Dr. Carmichael Roberts, Founding Partner
Carmichael Roberts is the Founding Partner of Material Impact, a fund that creates and invests in companies that makes high-value products enabled by materials technology. The strategy of the fund is based on Carmichael’s successful approach as an entrepreneur-investor in “materials” which blends a unique business model of licensing university technology and signing large corporate deals with Fortune 500 companies.
As a General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners since 2007, Carmichael has financed and built several successful companies that make new products using chemistry, materials science and/or materials engineering. He focused exclusively on early stage ventures, including helping founders launch companies from initial formation. Carmichael led the North Bridge investment in 1366 technologies, a company in Bedford MA that makes high efficiency solar cells based on innovations in silicon engineering. He currently serves as the Chairman of 1366 technologies. Carmichael also helps start companies like Foro Energy which uses high powered lasers to access energy resources. Foro was created in Carmichael’s offices in Boston. He currently serves as the lead director of Foro and its largest shareholder via North Bridge. Another example is MC10, which was started by Carmichael at North Bridge in a similar fashion. MC10 is a company that owns a stretchable version of silicon that is today used in various industries including energy, consumer electronics and medical. Carmichael was the initial CEO and now serves as the Chairman of MC10. These three companies are examples of what he does to help conceptualize, create, launch and build successful enterprises in the energy space.
Prior to joining North Bridge, Carmichael co-founded several companies that were based on advanced materials engineering and/or chemistry. He has served in an executive and/or active board capacity for each of his companies. Before starting his career as an entrepreneurial CEO, Carmichael worked in business development for a start-up polymer company called at GelTex Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Genzyme). Prior to GelTex, Carmichael was responsible for new product and business development at Sentry Products, a life science venture wholly owned by Union Carbide Corporation (acquired by Dow Chemical). Carmichael is also very dedicated to developing medical products for developing nations. Along with Harvard University, Carmichael co-founded Diagnostics For All, Inc., a non-profit organization funded by the Gates Foundation that is developing a materials platform to make low cost diagnostics for poor and rural populations in developing nations. Products have been launched around the world. Carmichael currently serves as Chairman of this organization.
Carmichael serves on the advisory boards for the US Department of Energy, the New England Clean Energy Council, National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), Harvard’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, MIT’s Deshpande Center for Innovation, and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Business Board of Directors. In 1999, he was named by MIT’s Technology Review as one of the world’s top 100 young entrepreneurs.
Carmichael is also a trustee of Duke University and Massachusetts General Hospital for the Physicians Organization (MGPO).
Carmichael received his B.S. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Duke University and was a National Science Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. He also earned his M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Dr. Mark Little, Venture Partner
In his 37 year career at General Electric, Mark Little served in diverse senior leadership roles in operations, research, strategic planning, joint venture development, and product management. From 2005, as GE’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Senior Vice President/Director of GE Global Research, Mark reported to the CEO and developed fundamental technologies to help GE compete and grow in every one of its businesses: energy, oil & gas, aviation, healthcare, transportation, consumer products, and financial services. Mark’s vision is now to help other organizations apply the lessons he’s learned during his years of leadership at GE by working with business leaders and boards as an advisor and mentor.
A company officer for 21 years, Mark had a two-part senior leadership career at GE managing both major lines of business and global research. Mark became only the ninth director of GE Global Research in the company’s history. His team led transformative initiatives in software, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, and delivered countless innovations that produced GE’s best product and service portfolio in years. Mark’s research team of over 3,600 people was from every major scientific and engineering discipline, working at nine research facilities in the USA, India, China, Germany, Brazil, and Israel. As CTO, he led some 50,000 technologists across GE. These experiences gave him a profound appreciation for diverse cultures and working styles.
Earlier in his career, as a business leader, he turned around a global business unit from $200MM annual loss to $4B annual profit—a unique achievement within GE. In doing so, he beat operating plans through every phase of the business cycle. In addition, Mark was responsible for the acquisition and integration of a bankrupt energy business, positioning it to become a $6B GE enterprise today.
Mark focuses on people and develops hard-working, motivated, self-reliant individuals who work well in teams. His high-performance teams, ranging from a dozen people to thousands, have won in their competitive marketplaces. He has a passion for building teams that “work to win.” Mark has shared this expertise by serving as a leader in the US Council of Competitiveness for 7 years. This non-profit organization brings business, labor, academic, and government leaders together to increase the United States’ economic competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Charitable work is central to Mark’s purpose. He and his wife founded and operate the Little Family Foundation, which provides a strong base for charitable pursuits. They are both active in the foundation which supports a wide variety of local community activities as well as international and veteran’s organizations.
