MIT-backed venture capital fund The Engine expands to Somerville


The Engine, an MIT-backed venture fund, has expanded to a 42,000 square foot space near Union Square in Somerville, according to the company and its owner. This is the latest sign that the neighborhood is turning to technology and innovation.

The VC company, which funds and supports tech startups working on climate change and other hard-to-solve issues, has moved into its new space on Tyler Street – part of the 7.4-acre Somernova Innovation Hub. owned by Rafi Properties – on Dec. 1 after signing a two-year lease, officials said. The Engine will retain its headquarters in Cambridge, where it is building a 200,000 square foot facility near Central Square.

With its expansion to Somerville, the company joins a group of nearby climate-tech focused companies, including Greentown Labs, the nation’s largest climate-tech startup incubator, and Form Energy, a company developing an industrial-grade battery. low cost that could be crucial in making renewables a feasible large-scale solution.

Collin Yip, the managing partner of Rafi Properties, said the expansion of The Engine will provide new opportunities for the business. As an investor in tech companies, having The Engine in close proximity to early-stage startups at Greentown Labs, as well as more established companies, will create an ecosystem that he hopes will further drive growth. innovation.

“It’s cross-pollination,” Yip added. “It’s a very natural next step, and I think it makes a lot of sense for The Engine to be here.”

Founded in 2016 by MIT, The Engine is a for-profit company that manages a venture capital fund of approximately $660 million. Its goal is to help startups tackling “hard tech” issues, including climate change and materials science. Its portfolio companies include Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a startup trying to make nuclear fusion a viable energy solution; the company recently raised $1.8 billion in new funding. (Commonwealth Fusion Systems is The Engine’s first portfolio company to work in its new Somerville space.)

Katie Rae, chief executive of The Engine, said the new facility addresses the need for a large and affordable workspace that is crucial for manufacturing and materials science startups.

“We knew it would be a great fit for The Engine expansion,” she said in a statement. “This provides us with the opportunity to solve the infrastructure challenge for our network and also brings us closer to Greentown Labs so that we can continue our close partnership on our shared climate technology support mission.”

Pranshu Verma can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pranshuverma_.

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