Angel Invest Boston

Sal Daher

In the Decade of Biotech when there will be myriad opportunities to invest in angel-scale biotech startups. After decades of angel investing, I am focusing on the life science side of my portfolio and invite other angels to do the same. Here's why: https://www.labcoatventures.com/why-we-are-focused-on-early-stage-biotech/ I’m Sal Daher, host of the Angel Invest Boston Podcast. After immigrating to Boston as a child and attending Belmont High School, I studied engineering at MIT and Stanford. Decades of work in international finance followed. During that time, I invested in a handful of ventures founded by friends and acquaintances. Now, I’m a member of Walnut Ventures and MIT Angels and spend most of my time as an angel investor. Startups in my portfolio include: SQZ Biotech, Gelesis, Akili Interactive, Vedanta Biosciences, FineTune Learning, Concrete Sensors, Squadle, doDoc, Pixability, Mavrck, Viral Gains, Streamroot, XMOS, Alice's Table and others. Exits include: Exos (Microsoft), Rifiniti (KKR) and PIKA Energy (Generac).

Senan Ebrahim, MD and Priyanka Vaidya - Delfina: Safer Pregnancies
May 18 2022
Senan Ebrahim, MD and Priyanka Vaidya - Delfina: Safer Pregnancies
Angel-scale biotech: Learn More While at Harvard Medical School, Senan Ebrahim was deeply affected by witnessing a still birth. Convinced better data could have avoided the tragedy, he founded Delfina Care with Priyanka Vaidya from EMOTIV, the EEG platform, and his brother Ali Ebrahim, PhD, a former Tech Lead at Google. Senan and Priyanka joined me for a great chat about the exciting things happening in digital health.   Highlights:   Sal Daher Introduces Senan Ebrahim and Priyanka Vaidya of DelfinaSenan Ebrahim Was Interviewed in a Prior Episode Titled “Hikma Health”Obstetricians Are Flooded with Data from Pregnant Patients Leading to Poor OutcomesPriyanka Vaidya’s Experience with Gestational Diabetes Highlighted the Need to Coordinate Care“...I realized discontinuity of care is a major problem.”“Delfina wants to be that one place that integrates all of these discrete sources of data so that the mom stays in the center of the care...”Integrating Health Data Shows Up in Interviews with Jeremy Wiygul, MD of Pela Health and Ryan Hess of Connective Health“...how are we going to take better care of the four million pregnant moms in 2023 than we did in 2022?”Senan Reached Out to Priyanka for Product Savvy and to His Brother Ali for Experience Building Sophisticated Data ModelsThe Patient Journey at Delfina“This data is being enriched as the patient travels along the journey.”Machine Learning Is Just Starting to Do Useful Things in Medicine Like Identifying a Stroke Quickly or Predicting PreeclampsiaIncentives Are Aligned in Pregnancy Care; Nobody Wants Babies to End Up in Intensive CareWhat Delfina Means by “Closing the Loop” in Patient CareDelfina’s Platform Is Actually Live at a Practice in CaliforniaCommercialization Will Focus Initially on Under-Served PopulationsHow the Name “Delfina” Came AboutThe Founding Story of Delfina Care Topics: biotech, product, robotics / AI
Sean Kevlahan, PhD - Polymers, Pivots and Exits
May 11 2022
Sean Kevlahan, PhD - Polymers, Pivots and Exits
Angels helping biotech startups: Learn More Exited founder Sean Kevlahan, PhD tells the story of Quad Technologies and how an interesting polymer contributed to the explosion of cell therapies in the last decade. Sean gives great advice for biotech founders and investors, and joins Armon Sharei in my pantheon of chemical engineers who are gifted communicators. Sponsored by Purdue University entrepreneurship and Peter Fasse, patents attorney at Fish & Richardson. Highlights: Sal Daher Welcomes Sean Kevlahan, PhD, Founder of Quad Technologies“...how do you release a cell from a substrate [underlying substance] without killing a cell?”“Magnetic beads have been around for a while. Researchers use them to separate cells.”How Do You remove the Magnetic Beads without Killing the Cell?Quad Technologies’ Polymer Made It Possible to Remove the Magnetic Beads“When we first started out Quad, we focused on the academic markets.”The Success of CAR T-cell Therapies Opened Up an Opportunity for Quad -Help Multiply the CAR T-cellsEmily Whitehead, the First Patient Treated with CAR T-cell Therapy, Is in Remission for Ten YearsThe Aha Moment that Put Quad Technologies on the MapSean Kevlahan’s Epiphany Led to a Pivot and Product/Market FitRan Into Someone from Bio-Techne at the JP Morgan Conference & Discovered the Strategic FitBio-Techne Acquired Quad Technologies in July of 2018 – Investors Did Very WellSal Daher Is Eager to Learn About Sean