by Dylan Goodman
The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has recently announced it will be giving away over $1.65 million in grants under its annual seed fund program. The money will go to support early-stage energy related projects on campus. Over the past 8 years MITEI Seed Funding has provided over $17 million dollars to 140 different energy related research projects spanning across MIT’s five schools. For 2015, there will be 11 companies each receiving $150,000 in seed funding. (Abraham) There are more applicants than can receive funding, so projects are chosen by their potential to contribute to increased energy research. Projects can vary across a wide array of fields ranging from hydraulic fracturing to new battery technologies.
The MITEI Seed Funding program encourages new ideas. According to Robert Armstrong, director of MITEI, “The MIT Energy Initiative’s seed fund awards build on our successful track record of support for innovative thinking around key energy challenges. “There is tremendous potential in these innovative early-stage projects. This round of grants includes important collaborative research efforts that seek to address key global energy and climate challenges.” Past seed fund award winners have been successful in a number of startup companies. One successful project was the creation of substance called LiquiGlide, a type of lubricating agent with various applications. According to Kripa Varanasi, lead professor in charge of the LiquiGlide team, “MITEI seed funding was among the early funding I received which laid the foundation for basic research that ultimately led to the startup LiquiGlide that I co-founded. These awards can be instrumental in helping to move projects from the research stage into the real world.” Seed funding acts as a way of providing innovative startups with financial resources they wouldn’t otherwise have and allows for the development of new companies and technologies that may otherwise not exit. MITEI’s seed program is made possible through funding from founding and current members.
Abraham, Melissa. “MIT Energy Initiative Awarding $1.65M in Seed Funds.” Product Design & Development. N.p., 13 Apr. 2015. Web.