It’s opening day for the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator, and the program didn’t waste the moment in the spotlight: Patriots owner Bob Kraft joined in the celebrations and announced he was helping the program expand to Israel and beyond.
Far beyond, in fact: MassChallenge now has a partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to take a start-up (or at least its experiments and products) to space aboard the International Space Station National Laboratory. CASIS is also offering a new $100,000 prize for the start-up that it thinks can best utilize the “unique microgravity environment and vantage point of the ISS to develop intellectual property and/or applications.”
The big news, however, was the expansion of MassChallenge to Israel, funded by a four-year commitment from Kraft to replicate the program, still under the MassChallenge banner, overseas.
The program will tap “expert partners to identify the most promising Israeli startups and help them access key customers and resources in the U.S. market via a specialized program within the MassChallenge accelerator,” according to a release.
“In three decades of doing business in Israel, I’ve come to appreciate the strength of its innovation economy,” Kraft said.
Kraft signed the MassChallenge whiteboard wall after the announcement:
MassChallenge also announced strategic partnerships in Colombia, Mexico, and the Russian Federation, to bring entrepreneurs from those areas to work and meet local resources, investors, and talent.