Angel Invest Boston

Through the Angel Invest Boston Podcast we seek to learn more about the creation of world-changing startups. Boston’s unique concentration of academic talent and entrepreneurial culture offer bountiful opportunities for conversations with people who have funded and built innovative companies. By recounting engaging stories, angels and founders convey lessons they have learned. These narratives illustrate the rewards of helping founders commercialize transformative technologies. We hope you too will find our dialogues entertaining and instructive. 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 taking stakes in about a dozen startups per year.
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Angel Invest Boston



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Now displaying: January, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

As a venture capitalist Fred Bamber helped build such successful companies as Interleaf, Q1 Labs and Volt Server. Now working as an angel investor Fred is invested in such exciting companies as SQZ Biotech, Pixability, Streamroot and ViralGains. In his self-effacing and modest way, Fred reveals deep wisdom gained from 75 investments in his venture capital career. Here are some of the topics covered:

  • Fred Bamber Finds His Career Path
  • Avoiding the Military Draft Led Him to Work for His First Startup
  • Fred Bamber & Friend Found a Venture Fund – Consulting vs. Venture Capital
  • IPOs Then & Now
  • Investment in Interleaf Makes His First Fund a Success!
  • Two Ways of Connecting in the World of Venture Capital – Via Success & Via Failure
  • Several Losing Investments in Companies Seeking to Exploit the Piezoelectric Effect
  • Themes In Angel Investing – Investing in Brand New Fields i.e. White Spaces
  • ‘…Oracle has a huge go-to-market cost, and engineering is a tiny bit of it.’
  • Technology Causing Convergence of Consumer & Enterprise Businesses
  • Startups with Jeff Weiss - The Perils of Being Early – Early Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Rich Lane & Reflection Technology – Augmented Reality-like – Projecting Text into the Eye
  • Progress of Technology Is Painful – “Thread Across The Ocean” by John Steele Gordon
  • Michael Lewis & Drama in Business – Paul English & “A Truck Full of Money”
  • Paul English Finds His Inner Entrepreneur after Interleaf
  • Robert P. Smith & “Riches Among the Ruins” – Not Made for Working In Large Companies
  • VCs Should Be Humble
  • Fred Talks About His Investment in Volt Server
  • Uber & Washington, D.C. Cabs
  • Peter Thiel’s Critique of Entrepreneurship – “We Were Promised Flying Cars and We Got 140 Characters”
  • SQZ Biotech & Massachusetts Materials Technology
  • What Fred Looks For In a Startup – Technology, Coachability, Tenacity, Openess – VC vs Angel
  • Startups Should Report Frequently – Reports Should Tie In to Previous Reports i.e. Close the Loop
  • Angel Investor Should Be Father Confessor without the Ave Marias
  • Bettina Hein & Pixability – Example of Determination Combined with Openess
  • Beth Marcus’ Test For Listening
  • Fred Bamber’s Suggestion of the Perfect Number of Angel Investments in a Portfolio
  • Why Sal Daher Is Invested In About 42 Companies
  • The Role of a Board of Directors – Father Confessor
  • Fred’s Favorite Pivot – Q1 Labs (IBM)
  • Fred Also Likes Streamroot’s Pivots
  • Q1 Labs Pivot Runs Counter the Received Wisdom of Startups Needing a Narrow Focus to Succeed
  • “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore
  • “Why Knowledge Matters” by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
Jan 18, 2017

Dr. Marcus has founded several startups including Exos and Zeemote. The technologies on which her companies are based tend to be widely adopted. Very few inventors can say that their invention is in the hands of ten million people. Beth has those bragging rights. She is a recognized expert in the hand-device interface and has provided strategic advice to leading firms in the space. She is also a highly sought-after advisor to startups with particular understanding of product design and fundraising for technology-based enterprises. Her thoughts can be found on Twitter @StartupDoc. Beth, is a graduate of MIT and Imperial College, London, and continues to be involved with both institutions. She is Entrepreneur In Residence at Imperial College London.

In this chatty and candid episode, Beth Marcus imparts some of the hard-earned lessons that can help an entrepreneur turn a defeat into victory. She recounts the story of the remarkable pivot she executed at Exos which led the company from a rout to a very attractive sale to Microsoft. She provides her views on IP strategy, boards of directors, venture capitalists and hiring.

Among the luminaries that play a role in the conversation are Bob Metcalfe, Ed Roberts and Pierluigi Zappacosta. 

