MassChallenge Accelerator Program

Project Type:
Boston, Massachusetts

A Django app to manage mentoring and judging for hundreds of startups

MassChallenge Accelerator Program

Since 2010, MassChallenge has helped early stage entrepreneurs through their annual global accelerator program. Every year this non-profit organization holds a startup competition in which over 1,000 aspiring companies from around the world vie for $1,000,000 in cash awards with no strings attached. The 125 finalists participate in a 4 month startup accelerator that provides mentoring, training, legal advice, and an exciting, supportive community in 27,000 square feet of office space overlooking the Boston waterfront.

The final round of judging to select 10-20 winners from the 125 finalists is held at the end of September. For the 2012 final round judging, MassChallenge engaged Jazkarta to create a Django application that would support their online judging process. Their prior application had outlived its useful life and MassChallenge decided to try out the Python platform. Creating a production application that would support 100 judges giving feedback and voting on pitches from 125 companies within a short development cycle was a test both of Django and of Jazkarta's agile development process.

Both passed with flying colors. The new judging application worked without a hitch, and its performance was much better than the prior app. It was easy to integrate a clean, responsive Twitter Bootstrap design, and django-registration let us get the system users up and running quickly. The MassChallenge project owner loved working with Jazkarta's top notch developers - he participated actively in the development process, providing needed feedback at every standup meeting and learning Django tips and tricks along the way. Building on our success, in 2013 we extended the system to run the entire application, mentoring, and judging process for the accelerator program, including integration with the CRM. MassChallenge has continued to expand and now has programs in Israel and the UK in addition to Boston. In 2014-2015 we added support for multiple programs, new payment options, and upgraded their AWS deployment stack to use our OpsWorks recipes.