MassChallenge Expands Footprint to Serve High-Impact Entrepreneurs in Rhode Island

Program to Tap Local Innovation Ecosystem and Global Resources in Boston Headquarters

JAN. 25 – MassChallenge, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators, today announced the launch of its newest program in Rhode Island. Through collaboration with founding partners, including Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and FM Global, and support from Delta Dental, Rhode Island Foundation, and Verizon Foundation, MassChallenge Rhode Island will accelerate approximately 20 promising early-stage startups across industries in its first year.

“There is significant entrepreneurial activity taking place in Rhode Island and an eagerness from policy makers, corporates, universities, and community leaders in further strengthening the state’s ecosystem through connections to the global economy,” said Kiki Mills Johnston, Managing Director, MassChallenge Boston. “Since 2010, MassChallenge has accelerated many Rhode Island-founded startups through our flagship Boston program. We look forward to expanding our efforts in the state to ensure startups have access to a network of resources and support in Rhode Island, Boston, and around the world.”

MassChallenge first engaged with the Rhode Island innovation community in 2016 with the launch of its Bridge to MassChallenge startup boot camp. To spearhead expanded efforts in the state, MassChallenge has appointed Dr. Andrew Mallon as Program Director. Bringing a strong track record of successful entrepreneurial ventures to the role, Dr. Mallon was Founder and CEO of Calista Therapeutics, a 2013 MassChallenge winner that developed treatments for Cystic Fibrosis. He came to Rhode Island from Scotland in 2007 and was recruited to Brown University, where he led research and founded a successful Biotech startup. Dr. Mallon is also a former Infantry Officer.

“I am thrilled to collaborate with Rhode Island’s innovation community to ensure that local startups have the opportunity to successfully launch, grow, and create impact in this state and beyond,” said Dr. Mallon, Program Director, MassChallenge Rhode Island. “As a former entrepreneur, I understand first-hand the challenges that many founders face, including access to capital, talent, customers, and expert advice. MassChallenge’s proven model has created thousands of startup successes and has activated innovation communities around the world.”

MassChallenge Rhode Island will support high-impact startups through connections to corporates, expert mentors, tailored programming, and more – all at zero cost and for zero equity. In addition, the inaugural cohort will also have access to MassChallenge’s global network in Boston, including strategic connections, events, mentorship, and other opportunities. At the culmination of the four-month program, top startups will compete for shares of up to $50,000 in cash prizes.

"Small businesses are at the heart of our economy and of our efforts. Under Governor Raimondo, we have made it a priority to support the success of small businesses and entrepreneurs in Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “We are pleased that MassChallenge has recognized Rhode Island as an emerging center for innovation and entrepreneurship — and has launched an operation here. MassChallenge will bring together knowledge, ideas and investment to foster more opportunities for Rhode Island entrepreneurs, creating jobs and growing our economy. This program dovetails with our additional small business and innovation-focused initiatives — including our small business loan program, innovation vouchers for ventures seeking R&D support from our universities, the Wavemaker Fellowship of student loan repayment for STEM and design grads seeking STEM and design jobs, and the Wexford Innovation Complex in the I-195 District. We welcome MassChallenge to Rhode Island.”

Applications for the 2018 MassChallenge Rhode Island cohort open on February 7. Those interested in applying or learning more are invited to attend the upcoming MassChallenge Application Launch Event on February 8 from 6:00 – 8:00pm in Boston. This is a great opportunity to meet Dr. Mallon, learn about Rhode Island’s fast-growing innovation community, and hear more about MassChallenge Rhode Island’s inaugural program.

Interested in getting involved as a sponsor or supporter? Visit http://masschallenge.org/partners for more details.

About MassChallenge:
MassChallenge is the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet. No equity and not-for-profit, we are obsessed with helping entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, industries, and regions around the world. We also reward the highest-impact startups through a competition to win a portion of several million dollars in equity-free cash awards. Through our global network of accelerators in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas, and the UK; and unrivaled access to our corporate partners, we can have a massive impact - driving growth and creating value the world over. To date, 1,211 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $2 billion in funding, generated approximately $900 million in revenue, and created over 65,000 total jobs. For more information, please visit masschallenge.org.

MassChallenge Rhode Island Partners:
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, FM Global, Delta Dental, Rhode Island Foundation, Verizon Foundation.

Top MassChallenge Partners:
Altria, Autodesk, The Boston Consulting Group, The Boston Foundation, CASIS, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, CVS Health, Delta Dental, Deshpande Foundation, Draper, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Fidelity Investments, FM Global, GE, Henkel, Honda, Jamestown, John Hancock, Microsoft, Molex, P&G, PAN Communications, PepsiCo, PTC, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Rhode Island Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, Swiss Re, and Verizon Foundation.