Jan 11, 2017

Ben Littauer travelled an unlikely path from philosophy to communications technology. He brings to life the exciting turns in his careers as founder and angel investor.  In his light-hearted style, Ben provides a thoughtful tour of Boston’s angel scene in this episode that ranges over many topics including equity crowdfunding.  In particular, he explains what leads founders to make the worst fund-raising mistake of all. The philosopher’s clarity of thought and the engineer’s practicality are in evidence.

Sign up at  if you want to be made aware of upcoming in-person events. Obviously, this is of particular interest if you are in Boston or environs.

You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and on Twitter @AngelInvestBOS

Topics on this podcast:


Equity Crowdfunding

Angel Investing in New England

Cornell University

Harvard Law School

Baranof Software

Walnut Venture Associates, Boston Harbor Angels, Launchpad, Comparison & Contrast

The Capital Network

Mass Challenge

Connection between Coding & Philosophy


BBN, Lotus, Lotus 123, Sun Microsystems


MS Excel

VisiCalc, Bob Frankston

Mitch Kapor





MS-DOS, Notework

LAN, Local Area Network, Ethernet, Bob Metcalfe

EMA, Electronic Messaging Association

Paul Graham, Y Combinator

Michael Mark

Babson College

Christopher Mirabile, Ham Lord

Angel Treaty

Boston vs. Silicon Valley

CIC, Cambridge Innovation Center

Kickstarter, Indiegogo

JOBS Act, Reg CF

WeFunder, Mike Norman

NetCapital, Troupe Jewelery, Kitsy Lane

Jan 11, 2017

Ralph Wagner recalls his journey of self-discovery that led from failure in engineering to incandescent success in marketing and sales. The man who could not do calculus or write code excelled at identifying and exploiting opportunities created by computer technology. In this interview one sees that Ralph’s captivating personality is firmly ballasted by good sense and common decency. It is made evident how his interest in people was vital to the success of his many ventures.

If you liked this episode subscribe in iTunes or Google Play so that new episodes will automatically appear in your player. You can find us by searching for Sal Daher or Angel Invest Boston. Do take the time to review us.

Sign up at Angel Invest Boston Signup  if you want to be made aware of upcoming in-person events. Obviously, this is of particular interest if you are in Boston or environs.

You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and on Twitter @AngelInvestBOS

Topics we touched on:

Success after flunking calculus


Apple Computers

Kurzweil Learning Systems, Ray Kurzweil


KeyFile, Jim Stenzel

Bob Moll, Moll Associates

Arthur D. Little

Meditech, Ed Roberts, Neil Pappalardo

Michael Mark, Interleaf

Steve Watson, Computerland

Visicalc, impact of the first spreadsheet software available on a personal computer


Steve Gaal, TA Associates

Tony Helies

Walnut Venture Associates, Jim Massarelli, Data General

Julian Lange, Visicalc, Software Arts, Babson College

Microsoft Excel, Lotus 123

Eyal Shavit, Software Development Corporation, Underware, Brief, Barry Bycoff, Netegrity

Stefan Mehlhorn, Permessa, Collego, Loop Pay

Jay Singh, Dan Levin, Doron Gan, Tod Loofbourrow, ViralGains

Kendall Tucker, Polis, David Solomont

Jan 11, 2017

In our inaugural episode, angel investing prodigy Michael Marks tells fascinating stories that take us from the precocious founding of his first company to his being a highly-prized investor in hundreds of startups today. The narratives are interwoven with entertaining observations of subjects ranging from comedians to co-founders. Some of the most interesting pivots (radical changes of business plan) are elucidated. Michael’s dry wit and unassuming manner make his deep wisdom accessible to all of us.

If you liked this episode subscribe in iTunes or Google Play so that new episodes will automatically appear in your player. You can find us by searching for Sal Daher or Angel Invest Boston.

Sign up at Sign Up  if you want to be made aware of upcoming in-person events. Obviously, this is of particular interest if you are in Boston or environs.

You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and on Twitter @AngelInvestBOS

In this conversation we touched on:

The best pivots ever!

Need for focus

When to pivot

How frequently business plans work out

Hiring a CEO

Qualities of the founders

Role of luck in startups

I What a board of directors can do for the startup

How Michael got started in entrepreneurship



Loop Pay

Bettina Hein

Beth Marcus

Will Graylin

Progress Software