Competition Rules

MassChallenge Accelerator Competition and Program Rules

These rules (“Rules”) govern each person that enters into the MassChallenge Accelerator Competition (“Entrant”), as well as each Entrant’s participation in any MassChallenge program (for instance, if entrant is part of a Finalist team). By entering the competition, you are indicating your (and your team’s) agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions during and after the competition. For purposes of these Rules, all “Entrants,” “Entrant Teams,” “Semi-Finalists,” “Finalists,” “Winners,” together with each individual program participant shall become and be referred to as a “MassChallenge Participant,” and collectively as “MassChallenge Participants.”

Eligibility

To be eligible to enter the MassChallenge competition, a business entry must be at an early stage of development (“Entrant Team”), and each entrant team must pay the entry fee. The entry fee is intended to prevent entry from teams who are not committed to launching their business. Eligibility definitions are clarified in the applications for each individual accelerator.

Ineligible to Participate

Past MassChallenge cash-prize winners from the same competition (e.g., a cash-prize winner from MassChallenge Boston accelerator can apply to PULSE@MassChallenge)

Companies that have participated in the same MassChallenge Accelerator program more than once already

Any person who has been terminated or disqualified from a MassChallenge Accelerator program for any reason

Any person that is prohibited from participating because of a contractual or other legal obligation to another person or entity (such as an employer)

Entry

To enter the MassChallenge competition, an entrant team must submit an application through the MassChallenge website or be advanced to Round Two judging via an official fast track partner. Applications submitted after the application deadlines will not be considered. See the calendar of dates on https://masschallenge.org/timeline

Awards

MassChallenge seeks to award high-impact, high-potential new ventures.

Finalists in each program receive free resources including mentorship, work space, strategic advice, and networking opportunities to further their businesses.

MassChallenge will award cash grants to a subset of finalists in each program. These awards will be used toward development of the startup business.

MassChallenge will only pay prize money to winners as incorporated entities. Prize money cannot be paid to individuals or to non-winning entities.

MassChallenge anticipates the following number of startup entrants will be selected for each advanced round in each of the competitions:

MassChallenge Boston:

  • 300 Semi-Finalists

  • 128 Finalists

  • 26 Winners, with 10-20 Cash-Prize Winners

MassChallenge Israel:

  • 123 Semi-Finalists

  • 50 Finalists

  • 8-12 Winners, with 4-6 Cash-Prize Winners

MassChallenge Mexico:

  • 109 Semi-Finalists

  • 35 Finalists

  • 3-10 Cash-Prize Winners

MassChallenge Switzerland:

  • 180 Semi-Finalists

  • 70 Finalists

  • 10-15 Winners, with 5-10 Cash-Prize Winners

MassChallenge Texas

  • 200 - 250 Semi-Finalists

  • 100 Finalists

  • 15 - 20 Winners, with 7 - 12 Cash Prize Winners

PULSE@MassChallenge Digital Health Lab:

  • 60 Semi-Finalists

  • 10-30 Finalists

  • 3-5 Cash-Prize Winners

Process

The competition is designed to find high-impact, high-potential ventures. The overall goal of the program is to help MassChallenge Participants launch and/or grow a successful startup.

Note the following phases. Dates of each phase can be found on the timeline page here: https://masschallenge.org/timeline

Phases

  • MassChallenge Applications Open: Applications are available for completion on the MassChallenge website. Deadline for entry submission is firm.

  • Round One Judging: A review of online applications by judges. When Round One judging is completed, semi-finalists (and entrants who do not become semi-finalists) are notified. Semi-finalists advance to the next stage of the competition.

  • Round Two Judging: Teams perform in-person pitches. Finalists (and semi-finalists who do not become finalists) are notified.

  • MassChallenge Accelerator Program: Finalist teams pair with mentors of their choice and are given free, premium office space in the program city. Ongoing programming is offered which includes access to angel groups, law firms, marketing agencies, PR firms, venture capital firms, corporate executives and staff, training sessions and workshops covering strategy, marketing, fundraising, team building, and other business activities. The accelerator phase is approximately 3-4 months long.

    • Note: PULSE@MassChallenge Finalists participate in a 5-6 month accelerator and each finalist team is matched with one or more strategic partners (“Champions”) upon entry to the program.

  • Pre-Final and Final Judging: The pre-final and final rounds of judging require additional in-person presentations.

  • MassChallenge Awards: Announcement of winners and celebration of all participating finalists.

