Central Texas startups have a new opportunity to get high-level mentorship, global networking and equity-free cash prizes.
Boston-based MassChallenge announced Wednesday it is expanding to Austin. MassChallenge Texas will be the accelerator network’s first U.S. location outside Boston. It also operates in Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and the U.K.
The program aims to accelerate as many as 100 startups that will compete for up to $500,000 in equity-free cash awards. The not-for-profit accelerator has close ties to other programs around the globe and access to founders and investors with experience in healthcare, clean energy, hardware, manufacturing, biotech, consumer tech, and social impact startups.
MassChallenge named Austinite and experienced mentor and founder Mike Millard as managing director of MassChallenge Texas. Millard’s background includes research and intelligence roles at Dell and Austin Ventures, as well as mentorship roles at Capital Factory and advisory board positions with several startups. He is also the founder and CEO of Pitch-a-Kid.
The Texas program was created, in part, through a partnership between MassChallenge and Southwest Airlines, USAA, and Upstream.
“In Texas’ vibrant and dynamic innovation ecosystem, it’s often hard for startups and large organizations to know how to partner with each other. As an innovation firm in Austin, we have a unique perspective on the dynamic exchange of new ideas between diverse groups of inspired people,” Jeff Mulhausen, founding partner of Upstream, said in a news release.
MassChallenge Texas plans a formal launch event on Oct. 16 at the Bob Bullock Museum.
“I want to be the first to welcome MassChallenge to Texas and look forward to working with them to support Texas entrepreneurs,” Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer said. “One of the things Texas needs most is connections to capital and corporations in other geographies.”