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Tough Tech

What is Tough Tech? Tough Tech is transformative technology that solves the world’s most important challenges through the convergence of breakthrough science, engineering, and leadership.

Tough Tech is a transformative and broad approach that applies cutting edge technology to society’s biggest opportunities. We believe these areas are all interconnected — addressing climate change must go hand in hand with improving issues surrounding global supply chains and food systems, and vice versa. Tackling these areas will unlock massive opportunities to transform industries for the better. This is where The Engine invests.

Talk to any founder, and they’ll tell you there’s a moment when the potential becomes the possible. In Tough Tech, it’s when the commercial application for a promising research finding can be validated by the smartest people in the field. Tough Tech is defined by its proximity to academia. We look for research findings that change our basic understanding of the world, and invest in companies where new understanding revolutionizes a process, material, system, or component in the built world. Tough Tech can be huge— like the first fusion plant to help decarbonize our power systems. Or it can be quantum— like components that make 100x more powerful computations possible at scale. It often combines insights from across disciplines, like biology and material science; nanoscale manufacturing and robotics; AI and transportation. What unites Tough Tech is that it exists in physical space, not just in code, and it has the potential to create more sustainable, resilient ways of living.