Efforts create the achievements

November 25, 2021


Amir Nashat talks about working with stellar people, how curiosity leads you to amazing results, and what is exciting in the biotech field. He also reveals how he met his childhood hero.


Amir Nashat is a managing partner in Polaris’ Boston office. He joined Polaris in 2002 and focuses on investments in healthcare.

Additionally, Amir has served as a director of Adnexus Therapeutics (Bristol Myers Squibb), Athenix Corporation (Bayer), Avila Therapeutics (Celgene), Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FATE), Freenome, Living Proof (Unilever), Promedior Pharmaceuticals (Roche), Receptos (Celgene), Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ: SELB), Sun Catalytix (Lockheed Martin), and TARIS Biomedical (J&J).

In addition to his investment role, Amir has served as the CEO of Dewpoint, Jnana, Living Proof, Olivo Labs, and Sun Catalytix. Amir also serves on the Partners Innovation Fund and the Investment Advisory Committee for The Engine at MIT, and helped launch the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund as its active president.

He has been named to the Forbes Midas List of “Top 100 Venture Capitalists.”

Prior to joining Polaris, Amir completed his ScD as a Hertz Fellow in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a minor in Biology under the guidance of Dr. Robert Langer. Amir also earned both his MS and BS in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Episode notes

  • company creation by VCs
  • interesting people vs. defined goals
  • learning from people
  • decision-making with people
  • curiosity leading to new people
  • experienced people as co-founders
  • mistakes sole entrepreneurs do
  • building companies in different environments
  • cultural behaviour and approach to risk
  • international teams working and communicating together
  • values and goals
  • persistence, cultural risks, and the meaning of failure
  • salaries vs. equity as remuneration
  • take your bug and turn it into a feature
  • appreciate your limitations and make the best of them
  • COVID-19 remote redundancy by geography
  • time zones as hurdles
  • work and family life on remote mode
  • social and cultural bonds
  • importance of trust
  • defining company culture
  • finding your way of recruiting people
  • setting the culture and making it unique
  • stories and culture
  • meeting Rodney Mullen
  • skating, water polo and surfing
  • MIT Sandbox as a testbed for entrepreneurship
  • central bank money printing and startup funding
  • differences and similarities in biotech and IT startups
  • this decade on biotech
  • ethical considerations in biotech
  • engineering your reality
  • Peter Crisp, founding partner of Venrock
  • efforts create the achievements

Episode links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Mullen (Rodney Mullen)
https://sandbox.mit.edu/ (MIT Sandbox)
https://www.venrock.co (Venrock)