MassChallenge, a nonprofit accelerator program, is getting bigger and covering more of the world. The Boston-based program on Wednesday announced 218 companies are global finalists for the 2015 accelerators in its home city and London, a branch of the operation that opened in February.
Most of those startups—128, to be exact—are heading to Boston to participate, while 90 are off to London. Twelve of the companies are a part of MassChallenge’s third branch in Israel, which just hired a new managing director for those operations, Israel Ganot, founder of electronics trade-in site Gazelle.
Even as MassChallenge grows internationally, its breadth of coverage of the U.S. seems to remain largely focused on the Northeast. Only seven of the 104 U.S. companies selected as finalists came from cities outside of the region, including one from Wisconsin, Dock Technologies. Another Wisconsin company, ConsortiEX, graduated from the program last year.
Almost 36 percent of the companies (a list can be found on MassChallenge’s website) are concentrated largely in high tech, especially with a focus on hardware and Internet and Web services. Another 19 percent are in healthcare and life sciences, which have historically been strong areas for MassChallenge.
Finalists have raised $947 million in funds since the program began in 2010 and created more than 5,000 jobs, MassChallenge says. Unlike most other startup accelerators, MassChallenge does not take equity in the companies it hosts.
MassChallenge offers office space, mentorship, and prizes backed by public and private money. The 2014 winners—which includes a company that took home the most prize money ever, SQZ Biotech—can be found here.