MIT venture fund raises $150 million for start-up tech firms

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) new investment fund raised more than $150 million to support start-up companies developing scientific and technological innovations.

MIT said on Thursday it contributed $25 million to the Engine Accelerator Fund I, which the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university controls. The rest of the money was raised from a small group of unidentified investors “aligned with the fund’s mission,” according to a statement.

MIT, considered the premier technology school, joins Stanford University, the University of California system and other universities in starting venture capital funds to nurture entrepreneurship.

Lab to market

LAST October MIT launched the enterprise called The Engine to eventually support 60 local start-ups in sectors including biotechnology, robotics and medical devices, helping them move from the lab to the marketplace. The enterprise is designed to provide space for start-ups, along with technical support and funding.

“We’re looking for start-ups with breakout technologies and great founding teams that want to build their companies in the New England region,” Katie Rae, who was named president and CEO of The Engine in February, said in the statement.

With funding in place, “we can begin to select our first startups,” said Rae, who was previously managing director of start-up accelerator Techstars Boston.

New facility

The Engine will open its offices in May in Cambridge near the MIT campus, Rae said in an interview. The facilities will include space for start-ups to share equipment, such as large microscopes, as well as labs, she said.

Rae said the enterprise will continue to raise capital as needed and may launch additional funds.

Robert Kraft, CEO of The Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots football team; Israel Ruiz, MIT’s treasurer; and Linda Pizzuti Henry, managing director of the Boston Globe Media Partners, are on the board of directors, according to The Engine’s web site.


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