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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Now displaying: March, 2018
Mar 28, 2018

Invest with Boston's Leading Angels.

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Roboticist Keenan Wyrobek’s first career was founding Willow Garage which created ROS (Robot Operating System) that now makes robotic components inter-operable. After creating a foundation to sustain this vital piece of open source software, Keenan went in search of new engineering challenges. He became intrigued with the idea of helping developing countries deliver crucial medical supplies to areas that are poorly served by roads. He co-founded Zipline, the VC funded venture that is improving the lives of people in rural Rwanda. Zipline is now poised for profitable growth. Listen to this inspiring and brilliant engineer speak passionately about solving major problems while building a business.

Topics covered:

  • Sal’s Pitch for Angel Invest Boston Syndicates
  • Sal’s Introduction of Keenan Wyrobek
  • How Keenan Wyrobek Became an Engineer
  • Keenan Wyrobek Starts Willow Garage & Creates ROS (Robot Operating Systems) the Ubiquitous Open Source Software that Makes Robot Components Inter-Operable
  • Robotics: 90% Software & 10% Hardware?
  • Keenan Wyrobek Stumbles upon the Idea of Zipline
  • “And I think the reason we got that traction in our conversations is that this was a really visceral problem. Everybody's one degree away from it. It's either your grandmother or you or your sister has gone to the hospital and the doctor says, "I could have helped you, but I don't have X."”
  • It Took Two and a Half Years to Refine the Solution for Delivering Perishable Medical Supplies with Drones
  • “Our first plane had a wingspan that was probably about four feet and what we operate now is 10 feet. So it's went from a plane you could carry under your arm with no problem to a thing that's a beast.”
  • VCs Saw a Huge Opportunity
  • In the Midst of the Drone Craze in 2014 & 2015, Zipline Was Quietly Making Progress
  • New Version of the Drone Is Built to Scale
  • Keenan Wyrobek’s Advice to Young People Interested in Drones
  • Parting Words
Mar 28, 2018




Joe Meyer founded ExecThread,, to solve a pain point he felt acutely himself. Joe had sold his company to Apple and, after the obligatory stint at the acquirer, was looking for a senior executive position. He was astonished when he revealed all sorts of important things about his career profile to a recruiter and the recruiter did not take notes. That’s when it hit him that the recruiting industry was totally broken and he decided to build a solution for the problem. Two and half years later he has $7MM in VC funding and 25,000 highly selected and engaged users helping him map where the “hidden jobs” are. Among his backers is a co-founder of LinkedIn who was astonished that ExecThread could be aware of the “passive job seeker”, execs who would entertain an offer but who are not seeking a new position actively. Listen to this interview with a founder building a company that promises to be very big and very profitable.

Some of the topics addressed:

  • Sal Daher’s Pitch for Angel Invest Boston Syndicates
  • Introduction of the Guest
  • “Absolutely. I also experienced the pain point when I hired executive recruiters as a hiring manager at my last two companies as well, so I've seen it both from the candidate-facing perspective now, as well as from the client or hiring-company perspective.”
  • How ExecThread Works – Accessing the “Hidden Job Market” for High-Level Execs
  • “I quickly realized, though, that this walled-garden approach in the executive search industry actually benefits executive recruiters much more than it does hiring companies, and far more than it does candidates.”
  • “…we've created the largest aggregator of non-listed and non-published jobs in the world, that you won't find on any other job platform out there.”
  • How ExecThread Got VC Funding
  • LinkedIn Co-Founder Lee Hower about Execthread: “"Wow, you guys have access to the passive job-seeker."
  • Joe Meyer Speaking of Executive Recruiters: “…I gave them everything that wasn't on my LinkedIn profile, and the thing that amazed me was, they didn't write it down.”
  • “For an incredibly manual process that we think can be largely automated. And there's a lot of inefficiency in this industry, but there's also a large appetite to pay for solutions.”
Mar 14, 2018

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In college, Diane Stokes juggled caring for a sick mother, working full-time, doing ROTC and even had time to be on U Mass Lowell’s cheer leading squad. This energy and focus served her well as she progressed in her career of helping build startup after startup. Eventually, Diane founded a startup of her own. It succeeded beyond her greatest expectations. She invested as an angel for a while but is now back at another startup, helping them grow. My conversation with her revealed a personality of impressive determination and stamina leavened by good humor and genuine caring. I really enjoyed this interview, I think you will too.

Topics covered include:

  • Diane Stokes Bio
  • While in College, Diane Stokes Cared for Her Sick Mother, Worked Full-time, Did ROTC and Still Found Time to Be on the Cheerleading Squad
  • How Diane Stokes Found Her Path in Work Life
  • How Diane Stokes Juggled Her Transition from Engineering to Sales While Being a Mom and Getting Her MBA
  • Diane Stokes Left a Poorly Managed Startup and Went to a Second One that Got Acquired by Chipcom, a Particularly Well-run Company at Chipcom Diane Learned a Lot
  • Diane Stokes Realizes She Wants the Startup Life
  • Diane Stokes, Tri-Athlete
  • Sal Daher Reads an iTunes Review by TDN7 – Insightful Review
  • How Diane Stokes Founded her First Startup – Spoiler Alert: Moonlighting Involved
  • In Many Ways, ORP Was the Perfect Startup for Diane Stokes to Co-Found
  • What Diane Stokes Thought She Knew About Startups but Didn’t
  • The Most Useful Things Diane Stokes Learned from Co-Founding ORP – Number of Founders Is Critical
  • The Most Important Thing Sal Daher Learned at The Venture Café 😉
  • Why Diane Stokes Is Going Back to the Startup Life
  • Important Disclosure About Diane Stokes
  • Diane Stokes Has Joined Wireless Startup Wyebot Heading Up Marketing
  • Diane Stokes Gets Sal to Reveal the Exact Reason He Started the Podcast
  • Parting Thoughts from Diane Stokes