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.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Angel Invest Boston



All Episodes
Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 19, 2017

The family of Wan Li Zhu did not see a future in China. His parents, persecuted by the one-party state, came to America when Wan Li was ten years old. China’s great loss became America’s brilliant gain.

Wan Li benefited from high-quality public education at Bronx High School of Science and went on to a perfect grade-point average at MIT. He studied under renowned quant wiz Andrew Lo and was poised for a career on Wall Street but was lured away by the prospect of hands-on responsibility for product features at Microsoft.

After a prodigiously successful stint, during which he was involved in building and marketing Dynamics CRM, MS’ fastest-growing product, he went to Harvard Business School. From HBS he was recruited by early-stage VC firm Fairhaven Capital.

The firm, known for its expertise in web security and digital advertising, now sees promise in various applications of artificial intelligence starting with self-driving technology. Wan Li is deeply engaged in bringing on the next generation of winning investments at Fairhaven Capital. Despite a busy professional life, Wan Li Zhu has found time to advise startups and to co-found MIT Angels in Boston. I learned a ton from my conversation with this wise, yet unassuming VC.

Here is a list of some of the topics broached:

  • Wan Li Zhu Bio
  • From Persecution in Communist China to Bronx High School of Science
  • Studied with MIT Professor Andrew Lo – Used Natural Language Processing to Assess Market Sentiment
  • Why Wan Li Zhu Went to Microsoft – Three Years at MS – Shipped Three Versions of the Product
  • Wan Li Zhu Connects with Fairhaven Capital through HBS Resume Book
  • Fairhaven Capital Is Thesis-driven – Attentive to Market Trends that Could Create Large Opportunities
  • How the Fairhaven Capital Portfolio Is Doing
  • What Wan Li Zhu Looks for in a Startup Investment
  • Experienced Founders Can Actually Time Markets
  • TVision Came Via MIT Angels – Measuring Engagement of TV Viewers
  • AirFox – Enabling Wireless Carriers to Offer More Affordable Data Plans
  • MIT Angels Company PathAI’s Deep Learning System Is Better at Detecting Tumor Cells than Human Pathologists
  • Latch – Enterprise-grade Keyless Access System for Apartment Buildings
  • The Investment Wan Li Zhu Regrets Not Making
  • Wise VC Wan Li Zhu Continues to Be Very Bullish on AI
Jul 5, 2017

Two brilliant scholarship kids became friends at Georgia Tech and went on to found a company that could change the world. This is the story of Matthew Stellmaker and Keith Hearon and of the good chemistry manifested in their friendship and in the creation of new polymers friendly to people and nature.

The idea came to Matthew when he was working at a large company that produces 50,000 tons of citrus waste per year. His friend Keith thought that he could do something interesting with the citrus rinds so Matthew got the company to fund the research into creating a use for this natural material.

These two young founders display remarkable self-knowledge and reveal discoveries in the art of founding companies that could help other founders, technical or not. It’s a valuable conversation that includes the following topics:

  • Keith Hearon Bio
  • Matthew Stellmaker Bio
  • Keith Hearon Views Himself as an Entrepreneur Who Uses Science to Commercialize Valuable Products – Inspired by Ken Gall, Founder & Inventor
  • How Keith & Mathew Became Friends
  • How to Find a Job in Architecture in a Down Market
  • Challenge of Langer Lab Further Energized Keith Hearon
  • How Poly6 Got Started
  • How Poly6 Zeroed in on its First Use Case
  • How Poly6 Zeroed in on its First Use Case
  • How Being Co-founders Changed Their Friendship
  • Should You Found a Company with Your Friend?
  • The Risks of Moonlighting
  • The Care & Feeding of Advisors – Busy People Generous with Their Time
  • Other Startups Matthew & Keith Admire

Sign Up to Hear of Upcoming In-person Events