The Engine Announces First-Ever Investments in Tough Tech Startups from $200 Million Fund

News Highlights

  • First-ever investments by The Engine in seven Boston-based startups across a range of tough tech areas including aerospace, advanced materials, biotech, genetic engineering, renewable energy, and others

  • Raised an updated total of $200 million for its first investment fund

  • Kicking off official opening of The Engine headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Engine, founded by MIT in 2016 to focus on tough tech innovations, today announced its first-ever investments in seven startups developing breakthrough scientific and technological innovations poised for transformative impact. In addition, The Engine announced it has raised an updated total of $200 million for its first investment fund with which the firm will continue making new investments into tough tech startups.

“Tough tech companies have historically been underserved and underfunded, leaving many breakthrough inventions stuck in the lab,” said Katie Rae, CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine. “By building a first-of-its-kind organization with a mission to focus exclusively on founders working on tough tech, The Engine aims to transform the status quo venture ecosystem and to make Boston the heart of tough tech innovations.”
The Engine bridges the gap between discovery and commercialization by empowering startups developing “tough” tech — breakthrough ideas that require time to commercialize — with the long-term capital, entrepreneurial knowledge, connections, specialized equipment and labs they need to thrive. The Engine provides a combination of long-term investment, resources, and services that include The Engine Fund, The Engine Room, The Engine Program, and The Engine Network.

“Within months of announcing The Engine’s first investment fund, we received more than 500 pitches from startups. What was surprising yet unsurprising was that nearly all 500 startups focused on tough tech, underscoring the real abundance of opportunities for tough tech innovations, as well as the real need for a tough tech ecosystem we knew was lacking,” Rae added. “Today’s group of startups have massive ambitions and are working on transformative innovations poised to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges.”

All based in the Boston area, today’s seven startups span a range of tough tech sectors that include aerospace, advanced materials, biotech, genetic engineering, renewable energy and others.

  • Analytical Space, developing systems that provide no-delay, high-speed data from space to address global challenges such as precision agriculture, climate monitoring and city planning.
  • Baseload Renewables, developing ultra low-cost energy storage to replace fossil baseload generation with renewable energy to successfully reduce carbon on a global level.
  • C2Sense, building a digital olfactory sensor for industrial use cases such as food, agriculture and worker safety, and transforming smell into real-time data that can be accessed remotely.
  • iSee, delivering the next generation of humanistic artificial intelligence technology for human and robotic collaborations, including autonomous vehicles.
  • Kytopen, accelerating the development of genetically engineered cells by developing technology that modifies microorganisms 10,000 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods.
  • Suono Bio, enabling ultrasonic targeted delivery of therapeutics and macromolecules across tissues without the need for reformulation or encapsulation.
  • Via Separations, developing a materials technology for industrial separation processes that uses 10 times less energy than traditional methods.

The founding startups will be featured today at an event to celebrate the official opening of The Engine’s headquarters at 501 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now renovated to include three floors of maker spaces, labs with cutting-edge equipment, office spaces, and other resources.

For more information and the press kit, please visit here.