Tech Talk: MassChallenge expands globally

MassChallenge runs start-up accelerators designed to catalyze a global renaissance by connecting high-impact start-ups with the resources they need to launch their companies and succeed.

November 3, 2015 21:33
3 minute read.
Tsofen High Technology Center

Integrating Arab citizens into the high-tech and start-up industries at a Tsofen High Technology Center. (photo credit: COURTESY TSOFEN HIGH TECHNOLOGY CENTERS)


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Accelerator comes to Jerusalem

MassChallenge announced the expansion of its global accelerator network to Jerusalem, and detailed plans to launch a MassChallenge accelerator in Israel in 2016. The accelerator will combine Mass- Challenge’s no-equity, competition- based model with the energy and potential of the country’s start-up ecosystem. Based in Jerusalem, the accelerator will focus on promising start-ups across Israel, and will serve as an attractive entry point for entrepreneurs from all over the world who are eager to access a thriving and innovative economy.

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“Israel is an outstanding and growing hub for entrepreneurship,” said MassChallenge founder and CEO John Harthorne. “Launching a new accelerator in Jerusalem that is connected with other global hubs dramatically expands the MassChallenge community, which will provide entrepreneurs in Israel and all over the world better access to global resources.”

Israel was selected based on the strength and enthusiasm of its innovative ecosystem and its potential to further expand the growing global network of Mass- Challenge entrepreneurs.

“This is a welcome step that will contribute to the positioning of Jerusalem as a global hub for technology, entrepreneurship and the development of advanced industries,” said Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin. “The capital of Israel, in one of the most ancient and exciting cities in the history of civilization, has the potential to be tomorrow’s capital in one of the world’s great hi-tech centers.”

“Jerusalem has been named the number one emerging global tech hub by Time and Entrepreneur magazines, and the buzzing hi-tech ecosystem in our city includes 500 start-ups and companies that raise hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “The next step is welcoming MassChallenge to our city and providing a successful launching pad for our innovative and creative entrepreneurs in Israel. I am excited to launch MassChallenge here in Jerusalem to drive innovation to new heights, and I will do everything I can to make this effort successful.”

MassChallenge runs start-up accelerators designed to catalyze a global renaissance by connecting high-impact start-ups with the resources they need to launch their companies and succeed. Anyone can apply to MassChallenge with an early-stage start-up, in any industry, from anywhere in the world. MassChallenge does not take equity or place any restrictions on the start-ups it supports.


With programs in Boston, Israel and the UK, MassChallenge provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network and other resources during four months of acceleration.

MassChallenge awards over $2 million in non-dilutive grants to the start-ups demonstrating the highest impact and highest potential. A nonprofit organization, MassChallenge is funded by corporate, public and foundation partners. To date, the 835 Mass- Challenge alumni have raised over $1.1 billion in funding, generated $520m. in revenue and created 6,500 jobs.


Brainnovations is a program that supports early stage start-ups and is the first program in Israel that encourages brain technology entrepreneurship. Brainnovations recently launched eight groups of entrepreneurs who are just starting out, all of whom have come up with promising and revolutionary ideas. The program monitors the process of formulating an initial idea and continues on to guide the entrepreneurs as they write a business plan.

Dozens of candidates applied for the Brainnovations program, and the participants underwent rigorous screening before being selected.

Participants receive comprehensive training and support, as well as personal guidance from top mentors from Israel and abroad.

The Brainnovations program was founded by IBT (Israel Brain Technologies), a nonprofit organization whose goal is to jump-start the brain technology industry in Israel and to turn Israel into a world leader in this field. This program was made possible due to the generosity of Ohad Shaked, a controlling shareholder in private equity fund 888.

“A number of start-up acceleration programs exist in Israel, but this program was designed especially for the life sciences sector, and it is the only one that specializes in brain technology,” says Miri Polachek, CEO of IBT. “Startups in life sciences are faced with many different challenges, and the field of neuroscience is particularly challenging. Over 2 billion people in the world suffer from brain disorders and doctors, patients and families are desperate to find solutions.

Our hope is that Brainnovations will help us bring forth brilliant ideas that in time can become a reality. We are so excited about the enormous potential that exists within these entrepreneurs, and we thank all of our partners who’ve helped us get this important program off the ground.”

If you run a young start-up, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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