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   60 episodes



Angel Invest Boston

Sal Daher

60 episodes

Oct 21, 2020

Wade Lange - Startups at Purdue 

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Purdue wants to be Startup U. They are already the #3 university in the US for producing startups, right behind MIT and Columbia. One of my favorite companies, Savran Technologies, came out of Purdue.  I spoke with Wade Lange of Purdue Foundry, responsible for promoting startups at Purdue. Several interesting Purdue startups were discussed.


  • Sal Daher Welcomes Listeners and Introduces Wade Lange from Purdue Foundry
  • Wade Lange Was Introduced by Çağrı Savran of “One Cell in a Billion” Fame
  • On Savran Tech: “It's a promising technology. I mean, it's all about capturing really, really rare cells.”
  • Purdue, being a Land Grant College Combines and Excellent School of Agriculture with a Top Engineering Program
  • “…good news for Purdue. We were ranked number three in the country in the number of startup companies in the period of 2008 to 2018 behind your own MIT and Columbia…”
  • “We called it Firestarter, it's a nine week-long program, pretty intense, but it really is kind of the basics of business.”
  • DDX Accelerator Program – All About Identifying & Removing Obstacles
  • “Marc Andreessen said it some years ago that software is eating the world. It actually now is biotech that's eating the world.”
  • Professor Phillip Low, Founder of Endocyte, Launching an Antiviral Company
  • SpeechVive Helps Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Communicate Reliably
  • Spensa Technologies Is Applying Machine Vision to Identifying Insects, Weeds and Other Problems in Agriculture
  • Perceive Inc. Helps Retailers Identify Patterns in Stores
  • Sal Daher Talks About His Investment Syndicate
  • Wade Lange’s Entrepreneurial Journey
  • “I would rather be a big fish in a small pond was my thinking. So, I joined a startup was started by a couple of faculty members, at Purdue.”
  • How Wade Lange Came to the Purdue Foundry
  • “Purdue’s President Daniels wants Purdue to be known as startup U, okay.”
  • Sal Daher Makes a Plug for Purdue as a Great Place to Be an Undergrad
  • “…my connection to Çağrı came because of my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law is a patent attorney at Fish and Richardson.”
  • “…founding entrepreneurs who have deep relationships with 25 other founders, 10 industry experts, and eight investors. They had double the revenue growth of founders who didn't.”
  • Wade Lange on the Advantages of Growing Your Startup Near Purdue


Oct 14, 2020

Jeff Behrens, PhD - Why You're Wrong About Biotech Funding 

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Jeff Behren's doctoral dissertation suggests that life science startups are not funded the way we all think. Listen to our discussion of his work and learn why he believes we have to revise what is taught to founders about raising money.


  • Sal Daher Welcomes Jeff Behrens Back on the Podcast to Discuss His Findings on Biotech Funding
  • “We published papers. We had a world class SAB, and ultimately, we sold these drugs. So, during that, you'd think, "Well, we should be able to raise venture capital." We never could.”
  • The Conventional Wisdom about How Life Science Startups Are Funded
  • Casma Therapeutics as an Example of a Startup Born Inside a Venture Firm
  • “There was no Lisa and Joe… There [was] no outside founders. This was born inside the venture firm.”
  • Jeff’s Research Result: Only 8% of All Startups Follow Path of Angel Funding Then VC Funding
  • Jeff’s Research Result: For Biotech Startups, 4.5% of those that Started with Angel Money Got VC Funding
  • “So, it's almost like these are two distinct entrepreneurial streams that don't intermingle very much.”
  • Angel Investors Should Not Expect Future Rounds to Come from VCs – Should Think About How to Fund Future Rounds in the Absence of VC Money
  • "Well, we want to have fewer new companies and more companies that we invest longer and heavier and over time."
  • Jeff’s Research Result: In a Decade VC-Started Biotechs Went from Taking 20% of Funded Deals to Taking 80%
  • The Big Biotech VCs Don’t Take Pitches from Outside Companies Anymore
  • Only 3% Funding Goes to the Scrappy Biotechs Who Were Not VC-Founded or Did Not Have Famous Founders
  • Scrappy Biotech Startups Need to Draw a Credible Path that Does Not Include VC Funding
  • Corporate Venture Groups Created to Allow Big Players to Look at New Technologies
  • Being Funded by a Corporate VC Does Not Seem to Increase the Chances of a Venture Being Acquired
  • Trends Among Life-Science VCs Vary Geographically: Boston, NY vs. West Coast
  • “We never take pitches” – Dave Berry - Partner - Flagship Pioneering
  • Accelerators, Business Schools, Advisors Need to Revise their Ideas about Funding of Biotech Startups
  • “So, it is true that Polaris is probably... Of these companies that are doing venture creation, they're probably more balanced than the others.”
  • Path Dependency of Funding
  • “…unfortunately, great science can languish unfunded.”
  • Parting Thoughts from Jeff Behrens, PhD

Oct 7, 2020

Eilon Shalev - Elphi: Hacking Mortgages 

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Mortgage origination is a massive business deeply stuck in the past. Proof: in 2020 it still takes an average of 45 days to approve a mortgage. Israeli founder Eilon Shalev and his buddies from MIT Sloan School aim to change all that with their startup Elphi.


