Transform your Advanced Computing research into a Tough Tech company.


Interval, by The Engine, is a pilot program that offers MIT graduates, former MIT postdocs, and former MIT researchers a career path in entrepreneurship focused on pioneering Advanced Computing approaches to solve the world’s biggest and most urgent problems. 

Participants will be awarded an investment of $200,000 from The Engine in the form of a SAFE note. The investment provides companies with the capital needed to advance and test the commercial viability of their technology/research over the course of one year.

It is expected that each project will be rooted in published research and that the founding team will be working full-time on the company.

The Program

Interval begins September 1, 2021 with an initial cohort of up to six 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 facilities.

  • Applications Open: July 1, 2021
  • Application Deadline: August 6, 2021
  • Participant Selection: Rolling
  • Program Duration: September 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022


  • The company must be incorporated, or be in the process of incorporation, by September 1, 2021 (the start of the program)
  • Core team members must have completed their degree program by September 1, 2021 (the start of the program)
  • Core team members must work full time on the company
  • Teams must have clear, published research identified for product/idea exploration
  • Teams must have the ability to explain the details on any relevant company IP

Participant Benefits

  • $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?
    • Scaling the technology and defining the product
    • Building a team, understanding organizational behavior, and establishing a culture
    • Customer discovery, understanding your market and industry
    • Fundraising and storytelling
    • Networking with industry experts, 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 significant societal problems, and the potential to become a large commercial success.

Questions? Please contact Alex Grant.


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. 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.

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

The Engine fund will receive 15% ownership when/if the SAFE converts into equity at a future date.

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

PhD and Masters graduates from MIT, and former postdocs and researchers from MIT.

Who is eligible?

No, Interval is independently run by The Engine. The Engine has decided to focus this pilot on MIT graduates and former MIT researchers.

Is Interval run by MIT? 

No, unfortunately, for this pilot we are limiting applications to MIT graduates and former MIT researchers.

Can I apply if I am not from MIT?

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.

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

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

Must I have formed a legal entity?

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

Will my application material be kept confidential?

The money will belong to your company, and the company will use it to pay salaries or other business expenses.

What can I spend the $200,000 on?

Teams are encouraged to apply, but not required.

Do I need a team?

Yes, you are expected to be working full-time at the company.

Do I need to be working at the company full-time?

Students who are not USA citizens need an approved OPT in order to participate in Interval.

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

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

What are your selection criteria?

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

How are participants selected?

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

What if I’m a current student?

You will need to make sure you have the necessary rights to what you will be bringing with you to the program. Rights to all IP used by the company must be properly assigned or licensed. For instance, anything created in a university setting or before you become a participant of Interval that you plan to use going forward and is IP that is owned by MIT needs to be licensed or optioned through standard procedures with the MIT TLO.

During your time as an MIT Researcher, you will have signed the MIT Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA) that transfers ownership of intellectual property (IP) created at MIT to MIT. If you plan to use any IP including software developed during your research in the program, you will need to make sure you have secured the appropriate license rights or permissions from MIT TLO. As part of the application process, you will be asked to include the name of the Technology Licensing Officer at MIT TLO and to verify the status of any license or option discussions.

How will IP be handled?

You will need to ensure that everyone working with you either owns anything they might be bringing with them to contribute to your company or that they have secured the appropriate rights from their employer, institution or other third party owner.  

What if some of my team members are not from MIT?

Even if your research did not result in any filed patents or was not commercially licensed, there may still be obligations to Sponsors or the Government. It is still best to ensure that you clear the path for your participation in Interval by speaking with MIT TLO (ude.tim@olt).

What if everything I did was released freely or as open source? 

Once you have secured all the rights required from MIT for MIT IP, you and everyone working with you will need to execute an invention and confidentiality agreement with your company to assign rights to future IP to the company. This is something we can help you with.

Ensuring that you and your team have proper employment and invention assignment and confidentiality agreements in place.