- Boston-based startup business accelerator MassChallenge announced it will expand its program to downtown Houston.
- The accelerator will support up to 25 early-stage startups — those that have raised less than $500,000 in equity-based funding and generated less than $1 million in revenue over the last year — through a zero-equity, six-week boot camp this summer. The program includes in-person training, mentoring, community connections and virtual classes.
- MassChallenge Texas launched in Austin last year and Houston will be its second location. MassChallenge's only other U.S. presence besides Boston is in Rhode Island, which also launched last year.
MassChallenge has gained a solid reputation and ranks among the top 10 accelerators in the country in terms of the number of startups it has supported with its program. The Houston Chronicle reports that MassChallenge will fill 5,000 square feet of space thanks to a five-year, $2.5 million economic development grant from the Downtown Redevelopment Authority. It must meet milestones each year and provide data showing growth the keep the funding.
The program is known for being selective, noting on its website that it targets "high potential startups across all industries." Data shows that startups that went through the program have a higher rate of success with securing funding and hiring additional employees.
Government and business leaders in Houston reportedly courted MassChallenge to advance their efforts to create an innovation hub within the city. Mayor Sylvester Turner has spoken about Houston transitioning to a tech center yet ensuring the city keeps its own unique flavor, referring to it as "Silicon Bayou." He also helped move forward the city's innovation district.
Turner told Smart Cities Dive last year that Houston's diversity sets it apart from other cities trying to advance their status in the growing and increasingly competitive tech market. Landing MassChallenge has the potential to make Houston stand out even more and could, by association, draw other startups to the city.