The Engine revs up | MIT Technology Review

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As a result, many bold concepts, those that could make a big difference in sustainable energy, climate change or human health, were left in the lab, because there was no good system to support their development until in the market. . Turning a new piece of science into a world-changing technology that is optimized, tested, and ready for scale manufacturing can take more than a decade, longer than venture capitalists can reasonably expect.

We call ideas like these “hard tech.” And in 2016, we decided it was critical to launch a new startup support model that would nurture these kinds of impactful ideas and bring them to the world, while helping our regional innovation ecosystem flourish and grow up. With this guiding concept, we set out to build The Engine, just a few blocks from campus.

From humble beginnings in a single space in the central plaza, The Engine is now helping 44 startups (and counting) go from prototype to scale through its signature “patient capital” package, local space affordable, access to highly specialized and streamlined equipment. legal and business services, technical expertise and community. Demand is growing so quickly that The Engine will open an additional space nearby this fall, more than doubling its footprint and capacity.

What sets The Engine apart is MIT’s emphasis on impact: when evaluating candidate companies, it prioritizes innovative answers to big problems over early profits. From the startup that pioneered a way to identify covid spikes by testing municipal wastewater to a serious strategy to deliver carbon-free fusion power, The Engine is home to a portfolio of potential that feels quintessentially MIT.

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