U.S. Early Stage

The U.S. Early Stage program is a mentor-based program that provides intensive resources and guidance to founders to support startup business acceleration. Operating on an annual cycle, this is a 4-month industry agnostic program for startups that range from beginning customer discover to validating technology or services.

In order to be selected for this program startups go through two rounds of evaluation by subject matter experts external to the MassChallenge organization who volunteer their time. The focus of this program is to increase a startup’s likelihood of survival and readiness for the market place.

Get to know MassChallenge and our team at an upcoming Meet MassChallenge event.
Learn more about our US office locations  here.  


“I learned so much in that four-month period. I was able to greatly build upon my business acumen, increase my confidence to sit at the bigger tables and have access to those nuanced cheat codes that are more available to the typical white cis-male entrepreneur. It was a game-changing experience for me.”

Janice Omadeke, Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method.


  • Unrivaled access to 40+ global corporate partners including BAE Systems, Carta, First Republic Bank, Fundify, IBM, and more
  • World-class mentoring from 400+ experts and tailored programming provided with no equity taken in return 
  • The opportunity to compete for non-dilutive cash prizes and other in-kind awards 
  • United States-specific advice on regulations and tax, easy access to the international markets, and strong trade links 
  • A proven model that has helped more than 65% of finalists raise funds during or immediately after the program 
  • Participation in location-based market access program 
  • Residency opportunities by location 

Find more information and answers to frequently asked questions here

Key Dates



What to Expect

Accepted startups will significant opportunities for growth, mentorship, community, and new market access. The accelerator begins with a two-day kick off orientation.

Day 1: The MassChallenge Program Delivery team will provide a welcome and overview of the program and set expectations 

Day 2:  Enterprise organizations, aka MassChallenge ‘Partners’ seeking technologies to provide introductions and reverse pitches that includes details on how to engage and specific technical solutions, challenges they are interested in identifying 

Following orientation, founders can expect the following structure:

  • A core curriculum & seminars
  • Custom 1:1 mentorship
  • Startup Pods
  • Investor Office Hours
  • Collider Events & Startup Showcase
  • Partner Spotlights
  • Market Access programming
  • Optional: Residency in a local market

Industry Tracks

Operating within the MassChallenge Early Stage program, Industry Tracks leverage MassChallenge’s infrastructure to surface and connect select early-stage startups to specialized resources and curriculum. Startups interested in participating will be invited to apply to specific tracks upon their acceptance into the EarlyStage program. Startups DO NOT need to be in any of these industries to apply to MassChallenge. Industry Tracks are simply an option.

Early Stage tracks in 2023 will be:  

Safety & Security: Startups with a direct or potential relevance to national security and public safety challenges, also known as “dual-use” application in the commercial and governmental/defense sectors. 

HealthTech: Startups that meaningfully give clinicians and healthcare organizations new treatments, new technologies or new processes they need to focus more on the needs of their patients and to help people improve their lives. 

Climate Solutions: Startups with technologies that impact GHG emissions and similar climate challenges. 

Social Impact: Startups that are creating a positive social or societal outcome. 


"If you asked me in 2016 if I thought that NASA would be one of our bigger funders or partners, the answer would have been no. Not because I could not imagine it, but because there was no direct path to doing any of that research.”
Dr. Nicole Wagner, President and CEO

"Our mentors really pushed us to take the next step with our company. As MassChallenge grows, they have a bigger and bigger network that we can leverage. Making that step and seeing the impact our product had was incredible." 

Erin Keaney, COO of Nonspec, Boston Cohort 2017 


“Startups in our U.S. Earl Stage accelerators represent innovation at its core. From addressing mental health, to electric vehicles, and new ways to pay for education, MassChallenge entrepreneurs will greatly impact how we effectively and efficiently address global challenges. Every incoming cohort never ceases to amaze me with their ingenuity and commitment to leverage the intersection of business and technology and create sustainable change.”

Cait Brumme, CEO of MassChallenge 

Early Stage Partners

You can find more information on Partner Benefits here.



Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements in our FAQ.





Our mission is to equip bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change.