FAQ

What is The Engine?
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The Engine is an innovation accelerator built by and around MIT to drive breakthrough innovations. We are enabling the efforts of startups in Kendall Square and across Massachusetts, targeting transformative technologies to solve global problems. The goals of The Engine are to:

  • Facilitate access to patient capital;
  • Increase the supply of physical space in the surrounding innovation ecosystem;
  • Provide access to critical and streamlined business services;
  • Facilitate a virtual marketplace for specialized equipment, talent, and expertise; and
  • Enable connected innovation nodes across Massachusetts and beyond.

What are the benefits of participating?
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Our goal is to make it easier for you to develop and reach your company’s next set of milestones. Beyond capital, program participants will have access to first-come, first-served co-working space at The Engine headquarters at 501 Massachusetts Ave (Central Square) and to basic business and legal services, expert lectures, and community events. For less basic needs, we’ll help connect you with external experts through the Engine Room.

What if I need maker or lab space? Are these facilities available?
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Yes. Program participants have access to the Engine Room, a network of equipment, experts, and services in Greater Boston. We’ll also have some maker and lab equipment available at the Engine headquarters and at the facilities of associated partners.

How long can companies stay at The Engine? What if I need more time?
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Depending on the sector and other considerations, initial time in the program could be from 3 months to over 12 months. There may be an opportunity to stay in the program longer if we think The Engine can help you meet additional goals and milestones.

How does my startup become part of The Engine?
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Let us know a bit about your team, the company, milestones reached, your short-term goals, and how you think The Engine can help you reach them. If we think you might be a good match for our program, you’ll have a more in-depth conversation with our investment directors.

When will you be accepting applications?
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If you think your startup is a good fit for The Engine program, we’re interested in hearing from you. Apply now.

Is The Engine only for MIT teams and technologies?
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We are not focused on where a startup originated. The Engine is tailored to support ambitious startups, especially those based on capital- and time-intensive transformative technologies.

Do Engine participants need to be U.S. citizens?
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No, we support teams with transformative ideas regardless of the nationality of the founders. However, you must be eligible to work in the U.S.

What kinds of ideas are you looking for?
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We’re interested in helping companies that have moved beyond the idea stage and need a bit more capital than that provided by competitions and other very early stage programs, and that need access to specialized equipment and services. We’re looking for companies we think we can help get to the next level of development.

The Engine is targeted (but not exclusively) towards:

  • Sectors like biotech, medical devices, manufacturing, clean energy, robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Companies at the translational stage; and
  • Companies that plan to add to the regional economy by staying local.

However, to create the vibrant and multifaceted community we have in mind for The Engine, we’ll be talking to companies in all sectors, not just in those listed above.

Do you have to be an established company to apply? Can individuals apply?
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You will need to be incorporated in order to receive funding from The Engine, but if we select your idea/team for the program, we can help get you set up.

We’ve already taken some funding. Can I still apply for support?
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Absolutely. The Engine generally invests in early-stage startups, but our goal is to support transformative ideas.

How much does The Engine invest in participating startups? What equity stake will The Engine take?
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Investment levels will depend on the sector and the unique characteristics of each venture. While we can’t commit to funding beyond this initial investment, we might be interested in participating in subsequent funding rounds. Contact us to discuss your needs and ideas.

Does it cost selected startups anything to be in The Engine?
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Cost will vary depending upon whether you choose to be in residence with us. All accepted companies will have the option of using office/work space at The Engine or using space they have acquired outside, and pricing will vary based on the option you choose. However, we want you to be located close by so that you can participate in program offerings and network with other startups.

Will The Engine sign an NDA to protect my idea?
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No. Funding sources like The Engine are pitched too many ideas to enter into NDAs with applicants or portfolio companies.

Will I have to be located in Boston/Cambridge to join The Engine?
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While not all participants will be headquartered at The Engine, all are expected to participate in events, gatherings, and other sessions. For this reason, you must be physically located in the Boston/Cambridge region to participate in the program.

We’re an established company past the startup stage, but we love what you’re doing here. How can we get involved?
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The best way for you to be involved is to help the new companies starting their entrepreneurship journeys. If you can offer expertise, equipment, or other facilities, please contact us to get involved.

What is the Engine Room?
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The Engine Room is an online marketplace that provides easy access to specialized equipment, space, services, and expertise available at MIT and other organizations and companies in the Kendall Square area and surrounding region.

Who gets access to the Engine Room?
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At first, Engine Room users will be limited to companies selected to participate in the Engine program. Over time, we plan to open up membership to a wider audience across the region.

Do start-up companies have to pay to use the Engine Room?
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There is a cost to use some specialized equipment, spaces, and services. However, companies participating in The Engine will receive a credit to apply toward these costs.

Do you have to take training classes or have a certification to use the Engine Room?
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Some facilities will require specialized training for the use of sophisticated equipment.

How do I make my equipment, space, and expertise available through the Engine Room?
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If you have something to share, please contact us.

Do companies that share equipment, space, and expertise through the Engine Room get paid?
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Companies can charge for the use of the equipment, space, and expertise they share.