Kevlahan’s Stealth Startup“Even in biotech winter exited founders who have had this kind of success are very much in demand.”Sean Kevlahan’s Grandfather Was an Entrepreneur, a Successful RestauranteurSean’s Entrepreneurship Activated by Hitting the “3-Year Wall” Doctoral Students ExperienceQuad’s Polymer Used to Be Just Coating for Microfluidics Chips; Sean and Adam Hatch Imagined Many More Uses“We went from obviously, biotech, which just makes the most sense to coating the undersides of boats for marine biofouling.”Due to MassChallenge, Quad’s Tech Was Used in the International Space StationSean Kevlahan Speaks Well of Northeastern University’s Tech Transfer OfficeQuad Raised $ 6 Million Which Qualifies as Angel-ScaleThe Vital Importance of Clear Messaging by Life Science Founders – Lose the Jargon!“...I have to do a mental check, and making sure that I'm not being too jargony.”Biotechnologies Are Multiplying and Creating a Cascade of OpportunitiesQuad Raised $ 6 Million from Fifteen Angel InvestorsSiamab Raised $ 14 Million from More than Forty AngelsGoing from Biotech Founder to Biotech Executive: Compare and ContrastJeff Behrens Recommends that Prospective Biotech Founders Get Experience at Big Biotech CompaniesParting Thoughts from Sean Kevlahan, PhD Topics: biotech, partnerships with strategics, pivot, returns, IP / patents, Mass Challenge
Justin Real, Founder - Realplay After COVID
May 4 2022
Justin Real, Founder - Realplay After COVID
Opportunities in Angel-Scale Biotech: Learn More Founder Justin Real tells us how Realplay Sports survived the COVID pause and set itself up to serve booming customer demand in 2022 and 2023. In the 2-year hiatus, Realplay expanded the type customers it can address and brought in partners to enrich its product offering. An inspiring chat with a compelling founder. Sponsored by Purdue University entrepreneuship and Peter Fasse, patent attorney at Fish & Richardson. Highlights: Sal Daher Welcomes Back Justin Real, Founder of Portfolio Company Realplay SportsJustin Real Diplomatically Notices That There’s a Lot Less Sal“...Realplay is a technology company with a goal of solving a problem for the amateur sports ecosystem.”Realplay Serves Mainly the 14 to 18-year-old Players Being Recruited. Younger Players Who Aspire to Be Recruited Also Forms a Significant Clientele“When they're watching the kid playing in the tournament venue, they can just enjoy the game instead of being there with the camera, taking a video...”The Impact of the Angel Invest Boston Podcast in Connecting Justin Real and LaunchpadErik Bullen Was an Early Believer in Realplay Sports2020 Was Supposed to Be a Big Growth Year for Realplay, Then COVID HitThe Big March 13th Event in Arizona that Never HappenedPotential Partners Began to Reach Out During COVID to Explore CollaborationsConnections Made During COVID Led to a Much Richer and Diverse Product Offering that Made Realplay More Compelling to UsersHow Realplay Stayed Alive in 2020Rapsodo Now Provides Pitch and Ball Tracking on RealplayIn 2021, Realplay Still Managed to Grow Despite All the UncertaintiesRealplay Expects 2022 to Set a Record for Growth in RevenuesJason Real Makes the Point that Zoom Lowers the Cost of Taking a Meeting with Someone and thus Makes People More Willing to Take MeetingsRealplay’s Current Challenge Is Stepping Up to the Expected Tripling of Business in 2023Peter Thiel’s Advice on Follow-On InvestmentsParting Thoughts from Justin Real, Founder of Realplay Sports: Gratitude + Watch Out for That Curveball  Topics: product, raising money, partnerships with strategics, COVID
Aaron Michel, Founder and VC - 1984 Ventures
Apr 27 2022
Aaron Michel, Founder and VC - 1984 Ventures
The promise of angel-scale biotech: Learn More Founder & VC Aaron Michel of 1984.vc on portfolio companies, Reggora, Faimarkit and Relevize and how they exemplify the firm’s approach to seed-stage investing. Aaron also gives Sal a mind-expanding suggestion on angel-scale biotech. Compelling & jargon-free! Sponsored by Purdue University entrepreneurship and Peter Fasse, patent attorney at Fish & Richardson Sal Daher, CFA Introduces Aaron Michel, Venture Capitalist at 1984.VCReggora: “...they're just enabling the lenders to do an appraisal almost in an Uberized fashion, in a much faster and much more efficient way than it used to be.”Brian & Will of Reggora Sold $5 Million of Real Estate in their Senior Year at Boston UniversityA Dorm Room Business Helped the Founders of Reggora Discover a Scalable Business OpportunityFairmarkit Is Automating the Enterprise Procurement ProcessRelevize – Helps Companies Sell Better via Channel PartnersRelevize Gives Channel Partners Digital Advertising Content and Then Monitors PerformanceAaron Michels Founded PathSource to Help People Find the Right CareerSal’s Partner Bob Smith Was Not Cut Out for the Law But was a Natural Entrepreneur“Both my parents are professors. They were both professors at Boston University. Both had started companies.”CareerPath’s PivotHow Aaron Michel Crossed Over from Being an Operator to Being a VC“Ideally, you can choose your competitor set.”