Award Celebration
April 10, 2019


Challenge Sponsors

About the Challenge

The $200K Challenge is an annual start-up competition hosted by M2D2 focused on identifying and rewarding disruptive companies in the medical technology and biotechnology industries.

Every year we receive scores of entries from entrepreneurs worldwide. This year, up to 20 finalists will become eligible to win a share of our $200,000 purse of sponsor-provided, in-kind services. These services include lab and office space; engineering, product development, legal, regulatory, clinical, and business services. Past winners have been empowered to bring their innovations to life—and to market.  Watch last year's winning pitches.

We welcome innovations that address the full range of medical device challenges, and this year we're especially interested in ideas that can benefit from our association with the BARDA DRIVe initiative.

Key Challenge dates—Mark your Calendar!

Tuesday, January 8th: Application Opens

Tuesday, January 15th: Live Webinar: "All About the Challenge." Watch Archive.  

Thursday, January 18th: $25 app fee ends; regular fee of $50 begins

Wednesday, January 30th: Info session & Venture Capital Financing Event

Monday, February 18: Entries close

Wednesday, March 6th: Finalists Announced. See who they are!

Wednesday, March 13th: Finalists materials due

Wed. March 13th-Tues. 26th: Coaching sessions for finalists

Wednesday, March 27th: Finalist Pitch Competition

Wednesday, April 10th: Awards Ceremony.

2012-2019 Infographic

(click to enlarge)

About M2D2

The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is a lifeline for the state’s smaller medical device companies, offering inventors and executives easy, affordable, and coordinated access to world-class researchers and resources at the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the University of Massachusetts. 

M2D2 leverages the engineering, business and clinical strengths of the UMass campuses in Lowell and Worcester to provide fee-based services in the areas of business planning, product prototype development and clinical pathway assistance.

M2D2 is proud to be the only BARDA DRIVe accelerator in New England. BARDA’s DRIVe aims to empower people and give them a greater role in their health outcomes. They are actively seeking better ways to detect threats, point-of-use indicators, biological and physiological sensing technologies.

Thanks to a recent $7.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), M2D2 is also currently playing a large role in the development of CAPCaT, a new Center for Advancing Point-of-Care Technologies focused on heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders. 

Key Dates at a Glance


Is there an application fee?

Applications submitted during the extended deadline period from 2/19 to 2/22 will require an entrance fee of $70. 

How do I apply?

You need to register on our online platform here, complete an online questionnaire, and upload the required documentation. The link to this application will become available on 1/8/19.

Who can enter?

Inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and university researchers are all welcome to enter the challenge!

Do I need to have a registered company to apply?

No, university researchers and research teams are encouraged to apply. In the field where it asks for company name, type "none."

Can I enter as part of a team?

Yes! You can enter as an individual or team working in academic, research, or commercial start-up setting and have an innovative product or solution.

Does an applicant have to give up any equity?

No, no equity is taken.

When do I need to submit my application?

You or your team leader needs to complete and submit all the application materials before the midnight deadline on February 18, 2019 EST.

Are travel expenses paid?

No, applicant start-up companies are responsible for their travel costs related to attending pitch events and mandatory in-person events, where applicable.

What are the eligibility criteria for the M2D2 $200K Challenge program?

M2D2 seeks early to mid-stage start-ups in the medical device and biotech spaces. Specific areas of focus can be found here. We encourage those who are developing a product and/or service in the healthcare areas outlined to apply.

How do you select finalists for the M2D2 $200K Challenge?

M2D2, along with its Challenge sponsors, evaluates all applications based on value, strength, and execution plan. The company strength for each category is evaluated using multiple metrics.

  • Value – product, customer validation, business model & healthcare economics, competition, IP, market opportunity, and patient benefit
  • Strength – team strength, development plan, responsiveness/coachable, freedom to operate, regulatory & clinical burden, funding to date, resources needed
  • Execution plan – stage of development, evidence, time to market, traction, partnerships & relationships, time to key milestones, upcoming funding
  • Interaction with M2D2 and program sponsors is also used as an evaluation metric.

We just raised a Series E, can we still apply?

Yes! M2D2 encourages applications from companies at all stages of fundraising, from friends and family to seed and beyond to apply to the $200K Challenge. Preference is given to companies with transformative potential and those who will benefit the most from working with M2D2 and the Challenge sponsors.

We are developing a transformative healthcare technology at a university research lab. Can we apply?

Yes! Ventures involving technologies licensed from universities or research labs are encouraged to apply.

I noticed there is coaching available for finalists. What is this like?

All finalists are offered coaching appointments to meet with subject matter and pitch experts to refine their presentations and be ready for the pitch-off showcase event on March 27th. Coaching is organized by Mintz and is held at their offices in Boston.

If I am selected as a finalist do I have to attend the pitch event on March 27th in person?

Yes! You will gain the most value and exposure from pitching in person and interacting with the Challenge sponsors and investors.

Do I need to relocate to participate in the $200K Challenge?

No, but we hope one reason you’re applying is to gain access to the Boston ecosystem. This is a great way to do it!

We are based outside the U.S. Can we apply to the $200K Challenge?

Yes, international applicants are welcomed and are encouraged to apply.

I applied previously but didn’t receive an award. Should I reapply?

Yes, you should apply again as long as the proposal isn’t identical. The needs of the industry and sponsor interests are constantly evolving and can change from year to year. Any updates that took place over the past year should be highlighted in your application.

What are the key dates I should be aware of?

Application deadline: February 18, 2019

Finalists announced: March 6, 2019

Finalist materials due: final application, poster, and slide deck due March 13, 2019

Finalist showcase pitch-off: March 27, 2019, at UMass Lowell, Lowell MA

Awards announcement event: April 10, 2019, at Mintz, One Financial Center, Boston MA

Will finalists be notified ahead of time if they should attend the awards event on April 10th?

No! All finalists are expected to attend the awards event and be prepared to present their slide deck to the audience. It is a great opportunity for networking with Challenge sponsors, investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and others. Poster sessions are provided to all finalists at this event.

If I’m not selected as a finalist, will I receive a written explanation?

Unfortunately, due to the high number of applications, we cannot provide a written explanation to every applicant who isn’t selected as a finalist. Most times, it is due to not being properly aligned with the call for applications.

Seventh Place: NERV Technology, whose implantable biochip platform detects post-operative anastomotic leakage.

Sixth Place: DFTX, with a universal neurostimulation dosing platform.

Fifth Place: MAG Optics, who have developed an intra-corneal implant for treatment of keratoconus.

Fourth Place: Bitome, whose device enables non-invasive monitoring of human hydration.

Third Place: 149 Medical, with a non-invasive, real-time brain hemodynamics and metabolism monitor.

Second Place: Versatope, who have developed a versatile vaccine delivery platform derived from recombinant outer membrane vesicles (rOMV).

First Place: Leuko Labs, developers of the first white blood cell analyzer that does not require a blood sample.

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