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MassChallenge announces its Panel of Judges and Mentors for U.S. Early Stage 2023 Startups Program

Saydiburkhon Saydirasulov
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MassChallenge is an international non-profit startup accelerator that connects startups, experts, corporations, and communities with the ultimate goal of growing and transforming businesses and economies. Essentially, it is a global network bringing together innovators worldwide working on massive challenges. Since its inception, MassChallenge has supported over 2,400 startups and helped them raise a total of $6.2 billion in funding. These startups have generated more than $3 billion in revenue and created over 157,000 job opportunities in different business areas. With such impressive results, it is no wonder that MassChallenge is widely regarded as one of the most successful startup accelerators in the world. 

The MassChallenge US Early Stage 2023 Accelerator provides startups with a wide range of resources and assistance to aid them in launching their businesses. These resources include mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, access to investment capital, and connections to an expansive network of industry experts. The accelerator also provides startups with educational webinars, workshops, and other resources to promote their growth. Furthermore, they offer marketing and public relations support, as well as branding and design services.

MassChallenge adopts a competition-based approach to choose startups for its programs. Interested startups apply for the program they wish to join, and following the application submission, they go through one or two rounds of evaluations. At the end of these rounds, the most promising and high-impact startups are selected to participate in the program as finalists.

To ensure the success of its accelerator program, MassChallenge selects a group of experienced judges to evaluate and rank the startups’ presentations. Judges for the MassChallenge US Early Stage 2023 Accelerator are handpicked based on their experience and expertise in the startup industry. They are usually well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry experts who possess a profound understanding of the early-stage startup ecosystem. Additionally, judges are selected based on their ability to provide constructive feedback on the startups’ presentations and offer valuable insights into their business models. 

We’ve spoken with three experts serving as judges at MassChallenge for the U.S. Early Stage 2023 Startups Program who shared their insights on the art of judging. 

Saydiburkhon Saydirasulov is a business development professional with extensive experience in scaling software development services and revenue generation. He is currently serving as a business development executive and director of sales at Saydiburkhon played a crucial role in helping Jafton become the number one software development company in NYC and Miami. Saydiburkhon’s primary objectives are to identify new opportunities for growth, develop new partnerships, and expand a customer base for tech companies. His diverse experience in strategic sales, negotiation, and customer service makes him uniquely qualified to excel in this role. He has a proven track record in improving customer satisfaction and building long-term relationships with key stakeholders.

According to Saydiburkhon, prior to initiating a fundraising campaign, it is crucial to thoroughly assess your readiness and commitment to this endeavor. Raising funds is not merely a matter of financing your business, but also entails making significant commitments to investors, employees, and customers. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that you are prepared for the long-term implications of this decision.

Amy Molten is a healthcare professional with extensive experience in medicine, leadership, and innovation. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of our planet and its inhabitants through innovative approaches. Her experience in the startup ecosystem has honed her ability to navigate highly regulated industries, including digital health solutions. Amy is particularly interested in leveraging technology to improve public health and supporting ethical machine learning innovation in healthcare. She is dedicated to providing effective, compassionate, and patient-centered healthcare to all, irrespective of their ability to pay or insurance status. 

Amy Molten advises that when selecting co-founders, it is important to seek out partners who share similar values, yet possess different functional skills. To find excellent co-founders, it is necessary to network extensively and be willing to share your idea. From the outset, it is important to have frank and open discussions about roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone is comfortable with their assigned tasks.

Ala Solsvig Dewberry is a Product Line Manager at VMware, where she focuses on edge computing infrastructure, security, and modern applications. Prior to her current role, Ala has worked in various industries, such as cloud-native trading, application security, and enterprise open-source ticketing systems. In her previous position as the head of engineering operations and program management at SS&C Eze’s Eclipse platform, she managed a cloud-native trading and accounting platform for hedge funds. Before joining VMware, Ala held customer-facing roles at Veracode, a leader in application security, and Best Practical Solutions. Ala is also a subproject lead for Self Assessments in SIG Security in upstream Kubernetes. Ala holds a BA in Classics from Colby College and an MBA from Simmons University, where she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society that serves AACSB accredited business school programs.

Al suggests that in order to impress investors, it is important to focus on building a strong user base from the beginning, as substantial gains in marketplace popularity are more impressive than any other metric. Demonstrating a genuine marketplace need and interest in your platform through early traction can be a powerful tool in attracting potential investors.


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