A Note from the Editors
Our April edition of Energy Technology Connections brings you recent industry highlights and features a list of upcoming energy industry events throughout the nation. To learn about MIT’s latest startup accelerator, The Engine, read our Leaders in the News profile to see how they lend vital support to entrepreneurs. In Event Highlights, we feature the 2017 Cleantech Open Northeast Boston Mentor Mixer, which we are excited to host on May 25, 2017. Finally, our Washington Update provides insight into a number of energy-related developments at the federal level, including the Senate Democrats' new Energy Jobs bill, the fate of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the EPA’s new $11 million Diesel Emission Reduction Program.
For links to industry grant opportunities and stories from the business, policy, and research sectors of the energy and clean technology industry, please see our Energy Navigator.
We would also like to remind our readers that you can always ask us anything at http://mintzedge.com/ask-anything/. We built the MintzEdge website as a resource for entrepreneurs and investors, and hope that all of you take advantage of the site and see how it can help you.
Leaders in the News: The Engine
This month we feature The Engine, a startup accelerator out of MIT that lends vital support to entrepreneurs pursuing societal impact through scientific and technological innovation. Based in Central Square in Cambridge, MA, the new venture aims to meet a critical need among start-ups, namely those in “hard tech,” which lack stable access to the resources and capital necessary to lift their breakthroughs out of the lab and into the market.
In February, just months after its initial launch, The Engine sparked media attention with the closing of its first investment fund at over $150 million – a promising sign for new companies hoping to benefit from the accelerator’s growing ecosystem of investors and facilities. This initial funding was secured under the leadership of President, CEO, and Investment fund Manager Katie Rae. This veteran tech entrepreneur and investor has an impressive resume of leading and advising innovative business programs throughout Boston (including two she co-founded, Project 11 Ventures and Startup Institute). Rae’s reputation earned The Engine broad support among individual investors, supplementing MIT’s $25 million investment to create a robust debut fund comparable to “the third or fourth ‘vintage’ for a typical software focused fund,” according to TechCrunch.
The Engine dubs itself “a new machine to drive innovation,” reflecting the venture’s commitment to solutions-oriented, advanced technology companies. Whereas software startups or consumer applications are generally simpler to prototype and test, and find more straightforward paths to the commercial marketplace, companies based on nascent “hard tech” require greater capital, time, and physical resources to develop their product. Rae recognizes the gap, and promises tech founders in the proof-of-concept stage that The Engine will “bet early, stay their ally through the long period of ‘figuring it out,’ and be willing to look at things that other people would find too hard or unusual.”
Teams partnering with The Engine gain access to targeted business services and a network of labs, specialized equipment, and other resources at MIT and throughout the greater Boston area. The venture’s investment portfolio will span diverse industries, from medicine and robotics to advanced materials, nuclear energy, fusion artificial intelligence, and more. Ultimately, The Engine incentivizes companies to optimize their business strategy to promote scientific breakthroughs above all else.
It’s a bold strategy – and one that will keep Boston a major hub for bold ideas in science and technology. Congratulations to The Engine on an impressive first few months. We can’t wait to see what’s next!