“For B2B actually, we are open to investing pre-launch, as long as there's a product.”Aaron Michel’s Mind-Expanding Suggestion for How Better to Address the Opportunities of Angel-Scale Biotech“VCs tend to overvalue their advice and undervalue their introductions.” Topics: founding story, competition, venture capital
Qiuyan Xu, PhD, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor- Gravitate AI
Apr 20 2022
Qiuyan Xu, PhD, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor- Gravitate AI
Why angel-scale biotech is so promising: Learn More Qiuyan Xu, PhD is a statistician, an entrepreneur and a colleague at Walnut. We talked about the startups she has invested in, her immigrant journey and the work she does at Gravitate AI ( Sponsors: Purdue University entrepreneurship & Peter Fasse, patent attorney at Fish & Richardson Highlights: Sal Daher Introduces Qiuyan Xu, PhD, Statistician, Entrepreneur and Angel InvestorQiuyan Xu Talks About Her Investment in AOA DiagnosticsQiuyan Xu Talks About Her Investment in Octagon TherapeuticsWhat Sal Daher Looks for in an Academic FounderQiuyan Xu Wonders About the Long Holds in Life Science Investments“It's an important thing to remember now that the early-stage, angel-scale life science investing is really, really just beginning to take off.”“There are some angels who have done very successfully, with just a handful of companies.”“Weeding out the obvious losers. I think it makes a lot of sense.”We Still Know Surprisingly Little in the Life SciencesQiuyan Xu Came to the US in 2003 to Study Statistics at UC Davis“...I got my PhD in 2008, in statistics, in the middle of a recession.”What Drove Qiuyan Xu to Become an EntrepreneurQiuyan Xu’s Company Is Gravitate AI ( AI Helps with Data Cleaning & Automation as Well as Customizing Open-Source AI SolutionsHow Qiuyan Xu Became an Angel InvestorContagious EnthusiasmQiuyan Xu’s Advice to Angel Investors“You're urging angels to step right in, but at the same time, exercise control and have a budget.”Advice to Founders Topics: robotics / AI, discovering entrepreneurship, angel investing strategies
Slater Victoroff, Founder - Indico Data
Apr 13 2022
Slater Victoroff, Founder - Indico Data
Angel-scale biotech is hot: Learn More Slater Victoroff founded Indico Data in his dorm room at Olin in 2012. Two years later Indico had gone through Techstars and was VC-backed. Hear the story of how making deep learning accessible to enterprise customers led to massive growth. Sponsored by Purdue University entrepreneurship and Peter Fasse, patent attorney at Fish & Richardson Highlights: Sal Daher Introduces Slater Victoroff, Founder and CTO of Indico DataIndico Was Founded in a Dorm Room in 2012, Two Years Later They Raised $3 million in an Oversubscribed RoundMachine Learning Is Programming with Data Rather than CodeDeep Learning Is Characterized by a Focus on Unstructured Data i.e., Text, Audio and ImagesIndico’s Original Aim Was to Make Deep Learning Accessible to Software DevelopersSlater Victoroff Founded Indico Because Most Innovation in Deep learning Was Driven by IndustryIndico’s Experience at TechstarsSemyon Dukach Saw Promise in Indico Others Did Not“...Techstars really helped us understand was that we were real.”Why Slater Victoroff Gave Up the CEO RoleThe Shift to Enterprise Clients and Massive GrowthStellar Customer Satisfaction Metrics Was the SecretSlater Victoroff Was an Unlikely FounderAbout Hiring Machine Learning TalentSlater’s Work at .406 VenturesWhat Sets Olin College ApartHow Textbooks Empower the Self-Directed LearnersWhy Slater Victoroff Does Not Invest in the Life SciencesParting Thoughts from Slater Victoroff Topics: founding story, robotics / AI, Techstars
Jeremy Wiygul, MD - Pelvic Floor Connected Health
Apr 6 2022
Jeremy Wiygul, MD - Pelvic Floor Connected Health
