MassChallenge - the Global Accelerator Program is Looking for 200 of the Most Innovative Startups in the CEE Region


MassChallenge, in collaboration with PKO Bank Polski and Foundation for Technology Entrepreneurship, are opening submissions from September 1st for the first ever Bridge to MassChallenge Warsaw program. MassChallenge is one of the largest startup accelerators in the world operating in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Mexico and Israel. The program is dedicated to ready-to-go-global startups from Central and Eastern Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe is one of the emerging startup ecosystems - not without a reason the biggest accelerators are increasingly looking at this part of Europe. Bridge to MassChallenge Warsaw – a competition for startups from CEE region, will be looking for promising ventures to support their international careers.

Applications will stay opened till October the 6th.

The program for mature startups

The program is dedicated to startups that are already somewhat established in the market: their products have been validated, they have market traction, and are ready to scale up their business. The only limits for participants are upper-limit thresholds - annual revenues not exceeding $ 2 million and equity based funding of not more than $ 1 million.

Acceleration process

Recruitment to the Bridge to MassChallenge Warsaw program will begin on September the 1st and will last until October the 6th. The organizers are aiming to attract applications from 200 interesting startups from the CEE region, out of which 25 will be selected. They will take part in a 4-day bootcamp in Warsaw. During the workshops, with support from top mentors from i.a. U.S. and Israel, participants will face challenges related to moving from early-stage startup to scale-up phase and verifying effectiveness of resources, that are indispensable in scaling a business.  The top 10 finalists will fly to Boston in February to participate in 4-days of workshops and meetings. In the U.S., entrepreneurs from Central and Eastern Europe will have a chance to participate in a series of meetings with representatives of global companies, world-class mentors, and business partners in order to verify their growth plans in practice.

Global accelerator

MassChallenge is one of the world's largest accelerator programs, with a rich history of helping startups achieve dynamics and growth. Over the seven years of its existence, 1 211 startups, that have gone through the intensive accelerator program, have raised over $ 2 billion in funding, generated revenue of $ 900 million, and created over 65,000 jobs.

In Central and Eastern Europe MassChallenge has partnered with PKO Bank Polski – thelargest bank in the region, and Foundation for Technology Entrepreneurship – the operator of MIT Enterprise Forum Poland. Additionally, program has teamed up with Impact CEE, allowing the participants to present their businesses during a Fintech’17 startup conference in December, in Katowice.

Bridge to MassChallenge Warsaw is supported also by a number of community partners from local startup ecosystems across CEE, i.a. StartupHub Poland, Estonian startup competition Ajujaht and Civitta, Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol, Bulgarian economic education organization JA Bulgaria, Hungarian fintech accelerator BNL Start Partners or Russian Yellow Rockets accelerator.

MassChallenge is one of the world's most recognizable startup accelerators. We want to take advantage of its potential, attract the best CEE startups to Poland and open opportunities for international expansion of the best ideas. PKO Bank Polski is the biggest bank in CEE and is also very keen on innovations. We hope that among startups that apply to the program we will find such with whom we will be able to establish direct cooperation - said Szymon Wałach, Director of the Retail Client Division at PKO Bank Polski.

Support from business leaders

Worldwide MassChallenge cooperates with major local and global companies such as IBM, P&G, and Microsoft. Because of this, it can offer startups solid support in the form of experienced mentors who introduce startups to the global business world.

- At Microsoft, we are constantly looking for startups with innovative solutions to partner with. The MassChallenge model leverages key strengths and expertise from the partners’ community to deliver value to all stakeholders in the ecosystem. When MassChallenge enters new markets, it creates a great opportunity for Microsoft and other corporate partners to get to know new ideas and to look more carefully into new businesses. We are looking forward to the impact of MassChallenge’s expansion in the CEE region. – says Cathy Wissink, director of Technology & Civic Innovation at Microsoft.

Many of MassChallenge alumni have grown to become market leaders.  Among them, FlyWire, whose founders started a company that processes payments on behalf of consumers. Five years after participating in MassChallenge, FlyWire operates in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, in more than 100 local currencies. It became the most popular way foreign students pay for studies at 800 educational institutions across six continents. Up to date the company has raised over 43.2 million USD.

Those interested in the recruitment process and an international career will find the details of the program at MassChallenge’s and Foundation’s websites.