MassChallenge names top 26 startups

MassChallenge finalists have been practicing their business pitches for months, and now the top 26 have a chance to pitch for a total of $1.5 million in prize money.
MassChallenge finalists have been practicing their business pitches for months, and now the top 26 have a chance to pitch for a total of $1.5 million in prize money.
Callum Borchers

MassChallenge on Tuesday named the 26 companies who will get a shot at $1.5 million in prize money to be handed out at the startup accelerator’s awards ceremony Oct. 30.

The young businesses represent the best among 1,200 applicants, which were whittled down to the class of 128 finalists nearing completion of an intensive four-month program that includes workshops and networking opportunities to help them get off the ground. The finalists hail from a dozen countries and have been working side-by-side at MassChallenge headquarters in South Boston since June.

Between now and the end of the month, the top 26 will make 15-minute pitches before a judging panel that includes Kayak cofounder Paul English and BJ’s Wholesale Club president Laura Sen. The judges will pick 10 to 20 winners to receive $50,000 to $100,000 during the awards ceremony at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

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“These 26 startups embody the quality and enormous collective impact of entrepreneurs participating in this year’s accelerator,” MassChallenge chief executive John Harthorne said in a statement. “We are immensely proud of them, and of all of the 128 global finalists, for the tremendous progress they’ve made during the 2013 program and the milestones they’re poised to achieve in the future.”

In addition to $1 million to be given by MassChallenge itself, there is another $475,000 at stake from outside groups. The Center for Advancement of Science in Space will reward top science startups with a total of $400,000 and a chance to work at the International Space Station National Laboratory. The John W. Henry Family Foundation will give $50,000 to startups making major social impacts, and the Perkins School for the Blind will award $25,000 to companies whose work could improve the lives of people with disabilities.