MassChallenge Texas Announces 2020 Cohort, Goes Virtual

Ellen Glover
June 4, 2020
MassChallenge Texas announced its 2020 cohort, the program will be held virtually
Photo: Shutterstock

MassChallenge Texas, the local branch of the global network, has announced the 58 startups that have been selected to participate in its 2020 accelerator program, at least 17 of which are based in Austin.

This year’s class comprises startups from five countries and 15 states total. Ordinarily all the participants would move to Austin to take part in the four-month program, which includes access to mentors, investors and corporate partners, networking events and training opportunities. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s accelerator will take place virtually. MassChallenge says there’s a chance it will transition to a hybrid of digital and in-person programming if and when it feels safe to do so.

Like every year though, MassChallenge is offering equity-free cash prizes at the end of the session. This year it will offer up to $750,000, according to Austin Inno. The startups will also participate in a public showcase, which will be held virtually on July 16 and 17.

The 2020 cohort is made up of companies focusing on everything from clean energy to retail to social impact. Plus, 65 percent are founded by women. This year, MassChallenge also added a new safety and security track for startups centered around national defense and public safety. The companies selected to be in this sub-cohort will receive specialized content and connections to prepare them specifically for this industry.

“Today’s entrepreneurs will have a fundamental impact on how efficiently the world recovers from the current economic crisis, and the game-changing startups in this year’s Austin-based cohort are poised to do just that,” Mike Millard, MassChallenge Texas managing director, said in a statement. “I am incredibly impressed by the founders’ abilities to navigate their businesses through the coronavirus crisis, leveraging the intersection of business and technology to create solutions across agriculture, internet of things, medical devices, manufacturing, and more. These startups have a place helping large organizations recalibrate as they adapt to the new digital-first world. They will pave the way for economic development by getting companies back online, creating jobs, and generating wealth.”

MassChallenge also hosts accelerator programs in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island and Switzerland. The organization claims to have more than 2,400 alumni startups that have raised more than $6.2 billion in funding, generating more than $3 billion in revenue and creating more than 150,000 jobs.

The members of the 2020 class that Built In has verified as Austin-based are listed below. Descriptions were provided by MassChallenge Texas but have been edited for length and clarity:

  1. At Ease Rentals: Similar to Airbnb but for the military, this platform guarantees all listings will meet federal lodging requirements and ensures federal employees can receive reimbursements.

  2. Power Polymer: A company that protects lives, minimizes economic loss, and creates revitalization and sustainability in complex multi-hazards environments.

  3. Renzoe Box: A smart beauty platform, streamlining the daily beauty experience to help women put their best face forward.

  4. The Etho: An online marketplace for highly curated, ethically made goods from international artisans and high-end designers.

  5. Brazen: A women’s health company building precision medicine for periods.

  6. EM Device Lab: This company is reinventing abscess treatment with the Quickloop device. Quickloop cuts the procedure failure rate in half, is less painful, and eliminates follow-up visits.

  7. TeVido BioDevices: A company that processes patient’s own skin cells to restore lost skin color caused by scars & disease.

  8. CSS Worldwide: A workplace safety analytics company that uses sensing technology to identify safety issues before they become costly accidents.

  9. DanceFight: A mobile competition platform. Record yourself dancing to a song, challenge a friend, and let the world determine a winner.

  10. HackNotice: Helps users find out when hackers steal their data or leak their identity.

  11. Hauoli: A novel motion tracking technology using acoustic signals to revolutionize user interface.

  12. Muxy: An Emmy-winning software startup focused on making live video an interactive experience for viewers and the broadcasters.

  13. TWO12: A private stock market for every startup.

  14. Vybe Software: A company that launched Leia, an app that leverages AI to build custom, beautiful, responsive websites in under 60 seconds for any business.

  15. Weeve: A company that helps leaders build happier and higher-performing teams with an empathetic AI chatbot platform to help organizations identify and solve employee issues 18x faster.

  16. Writer Duet: A real-time collaborative platform for writers, filmmakers, game developers and other creative teams.

  17. Merivis: A non-profit, volunteer-driven veterans’ service organization that focuses on preparing veterans for a career in Salesforce technology, through training, mentorship, and job-readiness guidance.

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