As part of the first-ever hybrid program, the VALIS team reflects on their experiences as a high-tech startup in the MassChallenge US Early Stage Accelerator Program.
Feb. 1, 2023, Boston, Mass. – VALIS CEO Emily Molstad and CTO Caleb Ralphs were named as finalists for the Climate award with winners to be announced at RESOLVE, the MassChallenge Summit & Awards flagship event.
Back in July 2022, VALIS was accepted into the MassChallenge Early Stage Accelerator program, joining 250 other startups from around the world for an in-depth curriculum built around supporting innovative entrepreneurship.
Metal production accounts for 10% of human generated greenhouse gases; technology to enhance recycling rates is critical to reducing sector emissions. That’s why VALIS co-founders Emily Molstad and Caleb Ralphs are leading the charge to enhance the profitability, stability and sustainability of metal recycling through Industry 4.0 capabilities. Their first product, VALI-Sort, is a software platform that targets the critical process of material sortation and leverages artificial intelligence to provide plant managers with the insights they need to make data-driven decisions.
The pair of co-founders are rapidly growing VALIS, now with support from the MassChallenge global network. Active participants in the 3-month program receive world-class mentoring from industry experts, tailored programming, and unrivalled access to corporate partners.
“Remaining true to our proven zero-equity model hybrid this year means fostering novel ideas through digital curriculum, 1:1 mentorship, and virtual events while concurrently offering in-person residency options,” says Hope Hopkins, Head of Global Acceleration at MassChallenge.¹
VALIS CEO, Emily Molstad reflected on her experience in the MassChallenge program as both the MC program curriculum and the U.S. Market Access program series concluded at the end of October 2022.
Prior to the completion of the program, biweekly meetings were held amongst a group of 10-12 startups, called Pods, to facilitate the opportunity to connect with other early-stage startup founders to discuss challenges and share solutions. Through these Pods and other MC events VALIS was introduced to a subset of the initial MC cohort that included fellow high tech startups, Wisiwig and Spatial Risk Systems.
For further support, each MassChallenge member was paired with a mentor coach in addition to on-demand mentors. MC Mentors guide founders through specific business goals to provide guidance on critical early-stage business strategy.²
The mentor program provided insight into balancing process management with efficiency for VALIS CTO, Caleb Ralphs. He received guidance on hiring software talent and incentivizing team members toward a common goal of the minimum viable product.
MC mentor coach, Tim Stephens provided Emily with ongoing support and advice as she navigated the fundraising process and other strategic decisions. “I could always count on Tim to ask the right questions I needed to think through to get over a challenge or to give great book recommendations when I needed deeper insights,” shared Molstad.
“Emily Molstad and VALIS are good examples of MassChallenge founders: innovators and entrepreneurs who create value for customers by understanding their pain and helping them realize a better opportunity,” said Tim Stephens.
Alongside a robust mentorship program, Emily and Caleb have been able to partake in monthly networking events to connect with stakeholders, partners, and industry experts. As co-founders in the Central Massachusetts region, the MC Early Stage Accelerator program has helped them build bridges to the Boston innovation ecosystem. VALIS is among 41% of MC startups connected to a MassChallenge region (Austin, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Rhode Island).³
"With our headquarters in Worcester, we're really proud to be a part of the rapidly growing entrepreneurship community in Central Massachusetts. Being able participate in the residency at the MassChallenge office in Boston and attend the Market Access program gave us an opportunity to build connections with investors, mentors and founders from other cities. That helps to strengthen the startup ecosystem not only in Boston but across Massachusetts," explains Molstad.
An official awards ceremony is set take place in Boston, MA on February 16, 2023 to celebrate the MassChallenge 2022 Early Stage Cohort as they become MC Alumni. CEO Emily Molstad, CTO Caleb Ralphs, Product Director Ben Longo, Solvus Global Co-Founders Sean Kelly and Aaron Birt will be in attendance at the event.
For questions on the MassChallenge programs or events, please contact: email@example.com
1 MassChallenge 2022 U.S. Early Stage Cohort, https://readymag.com/MassChallenge/USES2022/welcome/
2 MassChallenge 2022 U.S. Early Stage Program Manual, https://readymag.com/MassChallenge/USES-ProgramManual2022/4/
3 More than 250 Startups Featured during the MassChallenge Startup Showcase, MassChallenge, 27 Sept. 2022, https://masschallenge.org/announcement/more-than-250-startups-featured-during-the-masschallenge-startup-showcase
4 RESOLVE: the MassChallenge Global Summit & Awards, https://more.masschallenge.org/resolve2023