Angel-scale biotech is exploding: Learn More Practicing urologist and founder Jeremy Wiygul, MD believes millions of people are suffering needlessly due to the inadequate delivery of effective treatment, among these his own wife. Pelex aims to use new technology to integrate existing resources and greatly enhance patient outcomes for people with pelvic floor problems such as incontinence. A fun chat with a compelling founder. Sponsors: Purdue University entrepreneurship and Peter Fasse, patent attorney at Fish & Richardson Highlights: Sal Daher Introduces Jeremy Wiygul, MD Founder of Pelex“...up to 60 million Americans are affected by one form or another of pelvic floor disorders.”Pelex Combines a Connected Device and a Telehealth Platform to Provide Effective CarePelex Intends to Bring Together the Right Provider, the Right Treatment and the Right Delivery of CareConsumer-Grade Pelvic Floor Devices Are Hit or MissParallels to Imago Rehab Which Delivers Physical Therapy Remotely via a Connected DeviceConnected with Jeremy Wiygul via Chrissy Glover of Imago RehabJeremy Wiygul’s Own Physical Rehab Informs His WorkWhy Would a Urologist with a Practice in New Your City Found a Startup?What’s the Innovation Pelex Is Bringing to Market?The Regulatory Strategy to Build Value in the Long Run“...we feel very strongly that our outcomes are going to be above, and significantly better than any other service that's out there.”Strategy with Regards to Intellectual PropertyThe Combination of Practitioner, Care and Delivery Has the Potential to Build a Brand Based on Dramatic Improvements in Outcomes for PatientsIf the Wife of an Urologist Struggles to Get the Right Care in Her Husband’s Specialty, There’s Obviously a ProblemContact jeremy@pelex-med.com if You Have the Problem or Want to HelpExit StrategyThe Power of Bringing the Right Technology to Market at the Right TimeLearn More at Chrissy Glover of Imago Rehab for the Introduction to Jeremy Wiygul Topics: biotech, discovering entrepreneurship, software
Erik Bullen - Founder, Angel and Listener
Mar 30 2022
Erik Bullen - Founder, Angel and Listener
Erik Bullen, founder, angel and listener, gives us an overview of his startups and how his life has changed since exiting his last company. Highlights: Sal Daher Introduces Erik Bullen, Angel, Founder & ListenerErik Bullen Is Excited About Focal Point, a SaaS Solution in the Procurement Space“It's one of those stories where he could not find a solution to actually solve this problem so... I'm going to create my own solution and build my own company.”Anders Lillevik of Focal Point Was on the Fence About Joining Techstars Atlanta; It Turned Out Well“What Focal Point does is it integrates a lot of the other silos that are out there.”How Erik Bullen Reshaped His Work Life After Selling His Company“...Guidely is targeting...alternate methods of mental health and personal development and using techniques, not clinical techniques...”Cyberthentic: “...a very novel way to prevent email business compromise...”“It's actually complementary to some of the other cybersecurity solutions out there.”Meenta Grew Exponentially During COVIDGabor Bethelendy’s First Startup Failed; a Few Months Later Gabor Was Starting MeentaGabor Bethlendy Met His Co-Founder Stephan Smith Because Their Sons Got into Fisticuffs at SchoolRealplay: Simplifying Sports Videos for Tournament VenuesRealplay Cameras Record Tournament Play, Its Algorithm Finds and Tags Crucial PartsErik Bullen and Justin Real of Real Play Developed a Close Advisory RelationshipErik Bullen Was Born in Bremen to a German Mom and an American DadBiked 10 Miles in His Suit During a Virginia Summer to Get to a Job Interview!“"Looks like you need a beer." He goes over a fridge gets me a beer. This is a very different interview than I was expecting.”“It was formative for me in terms of really loving starting things and building things as well.”"Hey, by the way, your van is smoking."Erik Bullen Worked in Amsterdam in Digital Marketing; World Wildlife Fund & International Red Cross Were ClientsErik Bullen Eventually Headed Global Services at BrightcoveSal Daher Asks Erik Bullen About Obstacles to Investing in BiotechKnowledge About the Science and the Industry Is the First ObstacleLong Investment Hold and Capital Requirements Are the Second Obstacle“Life Sciences would be great, but you know what, I can't spread myself too thin either.”“I'm big on finding solutions and supporting cancer research...but I have not invested in a company that focuses on that area.”Sal Daher’s Perspective on the Knowledge Problem in the Life SciencesWhy Sal Daher Is Bullish on Daphne Zohar and PureTech HealthWhy Sal Daher Is Focusing on Angel-Scale BiotechRockStep Solutions and VistaPath Bio Are Examples of Software Eating the Life Sciences“Most of these companies are going to end up being bought by a strategic.”The Angel Invest Boston Podcast Introduced Erik Bullen to Angel InvestingCompare & Contrast: Walnut Ventures, Launchpad and TBD AngelsErik Bullen’s Parting Thoughts