MassChallenge’s Founder Advises Start-Ups to Focus Their Public Relations Efforts (video)

MassChallenge's 2012 Launch Notes - displayed proudly on its walls (credit given to Collective Next and IdeaPaint). Photo via

Akhil Nigam, founder of MassChallenge (MC), the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition, has a lot to say about how public relations plays into the success of  early stage companies (view related press release here).  MassChallenge is the first program of its kind to support entrepreneurs with no strings attached.  As part of its 3-month accelerator program, MC competition winners enjoy free public relations and legal counsel, training/networking events, and a robust mentorship program.  At the end of the three months, a final competition results in 10 to 20 winners who will share $1,000,000 in cash awards.

Akhil and MC also know a thing or two about how to run a successful public relations program of their own. It’s an organization that walks the talk. In the last month alone, for example, MC was featured in leading publications Forbes (“MassChallenge: A Colossal Startup Accelerator That’s 100% Free”) and The Boston Globe (“Start-ups compete for $1m in prizes”).

Akhil recently graciously agreed to talk public relations at MassChallenge’s office in Boston’s Innovation district (an area that quite literally knows no bounds). Immediately upon exiting the elevator on the 14th floor of One Marina Drive, you enter MC’s world. The space – glass floor to wall windows overlooking Boston harbor, an industrial-feeling open floor plan, the genius Ideapaint covering its walls– reflects the energy of the program and its entrepreneurs.

This video is the first of two parts. In part 1 (below), Akhil talks about how Mass Challenge leverages the power of its TV channel to communicate with key stakeholders – entrepreneurs, private investors, its partners and the city of Boston. Akhil also explains why Mass Challenge added PR support to its portfolio of entrepreneurial services, and imparts what he considers the best ways for companies to earn media coverage.

Stay tuned for part 2, when Akhil talks about MC’s happy hour party at SXSW (hosted by Bing and Mass Challenge sponsor Microsoft) and concludes with a significant piece of public relations advice for entrepreneurs.

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