Disrupting the Internal Combustion Engine: One MIT Alum’s Path to Launching a Hard Tech Startup

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 10:00am to 11:30am

Building E25, 111
45 CARLETON ST, Cambridge, MA 02142

Venture Capital has its place for funding companies, but Hard Tech is . . . particularly HARD for VCs to embrace. So how does a startup navigate in a space that requires a lot of time and money for development where traditional routes of funding are challenging? 

The answer, in a word: grit. 

The internal combustion engine is 150 years old--a technology that is ripe for disruption. Yet it's a very tough space to get funded. This talk will describe the journey of a startup that launched with an award in the 2004 MIT $50K Competition, and today has demonstrated engine technology that is 1/10th the size and weight of traditional Diesel engines with 30% improved efficiency. 

Alec Shkolnik (Ph.D. CSAIL 2010), co-founder and CEO of LiquidPiston, will describe the company's journey having raised a mix of venture funding, "equity crowd funding," angel funding, and non-dilutive Government funding; surviving several company recapitalizations; and now transitioning to commercialization in a B2B environment.

This talk will cover a broad range of topics around the funding and commercialization of tough technology.

This session is part of the "2020 Intellectual Property Speaker Series" co-sponsored by the Technology Licensing Office and MIT Libraries. Lunch will be provided to attendees of the Intellectual Property Speaker Series events. Please register for the seminar and for lunch. Please note that lunch will be served from 11:30am-12:30pm.


Free swag will be given participants who attend any 6 sessions from this series, so please check out our other sessions! http://mit_tlo.eventbrite.com

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Events By Interest

Career Development, IAP (Independent Activities Period), Entrepreneurship

Events By Audience

Public, MIT Community, Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff


Alumni, Innovation, startup, funding, commercialization, Intellectual Property Speaker Series, Hard Tech, Disruptive, Engine



Technology Licensing Office (TLO)


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