WeWork CEO Adam Neumann had a few tidbits of sage advice for MassChallenge entrepreneurs on Thursday night, including: "Don’t listen to what other people say about you," "Know your strength and understand your weaknesses," "Focus on how you talk and how you act today," and "The woman to marry is the first woman to call you on your (expletive)."
During an interview with MassChallenge founder John Harthorne during the annual awards ceremony for the Boston-based startup accelerator, Neumann also said he's working with Patriots owner Robert Kraft to bring WeWork's newest initiative, WeLive, to Boston. But he still needs to the city government's help, he said: WeLive apartment buildings offer furnished rooms on flexible rental schedules with an emphasis on community.
"We can't get enough space in Boston," Neumann said. "With your help, let's make it bigger than New York."
During the ceremony, MassChallenge awarded $100,000 prizes to each of four of the "highest-impact" companies from its 2017 class. Those companies, which lead a pack of 128 startups that entered the accelerator in June, are:
- CozyKin Massachusetts | High Tech | Creates the sharing economy for childcare by matching local families together and placing them with Montessori-trained nannies in in-home nanny shares.
- OffGridBox Massachusetts | Energy/Clean Tech | Creates a modular and compact unit that provides renewable energy and treated water in remote areas.
- Pykus Therapeutics Massachusetts | Healthcare/Life Sciences | Develops a dissolvable intraocular device to make retinal surgery less painful and more successful.
- Vence California | General/Retail/Consumer Goods | Increases revenues, eliminates fencing costs/capex, and reduces labor expenses for livestock farmers.
The accelerator program awarded $1.5 million prize money overall. You can see the full list of winners on the MassChallenge website.
MassChallenge is a nonprofit program that does not take equity in its startups. More than 1,200 startups have gone through MassChallenge programs, including its branches in London, Israel, Switzerland and Mexico, and PULSE@MassChallenge, an accelerator focused on digital health startups.