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MIT Technology Review

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  • Daphne Zohar

    Age:
    33

    Daphne Zohar is a serial entrepreneur who is comfortable moving into almost any niche. She began by launching a successful olive oil brand. Then she pitched her patented “hoofpad”- basically, a sneaker fro racehorses- to veterinarians. Today she is forging biotech startups. The daughter of a Massachusetts General Hospital researcher, Zohar grew up around labs and has become good at recognizing commercial potential in lab work that night be otherwise unexplored. She is founder and CEO of Boston-based PureTech Ventures, which evaluates 15 ideas a week and chooses three each year to build businesses around. “Being an entrepreneur is like solving a puzzle with most of the pieces missing,” she says. PureTech’s stable includes companies making chips that rapidly analyze proteins, ultrasensitive antibodytests to screen blood banks for infectious agents, and nanoscale drug delivery systems targeting lymph nodes to treat cancer and HIV. Zohar’s team and advisors at PureTech include former Pharmacia and Upjohn CEO John Zabriskie and financier Todd Dagres of Battery Ventures, which manages $1.8 billion in capital. “I look for vision, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit,” Dagres says. “Daphne possesses all those traits.”