 Finalists with support from Governor Patrick and ~100 business leaders.

BOSTON, MA – May 24, 2011 – Today, MassChallenge joined by Governor Deval Patrick and ~100 area business leaders, announced 125 finalists in the world’s largest global start-up competition. Hundreds of expert judges from the startup ecosystem selected these finalists after 2 rounds of judging on 733 original entries from 24 countries and 34 states. The 2011 accelerator program starts on June 27 and the final ceremony will be held on October 20.

2011 MassChallenge Finalists represent 5 countries and 19 states

The 2011 competition received 733 entries from 24 countries and 34 states. India, Canada, Israel and Russia produced the most international entries. The 125 finalists hail from 5 countries and 19 states and represent a full diversity of industries. New York produced 9 finalists, the most of any state outside Massachusetts.

“The MassChallenge competition is a great example of the robust, collaborative community of innovators in the Commonwealth. Our ability to attract and engage high-growth startups from around the world is a reflection of our global competiveness, and is an excellent indication that we will continue to lead the country in innovation, job creation and economic growth for years to come,” said Governor Patrick.

MassChallenge benefits from Patrick trade mission

The Governor officially launched the 2011 MassChallenge competition during a TelePresence event connecting Israel and Boston on the first day of the Governor’s Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Economy Partnership Mission. During that TelePresence event joined by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and John Harthorne, Founder & CEO of MassChallenge in Boston, the administration pledged $1 million over the next four years to support MassChallenge, and officially opened the 2011 MassChallenge Competition and Accelerator program to entry.

“Massachusetts is proud to support a strong entrepreneurial spirit within our business community as well as across the world,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “I was pleased to join MassChallenge for the most recent launch, which has led to a very exciting, diverse, and talented group of finalists.”

John Harthorne highlighted the importance of the trade mission, noting, “This year, we had 15 entrants either headquartered in Israel or founded by Israeli-born entrepreneurs. Most, if not all, of these startups discovered MassChallenge as a direct result of the Administration's trade mission. Getting a first chance to engage with 15 Israel-affiliated startups is a significant advantage for MassChallenge, and for Massachusetts. Israel is the world's most innovative country and consistently produces high-quality startups founded on deep technical innovation and talent.”

Turnstone increases level of sponsorship

Turnstone, a brand of Steelcase Inc. is dedicated to serving the needs of smaller companies with insight-led furniture and workspace solutions. Turnstone had already contributed collaboration-oriented furniture to MassChallenge. Today, Turnstone announced it will contribute significantly more furniture and workspace expertise to support MassChallenge and the startups it accelerates.

Danielle Galmore, Senior Marketing and Business Evolution Manager at Turnstone said “We believe in the power of small companies and their ability to bring positive social and economic change to our communities. We also believe that the smart use of space can help make them even more effective, fun to work for, and even more influential. We passionately believe that Space Matters. It can inspire people to do great things. To engage one-another. To think more deeply. To innovate and make a difference.”

“That is why it made sense for us to sponsor and indeed, be a partner, to Masschallenge,” Galmore continued. “Their goals and passions align closely with ours. We are proud to be part of the Masschallenge family and feel more inspired and motivated every time we engage with them and the small companies that they support.”

New partnership with MITX announced

MassChallenge is excited to announce a key partnership with MITX, the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange. Drawing from the MassChallenge vision to create a community where entrepreneurs can easily access the resources and help they need to win, the MassChallenge and MITX partnership creates a tighter bond between the Massachusetts marketing and tech community and the young companies that are part of the competition.

“We have great start-ups and great marketing expertise here in Massachusetts, now we are proactively putting them together in order to help grow a whole new set of game changing companies,” said Debi Kleiman, MITX President. “It’s really a win-win – the companies that are part of our ecosystem – the digital agencies, design shops, and Internet and mobile technologists – all can provide perspective and ideas to help the entrepreneurs increase their chances of success. And the marketers get energized from working with exciting new companies and contributing to the start-up scene.”

John Harthorne, CEO and founder of MassChallenge added, “We’re thrilled to welcome MITX to the MassChallenge community, integrating their work, events and members into the MassChallenge experience. It brings something unique to the experience and creates additional value for the companies in our competition. I believe there is enormous mutual benefit for both organizations and, most importantly, for the highgrowth startups we support.”

