7 Stages of Applying to MassChallenge

Dear MassChallenge Finalist,

It has been an intense few weeks for the startups that made it all the way from applying to MassChallenge and going through round 2, to finally becoming MassChallenge 2016 Global Finalists.

Here’s what we imagine what our Finalists went through to make it to the 2016 accelerator program:

Application Anxiety

This cycle, MassChallenge received more than 2300 applications worldwide from some revolutionary startups. Every application had a story behind it and each story was different in the way it was written and the experiences it exhibited.

However, one thing every startup has in common is what we call application anxiety. Application anxiety is the point where you realize that the most time you have spent in the application was on questioning yourself if you are ready to click submit.

You probably had those frustrating midnight calls with your co-founder overthinking a sentence, phrase or a quotation mark you typed in. There might have also been a point you questioned yourself “What are we doing!?”

Realize the Wait is Real

Of course after you finally submit the application you get nightmares of typos and missing punctuations. The anxiety continues and grows as you do the hardest thing, wait. It seems like a throwback to your college application process when you refreshed your email every hour of the day to check if the universe heard you.

We got some restless phone calls back in the office as startups urged to get updates on their progress. Waiting for that Round 2 notification or rejection is one of the many patience tests you’ll encounter as an entrepreneur.

Get the Feeling of Awesomeness

The day arrives when you least expect it and as an applicant you check the email congratulating you for getting the chance to pitch in round 2! Then it is like a chain reaction of very excited faces as you share the news with your team and loved ones. Embracing the fact that you get to pitch in front of some of the best names in the industry you decide to suit up and make it your best pitch ever!

Enter the Zone of Preparation

With a couple of weeks in hand it would look as if your team seems to have gone into hiding. In the words of the tech world, you have wired into everything that will help you score an excellent Round 2.

Schedules are cleared and full day team meetings make their way onto your calendar. There are meetings and practice pitch sessions with people in your network and probably strangers during an UberPool ride. All coming down to that one day when you have to prove your credibility and perseverance as an early stage business.

Networking Game is on Point

There is a well known rule in business, “it is not what you know, it is who you know.” As an early stage business you are always on the looking for a new opportunity and when it comes knocking on your door put your best game on. Semi finalists come to MassChallenge during the preparation period for workshops like “Pitch Perfect” where we have our top alumni give entrepreneurs a close look at their pitches with a live round of judging.

Events like these will help you as an entrepreneur to meet the judges themselves and show their enthusiasm for the opportunity you have at hand. It also gives you a taste of the MassChallenge Accelerator experience, which only makes you more nervous and excited.

Pitch Day is like Proposal Day

A MassChallenge pitch is not just about your business model and go to market strategy; it’s also about the credibility of your company and the impact you aim to create. So as much are you are convincing the judges about your business, you are equally convincing them about yourself.

At some point during the pitch you might just question yourself if this is a pitch or a proposal?

Results Restlessness

After another anxious round of ‘waiting,’ May 19th 2016 came as the D-Day for you. These intense few weeks would have hopefully got you the result you were looking for.

We bet that your reaction is more like a long sigh of relief followed by high fives with the team and a night of ultimate beer pong. As the sun shines bright the the next morning you’ll wake up with the realization that you have got yourself into a four month long roller-coaster accelerator program.

Congrats to our 2016 Finalists! View the full list.

  • The MassChallenge Team

  • Manavi Datta, MassChallenge Marketing & Social Media

Originally published at masschallenge.org.

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