Transform Advanced Computing research into Tough Tech companies

Your Tough Tech company starts here.

Interval is a collaboration between The Engine and MIT Schwarzman College of Computing that provides MIT-affiliated graduates, postdocs, and researchers working in Advanced Computing an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship and move their research towards commercial viability.

Each team should include:

  • MIT researchers and recent MIT graduates
  • A project that is rooted in published research
  • Students who focus on building the company after graduation

Participants will receive an investment of $200,000 from The Engine as a SAFE note. The investment provides companies, in a setting outside MIT, with the capital needed to advance and translate their technology/research to commercial viability over the course of one year.


Interval begins September 1, 2021 with an initial cohort of up to eight teams selected by The Engine. The program will begin virtually in order to adhere to local COVID-19 restrictions with the possibility of later transitioning to The Engine’s space at 501 Mass. Ave in Cambridge.

Applications Open: May 2021

Selection: July 2021

Timeline: September 2021 – June 2022



  • The company needs to be incorporated (or have the intention of and process to be incorporated as the program starts)
  • Have clear research identified for product/idea exploration
  • Core team members must complete degree program by July 1 and work full-time on the company
  • Ability to explain the details on any relevant company IP

What You’ll Receive: 

  • $200K SAFE note from The Engine
  • Access to space and infrastructure
  • Guidance and mentorship to help refine focus areas:

    • How can your research bring real world value?
    • How to scale the technology & define your product
    • How to build a team/understanding organizational behavior and building culture
    • Customer discovery
    • Knowing your market & industry
    • Fundraising & storytelling
    • Networking with industry experts, MIT founders and investors

Investment Criteria:

The investment decision will be made by the General Partners of  The Engine. Interval looks for companies with a strong founding team, a breakthrough technology, the ability of that technology to solve big societal problems and the potential to become a large commercial success.

Apply Here


Does The Engine take an interest or equity stake in or create a formal business relationship with the Interval Founders or their entities?

Yes, The Engine will invest $200,000 in each company selected. The investment provides companies with the capital needed to advance and translate their technology/research over the course of a year in a setting outside of MIT. The Investment is in the form of a SAFE agreement (simple agreement for future equity) between investors and the company that provides investors the right for future equity in the company.

How much equity will my company exchange in return for the $200,000 investment and for participation in Interval?

The Engine fund will receive [TBD]% ownership when/if the SAFE converts into equity at a future date.

Who is eligible?

PhD, postdocs and masters graduates from MIT.

Can I apply if I am not from MIT?

No, unfortunately for this first Interval Program we are restricting the Pilot to MIT graduates and former MIT researchers.

Are there certain technology areas that are of interest to Interval?

Interval is designed and focused on using Advanced Computing to solve the world’s big and urgent problems. Research that has been published in peer-reviewed journals will be given priority.

Must I have formed a legal entity?

You can form a legal entity after you apply, but you are expected to have one before the program starts on September 1st.

Will my application material be kept confidential?

Yes, your application materials will be viewed only by members of The Engine selection committee and experts who help with due diligence.

How will IP be handled?

Rights to all IP used by the company must be properly assigned. For instance, anything created in a university setting or before you become a participant of Interval that you plan to use going forward should be assigned to the company. We encourage teams to use Invention Assignment Agreements. Intellectual Property shall be jointly owned in equal shares by participating companies, except to the extent that any of the Intellectual Property has been made freely available to the public. 

Do I need a team?

Teams are encouraged to apply, but not required.

Do I need to be working on this venture full-time?

Yes, you are expected to be working full-time on this venture.

What are the implications of this program for participants with US visa requirements?

Students who are not USA citizens need approved OPT in order to participate in the program.

What are your selection criteria?

Projects will be selected based on the team, the merits of the technological breakthrough and its potential impact.

How are fellows selected?

The Engine team will review all applications. Semi-finalists will be invited to selection interviews. The Engine will make final investment decisions.

What if I’m an undergrad researcher?

Sorry, you’re ineligible for this program at this time. We might expand the scope in the future.


Questions for The Engine? Please contact Alex Grant. Question for MIT? Please contact Lori Glover.