After going to the White House to help launch President Barack Obama’s innovation initiative, Startup America, in January, MassChallenge founders invited the president to visit the $1 million startup competition during his six-hour Boston tour today.
“Obviously these are scripted affairs scheduled months in advance,” MassChallenge founder John Harthorne said. “We knew it would be a long shot, but we thought we’d throw it over the wall.”
At TechBoston Academy today, Obama will continue to promote innovative education strategies highlighted in his State of the Union. Melinda Gates, whose foundation helped found the school in 2002, will also attend, along with the Secretary of Education.
The school, which integrates technology into all its classes and offers dual enrollment at colleges, is funded by companies such as Apple, Cisco and Dell.
Obama’s visit comes a day after MassChallenge launched its second year and received $1 million in state investment over four years. Last year’s MassChallenge finalists already raised $30 million in private financing and created nearly 300 jobs.
“This is all just in six months — very, very exciting,” Gov. Deval Patrick said from Israel. “And the Challenge received national attention when it became the youngest program recognized by President Obama for supporting innovative startups.”