MassChallenge Launches 2021 Call for Mexican StartupsBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Wed, 04/07/2021 - 18:52
Startup accelerator MassChallenge announced the start of its 2021 edition in Mexico, reported Entrepreneur. The company called on all entrepreneurs to apply to its highly competitive program. Selected startups will enter a four-month accelerator program that MIT valued at US$50,000, accessing investment opportunities up to US$100,000 and mentorship from the company’s high-level experts and entrepreneurs. Winners will also be able to engage with MassChallenge Mexico’s (MCMX) corporate partners and receive a tailored curriculum containing workshops, roundtables and industry tracks, reads MassChallenge’s website, where interested startups can apply.
Camila Lecaros, Managing Director at MassChallenge Mexico, states that the company is the most startup-friendly accelerator in the world, as it does not demand equity and does everything in its power to help startups succeed. “Since opening our offices in Mexico in 2016, we have accelerated 102 startups and raised more than US$47 million. One of the essential aspects of our program is selected. We look for startups across Latin America through a two-phase process. First, there is an online application where experts from all around the world judge the potential of the startup,” she told MBN in an interview. This year, the judging stage will take place between April and June 2021, with finalists being announced on July 1, 2021. If judges are convinced, the startup wins a spot at the acceleration program, where they are assigned a mentor to help them with industry-specific knowledge, which will go from July to October 2021.
Former winners include Genómica Médica, a Mexican laboratory that provides personalized medicine. “We participated in an innovation and development program at MassChallenge, where 730 companies initially participated and 39 moved on to the next stages. We progressed and eventually won. These acceleration processes have changed our product and how we get closer to our customers, which is our key to being increasingly successful,” Gerardo Jiménez-Sánchez, Founder of Genómica Médicaul, told MBN in an interview.
Accelerators like MassChallenge aim to help startups in many sectors address hurdles specific to every industry, through programs tailored to their sector. For example, Lecaros explains that the health sector is unique because there is a lot of regulation. “To sell a product or service you need a lot of permits and acquiring these is a lengthy and tedious process. With medical trials, it can take four to five years before you see whether you have something valuable for the market,” Lecaros told MBN. Sadly, these long periods can cause problems to small startups, which might be unable to have ready access to funding. “I do not think Mexico has the ecosystem yet for health startups. There are relatively few funds. Those in the health area that do have investors, tend to have only a few,” she added.