  • Sal Daher Welcomes Listeners & Introduces Eilon Shalev of Elphi
  • What Elphi Does
  • The Non-Linearity of Mortgage Applications Is a Huge Problem – Average Time to Approval: 45 Days
  • “We have a paying customer and the software is live today with that lender. That lender is a non-depository mortgage lender, which means it is not a bank.”
  • The Current State of the Mortgage Origination Business
  • A Shout out to Sonal Singh of Spatio Metrics for Connecting Sal Daher and Eilon Shalev
  • The Founding Story of Elphi
  • Why University Tuition Is So Astronomically High
  • How Eilon Shalev Shifted His Focus from Student Financing to Mortgages
  • “I was obligated to just try to choose the most problematic problem I can find from that large industry and try to solve it.”
  • The Elphi Team
  • Sal Daher Plugs His Investment Syndicate
  • Eilon Shalev’s Entrepreneurial Journey
  • Parting Thoughts from Eilon Shalev
  • “…one of the main reasons that there was no innovation in that particular space for those particular problems is the high barriers to entry. Once you overcome those barriers to entry, you are that kid in a candy shop…”

Sep 30, 2020

Matt Fates, VC & Angel Investor 

Sep 23, 2020

David Glazer - Biotech Deal Wiz 

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Unlike software startups that can scale with minimal resources, biotech startups need frequently to rely on collaborations with big strategic players to get to scale. This is an interview with one of the top attorneys in arranging such deals, David Glazer of Morgan Lewis. I learned much from David; I hope you will too.


  • Sal Daher Introduces David Glazer of Morgan Lewis, the Biotech Deal Wiz
  • Why Collaborations with Strategic Partners Are So Necessary for Biotech Startups
  • Sal Connected with David by Courtesy of Armon Sharei of SQZ Biotech; David Advised SQZ on the $1.3 Billion Roche Deal
  • Collaborations May Last Ten or Twenty Year; Picking the Right Partner is Crucial
  • A Strategic Partner Can Be Immensely Valuable with Dealing with the Complexities & Cost of Getting a Compound of Technology to Market
  • Strategics Offer Clinical, Regulatory & Commercial Expertise Startups Lack
  • “You got one partner signed up and then the dominoes start to fall, it provides a validation.”
  • The Topics that Dominate the Discussions Between Biotech Startups and Strategic Partners
  • The Tradeoffs Central to the Negotiations
  • An Important Metric of Biotech Deals Is Elucidated
  • Picking Mechanisms Determine Who Takes the Lead in Which Circumstance
  • Reward Follows Risk in Biotech Deals
  • “Careful what you ask for when you're the biotech company…” – The Law of Unintended Consequences
  • Collaborations Can Give Startups the Capacity to Develop Their Own Internal Projects
  • Resources from Collaborations Can Help Startups Mature Their Tech
  • “I would say I spend about 50% of my time with the pharmaceutical, the strategic players, and about 50% with biotechs.”
  • Since They Represent both Biotechs & Strategics, Morgan Lewis Has a Good Sense of What Motivates the Players and What Deals Can Get Done
  • How Deals Go Awry
  • Sal Daher Puts in a Plug for His Syndicate List
  • How David Glazer Became a Biotech Deal Maker
  • “…then in 2000, the [tech] bubble popped and I ended up spending almost all of my time working for the pharmaceutical and biotech companies back in the day.”
  • How the Acquisition of One of His Clients Expanded David Glazer’s Network
  • Morgan Lewis Has Afforded David Glazer the Opportunity to Do Interesting Pro Bono Work
  • David Glazer’s Closing Advice to Biotechnology Companies Thinking About Collaborations
  • “…I've always found it helpful to have a champion at the pharmaceutical company who is very interested in your deal.”

Sep 16, 2020

Fred Bamber - Tech VC Becomes an Angel 

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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 such exciting companies as SQZ Biotech, Pixability, ViralGains and Streamroot (exited). In his self-effacing and modest way, Fred reveals deep wisdom gained from 75 investments in his career as a VC. 

Topics include:

  • 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 Bamber 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 Bamber 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 Bamber’s Favorite Pivot – Q1 Labs (IBM)
  • Fred Bamber Also Like 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.

Sep 9, 2020

Derek Canton, Founder and CEO - Paerpay: Contactless Pay at the Table" 

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Young founder Derek Canton was obsessed with making restaurant payments frictionless. COVID scrambled his product plans but opened up a huge opportunity to provide contactless payment. Throughout lockdown Paerpay has gotten traction for its text-driven payment system which is a perfect fit for the times.


