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Contxto – The wait is finally over! Yesterday (18), MassChallenge Mexico announced the startups that will join its 2020 accelerator cohort. Over 30 applicants have been chosen and will participate in its four-month program.
During the live webinar announcement, Contxto’s Lead Editor, Alex González Ormerod, (virtually) joined the MassChallenge Mexico team led by Camila Lecaros to talk about startup and industry trends. And of course, how Covid-19 is changing the way accelerators operate.
What’s new, MassChallenge?
2020 will be a memorable year for MassChallenge for many reasons. Interestingly, it had launched its call for submissions on March 3, just a few days after the first case of coronavirus in Mexico popped up.
Covid-19 has led the accelerator to shift how its team interacts with audiences. That of course comes with its perks and drawbacks.
“It’s interesting because you have a more global reach” mused Camila Lecaros. “Because as MassChallenge, we’re a global organization with offices in Boston, Rhode Island, Austin, Houston, Jerusalem. [And] we have more access to these mentors and judges that can offer a more global perspective and help these startups.”
Undoubtedly remote networking has become the new norm.
The accelerator was also forced to change from in-person events to webinars. That naturally comes with the advantage of tapping into a larger audience that expands beyond Mexico and Latin America.
The downside is that networking interactions and the strength of relationships are weakened.
Coronavirus also pushed the program into adopting a new format for rewarding startups in its cohort. Instead of cash prizes, MassChallenge will partner with venture capital funds who would follow-up with the cohort to invest in them.
The reps at MassChallenge also shared that for the first time, the program would be working with the entertainment industry. Specifically with Universal Music and its innovation division.
See? Startups aren’t the only ones expanding their horizons. Accelerators are also innovating.
What’s to come
Everyone wonders what a post-Covid world will be like. On that note, the MassChallenge team also shared some of its predictions as to future trends.
For the head of MassChallenge Mexico, investments towards startups will slow down. As a result, entrepreneurs will have to find ways to scale without external capital. This also bodes more partnerships between companies and startups.
Eric Cardena, the Community Director, is of a like mind. Furthermore, he believes that alliances between startups and corporations will lead to major disruption within ecosystems.
Meanwhile for Maria Fernandez, the accelerator’s Startup Success Manager, remote work will further push businesses towards the digital realm. And all this Covid-induced tech-embracing will lead to closing the digital gap.
MassChallenge Mexico 2020 by the numbers
Pandemic or not, MassChallenge was quite busy as it reviewed (literally) hundreds of startups for its program. Here’s a breakdown:
- Total number of applicants: 614
- Number of judges: 410
- Selected startups: 37, the majority (27) of which are from Mexico. Meanwhile, 3 are Chilean and 3 others are Colombian. Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Panama each will be represented in the cohort with one startup.
As far as industry trends go, a large share of the applicants belonged to the “high-tech” category. This classification encompasses fintechs, marketplaces, e-commerce, as well as enterprise software. In total, they accounted for 37.6 percent of applicants.
In second place were startups in retail or working with consumer goods at 35.5 percent. After which came healthcare and life sciences (10.7 percent), startups with a social impact (10.3 percent), and lastly energy/cleantech (5.9 percent).
Now without further ado, these are the startups chosen for MC’s 2020 cohort!
A company that provides tools for closing gender gaps in the workplace, based on measurement, technology, and consulting.
ALIS Algae Innovation Solutions (Mexico)
Designers of innovative bio-filters based on microalgae for the treatment of wastewater, filtration, and deterring industry pollution.
Works with vulnerable communities to design corporate gifts and customized projects using artisanal techniques.
Producers of healthy everyday foods derived from corn that taste delicious and have functional properties and nutritional values.
B2EAT Servicios Colaborativos (Mexico)
Platform that helps communities grow by supporting the creation of virtual kitchens and garnering a digital presence to local businesses with limited knowledge on the subject.
Creators of textile dyes grown from genetically modified microorganisms, which make it possible to reduce the toxic components of current dyes in the textile industry.
Platform that provides the technology required to produce and distribute sponsored content at a large scale.
It is an e-commerce platform that legitimately sells used smartphones.
An electronic signature SaaS platform that allows signing digital agreements for Latin America.
Comercializadora SmartFish (Mexico)
Pays fishers more to fish less, thus breaking the negative cycle of overexploitation of the oceans.
Corresponsales Digitales Imix (Colombia)
An omnichannel platform that connects financial institutions with local stores enabling the creation of financial services networks for financial inclusion.
ElegirSeguro.com (Puerto Rico)
An insurance brokerage platform powered by automated processes, robots, and licensed advisors to deliver all the insurance coverage the businesses need, online.
A solution that allows users to buy car insurance online, in three minutes without having to present any documents.
Retail analytics for brands based on people’s traffic of each commercial space.
This startup offers independent artists tools, like data analytics, to help their careers within the digital realm.
A financial education app and products for kids and teens to guide them in their first financial steps.
A B2B work platform focused on end-user experience for the home improvement industry.
La Comandanta (Mexico)
Promoters of Mexican creole foods made or harvested by small producers.
Liberet Corp. (Mexico)
A platform that serves the NON-on-demand food services market through digital solutions.
M de Maní (Mexico)
Creators and distributors of healthy, sugar-free, and preservative-free products using peanuts.
Map Tag (Mexico)
An intelligent logistic assistant for SMEs, that provides a route optimization system to make last-mile deliveries more efficient.
Helps restaurants attract customers at off-peak times with dynamic time-based discounts to generate more revenue.
Its online platform helps you connect with the best freight network.
A platform that connects professional mothers with companies willing to try new work schemes based on flexibility.
A cloud-like database that allows specialists, hospitals, and laboratories to store, interpret, and manage imaging remotely and at a low cost.
A one-stop platform for freight forwarders to optimize and digitize all partnering processes with other forwarders.
A social enterprise created to solve challenging healthcare problems in emerging markets through AI-based solutions
Designs, builds, and operates smart storage systems that reduce cost and improve the quality of electricity for industrial users.
Quiena Inversiones (Argentina)
An investment manager that enables users to invest globally with first class personal advice.
This biotech is focused on the development and commercialization of a biodegradable and carbon neutral biomaterial substitute.
Rayito de Luna (Mexico)
This startup develops eco-friendly personal care products by working with local independent producers.
Assistive technologies through which businesses can translate their websites into sign language simply by installing a plugin.
A sales automation SaaS platform that works with referral marketing for financial institutions.
A cashless credit line platform for supply chain farmers, aiming to financially empower and connect growers from around the world.
Combines math, video games, and teamwork into a unique and motivating experience for the classroom and at home.
Connects drivers who travel from one city to another with people who want to send a document, a package or merchandise to the same destination as the driver.
A collection logistics automation platform that helps companies measure and improve their Key Behavior Indicators.
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