For Immediate Release - March 07, 2011

Administration Launches 2011 MassChallenge Start-Up Competition

TelePresence connects Cisco's Israeli & Boston sites during first day of Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Economy Partnership Mission

NETANYA, ISRAEL/BOSTON, MA - Monday, March 7, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined the founders of MassChallenge to announce round two of the world's largest global start-up competition that, in 2010 alone, supported 111 startups, created 300 new jobs and raised $30 million in outside funding. During a TelePresence event connecting Cisco's Israeli and Boston sites on the first day of the Governor's Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Economy Partnership Mission, the Administration pledged $1 million over the next four years to the innovative program.

"It is fitting that we are connecting the world's two leading innovation economies today in real-time to announce the second phase of this thrilling initiative," said Governor Patrick. "MassChallenge is an open invitation for the world's highest-impact, highest-potential startups to grow their ideas in Massachusetts. Based on what we've seen today and what we know about entrepreneurs here, we expect to see some very impressive proposals from Israeli startups."

"MassChallenge has been recognized by President Obama, and for good reason," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "In just over a year, the program has cultivated real talent - turning their extraordinary vision into reality and, along the way, creating jobs, attracting private investment and securing the Commonwealth's spot as a hub for innovation."

In January, MassChallenge was invited by President Obama to be an inaugural member of the Startup America Partnership, a public-private partnership that will encourage entrepreneurs from across the country to accelerate high-growth and innovative business development.

With today's announcement, the 2011 MassChallenge Startup Competition and Accelerator is now officially accepting applications from any startup entrepreneur anywhere in the world. In addition to the state's support, the program has secured more than $1 million in commitments from last year's sponsors, including the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Deshpande Foundation, Josh Boger and Microsoft, as well as new contributors such as Johnson & Johnson's Corporate Office of Science and Technology and Foley & Lardner.

In year one, MassChallenge provided finalists with over 5,000 hours of world-class mentorship, 22,000 square feet of Class A office space on Boston's waterfront and an abundance of training and office hours. The program is enhancing its services in year two, including appointing a Chief Mentorship Officer; incorporating an investor-in-residence program to increase connectivity between startups and funding sources; launching active focus areas in high tech, life sciences and other areas to allow for targeted training and events by sector; and actively engaging partners around the globe to engage an even more diverse set of startups and supporters.

John Harthorne, CEO and Co-Founder of MassChallenge, said, "Massachusetts is the strongest innovation ecosystem in the United States. Blessed with 100+ universities, Massachusetts has more venture investors per capita than any other state, more high-tech firms and more knowledge firms per capita than any other state, and boasts the best educated workforce in the country. Israel is one of very few places in the world that compares favorably to Massachusetts on all these metrics. Fostering even greater collaboration between Israel and Massachusetts represents a huge opportunity to accelerate growth and job creation in both regions and to help speed the pace at which top innovators address the world's most significant opportunities. MassChallenge is extremely proud to support this expanded partnership and we are looking forward to supporting Israel's best innovators alongside those from elsewhere in the world as part of the 2011 MassChallenge Competition and Accelerator."

"It was a real privilege for us to be able to participate in the MassChallenge competition this past year. The contest gave us access to unparalleled resources, from outstanding mentors to office space to start-up training---a unique combination that's made a world of difference for our company," said Brian Freeman, Chief Operating Officer, Energesis Pharmaceuticals.

"Cisco is proud to have hosted Governor Patrick's virtual meeting today between Israel, Boston, and San Jose using our transformational TelePresence technology that enables people from around the globe to virtually sit at the same table to meet in real time. The commitment to strong global support of the Massachusetts innovation and entrepreneurial engine expressed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor Murray, the MassChallenge leadership, and Cisco SVP & Chief Strategy Officer Ned Hooper will continue to drive our regional economic success," said Cisco's Paul Bosco, VP & Site Executive - New England Development Center.

Ultimately, a dozen or more winners will receive cash awards of $50,000 - $100,000 toward launching their high-impact businesses. These MassChallenge grants will be awarded to winners at the Final Ceremony on October 20, 2011. To enter, visit www.masschallenge.org as early as possible in order to maximize associated benefits. The deadline for entrant submissions is April 11, 2011 and there are discounts available for early entry via partner organizations -- see www.masschallenge.org for details.

Governor Patrick announced round two of MassChallenge on the first day of an innovation mission that will take a coalition of the state's leading business and government officials to Israel and the United Kingdom in order to explore opportunities for job growth and collaboration within the Commonwealth's innovation-based industries. Earlier in the day, the Governor received a briefing from top embassy officials in Tel Aviv, and met with Israel's Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson, at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. For more information and to receive updates over the course of the 10-day mission, please visit www.mass.gov/governor/innovationmission.

###

Follow us on Twitter - View our - Watch our Videos