Apr 6, 2017

MIT-affiliated 'The Engine' raises $150 million

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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Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.

Rising home sales show Americans are looking past the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are behaving very differently than they have in previous recessions — convinced that the coronavirus pandemic will soon pass, many continue to spend money as if nothing has changed.

Driving the news: The latest example of this trend is the Commerce Department's new home sales report, which showed home sales increased in April despite nationwide lockdowns that banned real estate agents in some states from even showing listed houses.