The Engine, an MIT-affiliated startup accelerator focused on "tough tech," today is closing its debut fund with just over $150 million in capital commitments, according to CEO Katie Rae.

What will it do? The fund will back startups in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics and non-pharma biotech, with all of those companies being admitted into the accelerator on MIT's campus. As we previously reported upon Rae's hiring, the plan is to make it more cost-effective for harder-tech startups to get off the ground, similar to what AWS and Azure have done for software startups.

Backers: MIT is a cornerstone limited partner in the fund, with Rae saying the remaining capital came from a traditional sort of VC fund mix (i.e., pensions, endowments, high-net-worth individuals, etc.).

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The fight over fracking

Fracking has become a flashpoint in the election's final week, particularly in Pennsylvania where both President Trump and Joe Biden made stops on Monday. But much of the political rhetoric has ignored that the industry has gone from boom to bust, beset by layoffs, bankruptcies and fire-sale mergers.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of fracking, and what it means for the future of American energy, with Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to life in prison

Carts full of court documents related to the U.S. v. Keith Raniere case arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday in federal court for sex trafficking among other crimes, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: Raniere was convicted last summer with sex trafficking, conspiracy, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, forced labor and possession of child pornography. His so-called self-improvement workshops, which disguised rampant sexual abuse, were popular among Hollywood and business circles.