A record 21 North­eastern alumni, rep­re­senting 14 com­pa­nies, have been selected as final­ists in the Mass­Chal­lenge 2013 Accel­er­ator Pro­gram. Out of an appli­cant pool of more than 1,200 com­pa­nies from 40 coun­tries, 128 com­pa­nies have been chosen to join the 2013 Class of Mass­Chal­lenge Global Final­ists. North­eastern is the third most rep­re­sented uni­ver­sity in this year’s class of finalists.

Founded in 2010, Mass­Chal­lenge con­nects entre­pre­neurs with the resources they need to launch and suc­ceed. Now in its fourth year, the annual global accel­er­ator pro­gram and startup com­pe­ti­tion uses the power of com­pe­ti­tion to iden­tify and accel­erate star­tups by pro­viding them with men­tor­ships, tan­gible resources, and once-​​in-​​a-​​lifetime opportunities.

Star­tups are run by the people with the inspi­ra­tion, they’re the cat­a­lyst that cre­ates all long-​​term value in the busi­ness chain,” explained Scott Bailey, director of part­ner­ships at Mass­Chal­lenge. “They create jobs, wealth, and oppor­tu­nity. If we can accel­erate the growth of those ideas, we’re cre­ating more value for the global economy.”

After being selected as a finalist, the com­pa­nies move into the Mass­Chal­lenge offices, located on Boston’s Fan Pier, until the end of Sep­tember. During this time, they get free office space, con­nec­tions to cor­po­ra­tions and men­tors, access to VIP events, and free soft­ware, among other ben­e­fits. Fol­lowing this four-​​month period, all 128 com­pa­nies go through another round of judging, and the 26 teams with the top scores get the oppor­tu­nity to present their com­pa­nies in front of a panel of high-​​achieving entre­pre­neurs. At an award cer­e­mony on Oct. 30, Mass­Chal­lenge will award a total of $1 mil­lion, dis­trib­uted in $50,000 and $100,000 cash grants, to the 16 highest-​​ranked startups.

Quad Tech­nolo­gies is one of the Northeastern-​​affiliated star­tups that has been selected as a Mass­Chal­lenge finalist. Founded in 2012, the com­pany aims to com­mer­cialize a unique dis­solv­able hydrogel that was devel­oped by Shashi Murthy, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­ical engi­neering, and PhD can­di­dates Sean Kevlahan, Brian Plouffe, and Adam Hatch. The gel, named QuickGel, selec­tively binds anti­bodies, pro­teins, or cells from solu­tion while mit­i­gating non-​​specific binding. It can be removed easily and is a cost effec­tive alter­na­tive to cur­rent technologies.

3-​​Spark, founded by North­eastern post­doc­toral stu­dent Richard Ranky and dis­tin­guished pro­fessor of mechan­ical and indus­trial engi­neering Con­stan­tinos Mavroidis, is com­mer­cial­izing a new 3-​​D printing tech­nology capable of embed­ding elec­tronics directly into ABS plastic molds. 3-​​Spark is a spinoff from North­eastern University’s Bio­med­ical Mecha­tronics Lab­o­ra­tory, which is directed by Mavroidis, and its prod­ucts will help designers and engi­neers yield better pro­to­types during the inno­va­tion cycle’s research and devel­op­ment phase.

I’m con­sis­tently impressed with the quality and pas­sion of North­eastern entre­pre­neurs,” said Bailey. “The uni­ver­sity offers tremen­dous sup­port to the stu­dent entre­pre­neurial com­mu­nity and con­tributes mightily to the Boston startup ecosystem.”

The uni­ver­sity ded­i­cates abun­dant resources to con­tin­u­ally expand its entre­pre­neurial ecosystem for stu­dents, as well as fac­ulty and alumni. This system includes co-​​ops and aca­d­emic pro­grams, the Center for Entre­pre­neur­ship Edu­ca­tion, and student-​​led efforts like the ven­ture accel­er­ator IDEA and North­eastern Entre­pre­neurs Club, which work in unison to pro­vide crit­ical resources, sup­port, and mentoring.

The Center for Research Inno­va­tion is also a major com­po­nent of Northeastern’s entre­pre­neurial ecosystem. Founded in 2011, CRI’s mis­sion is to accel­erate the impact of uni­ver­sity research through com­mer­cial vehi­cles, par­tic­u­larly star­tups. CRI has worked closely with 3-​​Spark, Quad Tech­nolo­gies, and other ven­tures to pro­vide them with finan­cial sup­port and other key resources.