As part of the partnership, MITX will move into the same space as MassChallenge at ONE Marina Park and will contribute expertise and introductions to support the MassChallenge curriculum and mentoring activities.

Existing sponsors and partners energized by momentum

“The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is excited to see the overwhelming response to this year's MassChallenge. With the large number of New York entrants, we hope this lays the groundwork for the possible expansion of the successful MassChallenge model to the New York City region in the near future,” Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Jodi-Tatiana Charles, the CEO of La Capoise Galerie, has provided branding and photography support for MassChallenge since before the first accelerator launched last year. “Jodi's dedication to her clients is unparalleled,” said MassChallenge CEO John Harthorne. “She runs a small business herself, but produces output as if she had a team of 20 professionals working for her. She does incredible work and cares deeply about the success of MassChallenge and her other clients.” Of working with MassChallenge, Charles said “It's just an incredible community surrounding a really elegant business model. The more you contribute as a participant or supporter, the more inspired and engaged you become. It's wonderful.”

Media and other guests were greeted at Fan Pier by a Ferrari F360 covered in the logos of MassChallenge-affiliated companies, including sponsors, partners and 2010 Finalist teams. A prior entrant and current partner, The Motorsport Lab, contributed the supercar advertising for the event and plans to leave the logos on the car for the summer as a mobile advertising billboard to be showcased around Boston. The Motorsport Lab is a media agency dedicated to designing and implementingpurposeful interactions and engagements through supercars for consumers and businesses.

A full list of financial sponsors is included at the end of this document.

Startup America Partnership – MassChallenge Honored by White House

At the end of January 2011, President Obama highlighted MassChallenge as one of the nation’s top initiatives to support the creation of high-growth businesses and jobs, and the Case Foundation and Kauffman Foundation invited MassChallenge to join the Startup America Partnership connecting the nation’s most effective startup support programs.

In the 2011, State of the Union speech, President Obama emphasized America’s history of innovation and enterprise, noting:

“We’re a nation that says, ‘I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company ... I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try ....’ We do big things.”

At the launch of the Startup America Partnership, Steve Case, Founder of AOL and Chair of the Startup America Partnership, said:

“America’s story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have against great odds created innovative products and services that have changed the world - and created millions of jobs. Our nation once again looks to these creative risktakers to unleash the next wave of American innovation, and I am pleased that President Obama has made supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs a major priority of his economic strategy.”

MassChallenge Overview

MassChallenge runs a $1M global startup competition and accelerator to catalyze the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses. The competition is open to any startup in the world, in any industry. MassChallenge is designed to identify, strengthen and facilitate funding for the world’s highest impact startups, and the judging criteria are focused on the entrant’s proposed impact and their potential for success. As an independent non-profit, MassChallenge does not take equity from entrants or place any restrictions on winners – there are no strings attached to the competition or awards. MassChallenge is designed entirely to help entrepreneurs win. The 2011 accelerator phase will take place from end of June through September and winners will be announced on October 20.

MassChallenge Results in 2010

MassChallenge received 446 applications from 24 states and 26 countries in 2010, it’s first year of operation. The 111 finalist teams that participated in the 2010 MassChallenge Accelerator program report a slightly higher satisfaction rate with MassChallenge than Apple customers report with Apple Computer, based on a comparison of Net Promoter Scores. Over 83% of 2010 finalists rated MassChallenge either 9 or 10 out of 10 on the question “How likely are you to recommend participation in MassChallenge to another startup?”

“MassChallenge was a godsend to Symmetric Computing. At a critical moment for our company, MassChallenge mentors helped focus our business and gave us invaluable insights. Plus, it didn’t hurt to have an additional $50K for us to invest in our business.”
- Michael Mullaley
Chief Marketing Officer, Symmetric Computing, 2010 $50K winner

In the first 7 months after the 2010 accelerator launched, the finalists raised over $30 million in external funding and hired over 300 new employees.

“Startups are the answer. The answer to the world's most important economic and social challenges. Entrepreneurs solve problems. That is their reason for being.”
- John Harthorne
Founder & CEO, MassChallenge

Media Contact

John Harthorne
Founder & CEO, MassChallenge
Tel: 617-894-3425