Judging

The goal of the judging process is to identify the highest-potential, highest-impact startups. There are 3-4 rounds of formal judging.

MassChallenge enlists the services of expert judges who are independent and objective, with no conflicts of interest.

In Round One, Judges base their scores on the Entrant’s submitted written application. In Round Two, a distinct group of Judges review the Entrant’s in-person presentation. Pre-Final and Final Judging also require an in-person presentation.

All decisions of the Judges are at their sole discretion and are FINAL.

References

Entrant teams may provide a limited number of names of individuals who can act as references for their company. These references are optional. They can provide additional information to assist in assessing the application. Collecting the references can also assist the entrepreneur by encouraging networking.

Discounts (Partial Refunds) on Entry Fee

Sponsors of MassChallenge and other organizations may provide credit codes that the entrant team can use to receive discounts or refunds on some portion of the paid entry fee.

Legal Action

MassChallenge shall be held harmless in the event of any legal action.

Other Agreements

MassChallenge takes no responsibility for agreements between any MassChallenge participant and third parties.

Intellectual Property

MassChallenge is not responsible for, takes no part in and shall have no liability for the domestic or international intellectual property rights that may be part of any entry or arise from activities of MassChallenge Participants.

MassChallenge participants are responsible for their own intellectual property.

MassChallenge participants must keep confidential information confidential.

MassChallenge participants are not authorized to use any intellectual property of MassChallenge or any other MassChallenge participant, including a trademark, copyrightable content or other proprietary content without the express authorization of the owner of such rights.

MassChallenge participants agree to indemnify MassChallenge from and against all demands, claims, causes of action, damages, fees, and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, arising out of or relating to any third party claims of intellectual property infringement brought against MassChallenge (or any of its affiliates and sponsors) asserting that the content, work product or activities of a MassChallenge participant infringe(s) the intellectual property, contract or other rights of any other person (including any other MassChallenge participant).

Each MassChallenge participant agrees that MassChallenge may use his or her name, image, photograph, biography, and each entrant team’s “story” and biography in connection with the promotion of MassChallenge and its activities in perpetuity, in all manner of media, without further authorization from or compensation to MassChallenge participant. All MassChallenge participants hereby waive and release MassChallenge, its affiliates and sponsors from all claims and causes of action arising out of the uses set forth in this paragraph.

Each MassChallenge participant expressly acknowledges and agrees that they may be exposed to the proprietary and confidential information of other MassChallenge participants while taking part in the competition and/or any MassChallenge program, and that they should not use or disclose such information to any person for any reason.

Privacy

MassChallenge protects personal information collected in competition materials (see privacy policy on http://masschallenge.org/privacy-policy).

Submissions

Entry materials become the property of MassChallenge.

Compliance with Rules; Immorality, Illicit or Illegal Conduct

Any violation of these rules will disqualify a MassChallenge participant, including the entrant’s team from the competition, and result in forfeiture of any awards awarded to the entrant team. Furthermore, MassChallenge reserves the right to remove or disqualify any MassChallenge Participant from the competition and from all MassChallenge programs at any time, at its sole discretion and for any reason. Without limiting the foregoing, any MassChallenge participant who engages in immoral, illicit or illegal conduct, including activities that violate these rules, including but not limited to lying, cheating, and/or any activity that, in the sole discretion of MassChallenge, may adversely affect the image of MassChallenge or other MassChallenge participants, or any of our affiliates or sponsors, becomes ineligible for the competition, forfeits any awards, and shall be disqualified from participating in the current and any other MassChallenge programs in the future.

Originality

All work and submissions of MassChallenge participants must be original to the entrant/team, or, if not original, used with written authorization of others whose contributions must be identified in the submission.

Liability Related to Awards

Awardees may not hold MassChallenge or other participants responsible for any harm resulting from participating in the competition and/or any MassChallenge program, or from accepting or using the award.

Immigration

All MassChallenge participants must be legally present in the country of the program in which they participate. MassChallenge takes no responsibility for the immigration status of participants.

Antiterrorism

Each participant warrants that he or she does not participate in any terrorist activities. MassChallenge shall not be held responsible for any harm resulting breach of this warranty.

Law

The competition is subject to applicable federal, state, and local laws.

Updates

MassChallenge may update these rules throughout the competition and entrants will be responsible for compliance with all changes. All updates will be posted on the MassChallenge website. These rules include by incorporation of any material posted on the MassChallenge website; in the case of conflict, these "Competition Rules" supersede any other information.