Launched four years ago in Boston, the programme provides the now well-recognised range of support for startups – with one difference: it takes no equity.
The MassChallenge UK program was recently introduced at a House of Lords reception attended by the great and the good. MassChallenge UK is based on the successful MassChallenge model, which launched in Boston in 2010. It is said to be the world’s largest business accelerator, with the UK programme – backed by Downing Street and a number of global blue-chips – ‘set to attract hundreds of talented entrepreneurs and innovators to help them convert their high-potential ideas into high-impact businesses’.
The four-month MassChallenge programme annually supports over a hundred high-impact, early stage start-ups with no strings attached, and is beginning to replicate in different countries.
Its £10m support package for the best entrepreneurs includes expert mentoring and business training, free office space, access to funding and the opportunity to win ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash awards’. Unlike almost every other Accelerator, MassChallenge does not take any equity in exchange for funding or support.
MassChallenge UK managing director Chris Howard said: “If the UK is to continue its economic recovery, then it is vital we nurture a new generation of startups and ambitious entrepreneurs” adding a rider about the importance of sustainable long-term businesses.
MassChallenge UK joins an estimated forty Accelerators already in operation in London, whose operations are becoming more tailored, extending over longer periods of the lives of startups, and spreading into new fields; but also stretching the quality of the entrepreneurs, and of their curators.
See also: Accelerators: onward, upward and outward, Sept 2014 http://wp.me/p3beJt-8Q
Upcoming: ‘Accelerators attacking bigger issues’ (than apps and websites).
John Whatmore, October, 2014