A regulatory filing reveals The Engine is aiming to raise $350m for its third fund, less than three years after raising $230m Fund II.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus

The Engine, the US-based venture firm and tough tech incubator created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), yesterday filed to raise $350m for its third fund.

No money has been committed thus far. The Engine raised its Fund II in October 2020, attracting $230m from limited partners including MIT and Harvard University.

The Engine was launched by MIT in 2016 and closed its first fund at $205m the following year. The first fund backed a range of Harvard spinouts, leading the institution to commit capital for Fund II.

It specialises in what it calls “tough tech” companies — startups solving global challenges of high need — split across three categories: human health, climate change, and advanced systems and infrastructure.

The Engine currently lists 42 companies in its portfolio, hailing not just from MIT and Harvard but a host of institutions also including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Washington University in St Louis, Chalmers University of Technology, University of California, Irvine, TU Munich, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University and others.

It also has portfolio companies built by entrepreneurs with a corporate background, like BASF, Chevron, Apple and Tesla, as well as labs like Los Alamos National Laboratory and ARPA-Energy.

Learn more about The Engine in our interview with partner Michael Kearney on Talking Tech Transfer:

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).