MassChallenge, a leading startup accelerator, has officially opened applications for its first annual programme in London, MassChallenge UK.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials gathered to celebrate the programme’s launch at the programmes’ new home at Tobacco Dock in East London.

Tobacco Dock London
MassChallenge has opened its doors to startups in London's Tobacco Dock. Image credit: Flickr/Jamesup

MassChallenge UK is a startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs without taking any equity. Around 60-80 startups will participate in a four-month programme and compete for £500,000 in non-dilutive grants. MassChallenge UK provides entrepreneurs with free mentorship, office space, in-kind products and services, and access to a global network.

MassChallenge UK is supported by 10 Downing Street and Tech City UK, and is sponsored by RBS, Unilever, Visa Europe and others. Applications for the programme are open until 1 April and the accelerator programme itself takes place from June to October.

MassChallenge CEO John Harthorne said: “Thanks to the support of hundreds of entrepreneurs and partners, MassChallenge UK is well positioned to provide startups equity-free access to the resources they need to launch in London and grow globally.”

The accelerator is built on the MassChallenge model developed in Boston, US. The 617 startups that have completed MassChallenge Boston since its first programme in 2010, are said to have raised over $700 million (£437 million) in funding, generated $400 million in revenue and created over 4,800 jobs.

Patrick Donovan, the managing director of Tobacco Dock, said: “MassChallenge is set to grow into Europe’s most successful and high profile business accelerator programme. The Dock is supporting MassChallenge because we believe that the programme will be a huge success in the UK and Europe, and will be the perfect partner in developing our vision for the Dock as London’s most iconic co-working space.”