MassChallenge Texas Launches with Plans to Work With up to 100 Startups

MassChallenge, a global network of network of startup accelerators, announced Wednesday plans to launch its new program in the Austin and San Antonio region.

The Austin-based nonprofit accelerator will work with up to 100 startups that will compete for up to $500,000 in equity-free cash awards.

The MassChallenge Texas accelerator program is “supported by a public-private partnership that includes founding corporate partners Southwest Airlines, USAA, and Upstream Thinking,” according to a news release

MassChallenge also has other programs in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Mike Millard will serve as managing director of MassChallenge Texas. He has previously held senior positions at Ascension, Austin Ventures, and AT&T Knowledge Ventures. And he is the founder and CEO of Pitch-a-Kid, an Austin-based event series that connects startups to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The MassChallenge Texas accelerator is targeting the healthcare, clean energy, hardware and manufacturing, biotech, consumer tech and social impact industries.

MassChallenge Texas founding partners include Southwest Airlines, USAA, and Upstream Thinking. Its board of advisors include Bob Metcalfe, professor of innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, Heather Figallo with Southwest Airlines, Zachary Gipson with USAA, Larry Peterson with the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities and Pike Powers with the Pike Powers Group.

“Today’s news that MassChallenge is opening an Austin office makes us an even better home for innovation. This is good news for Austin and it’s great news for our local innovators,” Mayor Steve Adler, City of Austin said in a news release.

“We see a familiar innovative spirit and unique vision in MassChallenge and Southwest is excited to give some lift to its future success,” Heather Figallo, Senior Director, Innovation & Labs at Southwest Airlines, said in a news release. “MassChallenge is a great example of the type of organization we want to support as we work across the United States to set up future innovative companies for success, growth and –like Southwest–opportunities to change the world one innovation at a time.”

“In collaboration with public and private partners across the state, MassChallenge Texas will further activate the region’s innovation ecosystem to attract and support the world’s best startups,” Scott Bailey, Executive Director of North America at MassChallenge, said in a news release. “We believe that Texas is a global destination for entrepreneurs, and we’re excited to help bring the innovation community together to help support entrepreneurs, create jobs, and drive growth.”

MassChallenge Texas is hosting a launch event on Oct. 16th at the Bob Bullock Museum.

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