Launched: 2010

Based: Boston MA

MassChallenge is the world’s largest startup accelerator and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strings attached. Over $1 million in cash prizes is awarded to winning startups, with zero equity taken. Additional benefits for startups include world-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, media attention, and over $10 million of in-kind support. MassChallenge is a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit. All proceeds support the startups via the accelerator program. MassChallenge does not take equity or place any restrictions on participating startups.

Founders

  • John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam

While the founders were passionate and dedicated to their mission of empowering start-ups, BRANDING, MARKETING and MEDIA were the last things on their minds.  So even with great stories to tell, MassChallenge simply didn’t know how to tell them to a larger audience.  Media outreach was limited to bloggers and individuals in their own ecosystem.  In fact, MassChallenge depended on bloggers to do much of their marketing work for them.  They were unaware of how to tell the public and get the news out about their innovative and unique new venture.

Jodi pitched herself to MassChallenge as someone who could connect the company with a broad spectrum of local, national and international media. Leveraging these relationships, she insisted, would increase both visibility and opportunities. Jodi began working on their behalf before the first accelerator launched in 2010.

Jodi immediately set out to create the content necessary to help properly tell the story (and stories) of MassChallenge. That meant building a library of videos, still photographs (75,000 taken with-in 3 years) and interviews.  At the same time, Jodi was educating the young company’s leadership on how to present themselves in public, and how to gain traction in the mainstream media.

Once the La Capoise team created the content, and engaged Jodi’s media community: the contacts she had built up over two decades in business, journalism and politics. That meant pitching stories, and starting a dialogue with journalists. The goal here was to find out what their interests were, what stories they loved to tell and letting them know about the great content MassChallenge had available for them to utilize. Jodi produced/vetted the story lines with the producers, editors and reporters as well as scheduled interviews with the key players.

All along, she worked with the leaders at MassChallenge: educating them on the purpose of the media, teaching them how to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups and—most importantly–how to leverage the media for their own benefit.

Beginning in October of 2010, after the first awards ceremony at MassChallenge, the company was the subject of articles in two major local newspapers: The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald.  However, it was between 14 and 16 months when all that hard work began to pay off.  That’s when we really gained traction with the media, and when the company was being covered by international publications such as The Economist and Forbes.

As of Spring, 2013, MassChallenge had appeared in:

  • TV: 189 featured pieces/expert interviews
  • Radio: 372 featured interviews/expert pieces
  • Print: 1456 featured articles
  • Online: 6000+ featured/mentioned

It is this EXPOSURE that has helped create these OPPORTUNITIES:

  • 362 startups since 2010
  • 360 million dollars in funding raised
  • 95 million dollars in revenue generated
  • over 3,000 jobs created.

MassChallenge has the contacts and solid media relationships necessary for a growing and thriving company. When there is a story to tell, the leadership knows who to reach out to and vice versa, journalists know who to contact at MassChallenge when in need of a great story or just a quote for an article or broadcast.

It is these relationships MassChallenge can now leverage for itself, so their story will continue to be told…and new opportunities will continue to present themselves.