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: June, 2017
Jun 21, 2017

Tivan Amour is reinventing how urban bikes are designed and sold. This is a tall order. The competition is ferocious. Wise counsel is justifiably skeptical of the possibility of success in this endeavor. Yet, Tivan is gaining traction with his approach. He may be defying the odds.

This young repeat founder bristles with energy but is also capable of contemplation. He is a growth hacker familiar with the Socratic Dialogue. He is hugely ambitious yet generous with the less fortunate.  It was great fun interviewing him and he taught me a bunch of things. Among these were the real value of Techstars to founders and some pointers on growing a customer base.

Here is a list of the topics covered:

  • Tivan Amour Bio
  • What Effect Did Working for AT&T While Still in College Have in Tivan’s Life?
  • Tivan as a Product Manager at Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Tivan Starts His First Company
  • Tivan Decides Boston Is Just Right for Him
  • What Tivan Learned from Volunteering at BUILD
  • How Tivan Structures His Day
  • Tivan’s First Company Pivots
  • Genesis of Fortified Bike – New Way to Market to Bike Shops – Cutting Out Distributors
  • Fortified Bike Goes into Techstars
  • The Real Value of Techstars to the Founder
  • Changing Co-founders
  • com Has Won Plaudits from Experts for Its Efficacy – Tivan’s Advice on Building a Website
Jun 7, 2017

Armon Sharei wants to train our immune system to fight cancer. We hear a lot of claims like this, however when a mega-pharmaceutical company like Roche inks a $500 million deal to work on it, we pay attention. At age 29, Armon convinced not only Roche but gimlet-eyed VCs to back him. How did he do this? How did he go from a boy living in Iran to being one of the stars of MIT’s storied Langer Lab?

Part of Armon’s secret is the ability to explain thickly complex ideas in accessible language that does not over simplify. He is that rarest of creatures, a scientist of the first rank that speaks lucidly and acts practically. I am grateful that Armon took time out from curing cancer to share his experiences with us in this inspiring interview.

If you are a scientist thinking of founding a company or an investor thinking of investing in a biotech startup you could learn a lot by listening to this interview with Armon Sharei (as well as the interview with biotech founder & investor Patrick Rivelli Patrick Rivelli Interview). Among the topics covered are:

  • Armon Sharei Bio
  • Childhood Spent in Iran & Dubai, Finished High School in Marin County
  • Why Armon Sharei Wanted to Be a Scientist
  • Why Leave Edenic Bay Area for Purgatorial Boston?
  • SQZ Technology Comes from Failed Attempt to Shoot Genetic Materials into Cells
  • How the Idea of Starting a Company Came About
  • “I think one of the main examples, which is kind of the subject we've been pursuing most deeply at the company in two different projects, is the idea of telling the immune system what to target in the context of cancer”.
  • SQZ Technology Excels at Getting Protein Fragments into Cells – Very Promising Method of Training Our Immune System to Fight Cancer
  • Sal Asks Listeners to Subscribe & Review on iTunes – Podcast Has Great Guests & Sound
  • Biotech Fundraising Is Hard – Armon Sharei’s Advice on Fundraising
  • Armon Sharei Finds a Lead Investor for His Angel Round
  • SQZ Biotech’s Pivot from Selling their Tech as a Tool to Looking for Therapies
  • “…over 70 or 80% of scientists want to put stuff into cells for some reason. I think aside from looking under a microscope there's nothing that they want to do more”.
  • Therapy Research Is Risky, But Tool Business Was Harder Than It Looked, Besides Armon Really Wanted to Do Science
  • The Board Was Essential in the Pivot from Being a Tool Company to Becoming a Therapy Company
  • How Does a 29 Year-old Negotiate a $500 Million Deal with a Major Corporation?
  • Hiring the Right People Is the Most Important Thing a Founder Does, Look for Cultural Fit