  • Sal Introduces Founder Derek Canton of Paerpay
  • What Paerpay Does
  • How Paerpay Makes Money
  • The Competition is Device-Centric, Paerpay Is Software that Runs on Legacy Devices
  • How the Paerpay Solution Is Implemented
  • A Possible Collaboration with Squadle?
  • Derek Canton Has Ambitions Beyond the Restaurant Space for Paerpay
  • Sal’s Pitch for His Investment Syndicate
  • Derek Canton’s Discovery that He Was an Entrepreneur
  • Derek’s Dad Gives Him “The Talk” About Entrepreneurship
  • “But I tell people it's the most rewarding, most painful experience you can have, being an entrepreneur, but candidly I'm addicted to it, man. I love it.”
  • “…on a personal side was as simple as do what you love and if your dream doesn't scare you, it's not big enough.”
  • “…the first times in history where operators are thinking about contactless payments being the number one way of form of accepting payments, period, period. That's never happened before.”
  • “…a few months from now the world is going to be completely different. And so, for the first time in history, we have this opportunity to really help shape what that world looks like. And our tech is doing it already and it's been incredible.”
  • How Derek Canton Got His Co-Founder Alan Inacio – How They Seized the Opportunity for Contactless Payments Created by COVID
  • “…, if you are a founder and you're looking for a problem to solve, now's the perfect time to be able to do that. The world is quickly changing…”

Sep 2, 2020

Ben Littauer, Founder and Angel Investor - #1 Fundraising Mistake 

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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.

Aug 26, 2020

Klaudyne Hong, Founder - AI Improving Clinical Outcomes 

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The sense of purpose and focus that led Klaudyne Hong to do her PhD at MIT in two years helped her turn a chance comment during a fly-fishing trip into a groundbreaking startup. Peach IntelliHealth is building AI for acute medical care. Her project was seeded by the Government of Singapore where she found great help in building her data set. She’s now seeking FDA approval.

Highlights include:

  • Sal Daher Introduces Klaudyne Hong, PhD, Founder of Peach Intellihealth
  • What Peach Intellihealth Does
  • Peach Intellihealth’s AI Can Predict a Patient’s Response to Treatment
  • The Founding Story of Peach Intellihealth
  • “So, if you don't remember anything about what I say today, remember the next point. It's the highlight of the show, okay? I actually caught two striped bass that morning.”
  • “And we started then doing a historical analysis, and we realized that our algorithms actually fit that data very nicely.”
  • Peach’s AI Got Regulatory Approval in Singapore – Now Replicating Pivotal Study in the U.S.
  • “Sepsis, by the way, is the most expensive health care condition, hospitalized condition, in the U.S.”
  • “If someone's going to go into cardiac arrest, and you know it several hours in advance, you can make a huge difference.”
  • Current Status of Peach Intellihealth
  • Funding for Peach Intellihealth – the Government of Singapore Came in as a Seed Investor
  • “I grew up in Singapore, and I left when I was relatively young. So, I was as an undergrad in California.”
  • Her Favorite Show “Cheers” Showed Boston in Such a Good Light that Klaudyne Chose to Apply to MIT
  • “…my thesis…was about controlling gene expression for gene therapy applications.”
  • Klaudyne’s Two-Year PhD
  • “I drew him a picture of this DNA that was wearing cowboy boots, and somehow told him it's all about the cowboy boot being a gene therapy vector. And somehow, he understood what I was saying. He said, "Yeah, come join me in the lab."”
  • Klaudyne Hong’s Entrepreneurial Journey
  • After J&J Klaudyne Consulted but Found It Unrewarding, Lacking Ownership – Enter Entrepreneurship
  • Peach Benefitted from the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Singapore that Allowed the Rapid Acquisition of Patient Data
  • “But I find that the larger the company, sometimes the slower things can be, because I think they call way too many meetings that you have to attend.”
  • “They see that you have this passion. And they see that look, if it's that crazy, why do you have so many good people embarking on this journey with you?"
  • “It is the most robustly supported result in the study of entrepreneurship that more co-founders, better chance of success.”
  • Where the AI Will Fit in the Clinic
  • “I also see AI in a sense of helping make informed choices about the kinds of medicine we take.”
  • Sal Talks About Portfolio Company Leuko
  • Klaudyne Hong’s Closing Comments

Aug 19, 2020

Alex Sakatos, PhD - Founder of Ancilia 

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Microbiologist Alex Sakatos felt strongly that valuable science was not making it from the lab to the clinic. This led her to start Ancilia which is finding ways to protect good bacteria in our gut from attack by viruses. A great chat about an exciting field in biotech.

Highlights from our interview:

  • Sal Daher Introduces Alex Sakatos, PhD
  • Ancilia is Creating Ways to Protect Healthy Gut Bacteria from the Viruses That Can Attack Them
  • “...these viruses could directly prevent the efficacy of bacterial therapies…”
  • Founding Story of Ancilia
  • “... we actually know very well the mechanisms by which bacteria become resistant to phages, and so we can actually directly engineer those bacteria to be resistant to our phages…”
  • “So yeah, a co-founder is so helpful because founding a company is very, very lonely.”
  • Alex Sakatos. PhD’s Decision to Become a Founder
  • “...I leaped from academia into entrepreneurship was because I felt that there's more potential to actually develop research into therapies that impact patients.”
  • “...I learned from being in academia...if you don't do it, it's not necessarily guaranteed that someone else will. So, I think that it's important for more scientists to take their work towards translation.”
  • Parting Wisdom from Alex Sakatos