By Katie Rae
CEO & Managing Partner, The Engine
I’m so excited to announce that Milo Werner has joined The Engine as our fourth, and newest, General Partner.
A couple years ago, Ann, Reed and I began early conversations about how to expand our partnership. We knew the person who would help us scale The Engine would not be easy to come by. We wanted someone our founders would gravitate towards, someone who shared our vision for making Boston the hub for scaling breakthrough technologies to the world, and someone who had experience in the trenches commercializing Tough Tech startups. This person could help our companies get past the hurdles they will inevitably face.
To say that Milo brings all of this would be an understatement. The eight years she spent at Tesla is just one example of her relevant Tough Tech experience. Milo joined Tesla in 2007 –at a critical stage in the company’s trajectory– one that our entire portfolio will encounter as they bring their products to market. With just 200 employees, they had two prototype cars and were still roughly two years out from production. During Milo’s tenure she ran New Product Introduction for Tesla, leading the launch of Model S powertrain (battery, drive unit and all the good stuff in between), dual motor, drivers assist and, most importantly, Model X. By her departure, she had launched multiple new manufacturing facilities globally, saw the company grow to 12,000 people and Tesla exploded into mainstream conversations around the world.
In addition to Tesla, Milo ran New Product Introduction at Fitbit, launching four factories in China and transitioning the company to fully automated production, and led engineering and product for micro-grid company Zola, a startup providing distributed energy to over a million families in Sub Saharan Africa. Over the course of her career, Milo hired and built out nearly 20 teams. Her combination of experience launching products both domestically and internationally is very unusual and will provide tremendous value to our founders as they expand globally.
Most recently Milo transitioned to the investing side, translating her Tough Tech experience to the portfolio level. She joins us directly from Ajax Strategies, where she was a Partner leading mid-stage investments across energy, transportation, agriculture and industrial applications. Prior to that she was an Operating Partner at Khosla Ventures.
While everyone I’ve spoken to seems to have already known Milo, she was first introduced to The Engine at our inaugural Tough Tech Summit in 2018. Since then, she has been a friend to The Engine, meeting with and advising our founders, lending advice on new deals, and embedding herself in the ecosystem as a mentor to Principal Investigators through our Blueprint Program. The time we spent getting to know Milo solidified how well her values align with those of The Engine, and how much she cares about helping Tough Tech founders and supporting the Boston ecosystem. It doesn’t hurt that she is both a native of Brookline, MA and an MIT alum.
Milo joins us at an incredibly exciting time for The Engine and the Tough Tech ecosystem, with two core funds under management, our portfolio continues to prove that patient capital and solutions to the world’s collective challenges are becoming the norm in venture capital. Milo will be returning to the East Coast from California with her family this spring. Join me in welcoming her to The Engine and back to the broader Boston ecosystem.
You can read our official press release, with more details about Milo’s impressive background here.