Mark trained as a mechanical engineer, with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts, Master’s Degree from Northeastern, and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of which Mark is a Trustee. Family life is at Mark’s core. He and his wife Terri have two adult children, with their first granddaughter having recently arrived. He is an avid book reader, a self-taught guitarist (rock, blues, jazz), a golfer, and is self-described as “a crazy Boston sports fan.”
Dr. Adam Sharkawy, General Partner
Adam Sharkawy is a seasoned executive leader and entrepreneur in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector with a diverse background across technologies. His experiences span the technology spectrum (devices, bioactives, and biologics), multiple therapy spaces (interventional, cardiovascular, surgery, orthopedics, etc) and different business environments (leading small, entrepreneurial, VC-funded to large Fortune 500 corporate).
Prior to co-starting Material Impact, Adam was Sr. Vice President of the Medicines Company and Head of their Surgery and Perioperative Care Global Business Unit where he led the integration of 4 acquired businesses into a global unit with products spanning the spectrum of acute surgical care. Before that, he helped establish the headquarters of Smith & Nephew’s Emerging Market (EM) and International Market (IM) divisions in Dubai where he served as a member of their executive leadership team. There he developed the product portfolio across all divisions for the EM and the IM, co-developed the business strategies, and initiated the operational implementation of those strategies for both divisions. Prior to that he started the Advanced Healing Technologies / Biomaterials franchise within the Smith & Nephew Endoscopy division in the Boston area and led the R&D organization.
Dr. Sharkawy was a member of the Abbott Vascular executive leadership team. Dr. Sharkawy co-led the integration of Guidant Vascular Interventions and Abbott upon their merger in April 2006 and stayed on to serve as their Vice President of New Ventures and Research and Advanced Development where he helped launch the world’s leading Drug Eluting Stent, the Xience/Promus system. While there, he spearheaded their business growth strategy through the development of new therapies to unmet clinical needs in the cardiovascular system. He led the development of interventional site-specific therapies to vascular disease (including vulnerable plaque, stem cell therapy for heart failure, and diabetic nephropathy) and the creation of platforms for novel stents / scaffolds, catheters, biomaterials, and controlled bioactive delivery.
Prior to that, Dr. Sharkawy, helped start Ventrica, Inc., a privately-held medical device company, and served as the Vice President of Research and Development until the acquisition of its technology by Medtronic. At Ventrica, he contributed to the development of a novel technology to create a sutureless connection between blood vessels as part of heart bypass surgery. This product was approved and marketed in Europe. While at Ventrica, he also spun off a new venture, Ventrigraft, aimed to create the synthesis of natural blood vessels and connections in situ. Prior to that, Dr. Sharkawy served in several technology development roles for Heartport (acquired by Johnson and Johnson) and Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, then part of Eli Lilly’s medical device businesses.
Adam has also held a variety of consulting positions spanning industries such as aircraft (F-16 tail wing design), oil drilling (FMC deep sea drill design), and medical device (Angiotech, Adiana, Anexis, Apneon, Pavad Medical).
Dr. Sharkawy received his Ph.D. from Duke University in Biomaterials / Tissue Engineering. He also holds a Master's degree of from Texas A&M University where he wrote a thesis on Chaos Theory and conducted research in energizing the innovation process and ideation in design. Dr. Sharkawy remained affiliated to Duke University by serving on its Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board and to Texas A&M University by serving on its Bioengineering Advisory Board. He received his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the American University, Cairo and before that, studied pre-medicine and Biology at the University of Delaware.
Dr. Dan Harburg, Entrepreneur Partner
Dan Harburg is an entrepreneur working to commercialize breakthrough scientific discoveries in the fields of electronics, robotics, materials science, and advanced manufacturing. He is an expert at forming and leading interdisciplinary teams tackling complex problems involving research, product development, business model generation, and customer attraction. Dan has helped transition two startups out of university labs and has help leadership roles in both technical and business-related fields.
Dan was an entrepreneur-in-residence at North Bridge Venture Partners, working closely with general partner and entrepreneur Dr. Carmichael Roberts and research teams at Harvard, MIT, and the University of Illinois to commercialize technologies in healthcare and robotics. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the labs of world-renowned scientists Dr. George M. Whitesides (Harvard University) and Dr. John A. Rogers (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), where he co-authored more than 5 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals including Nature and Advanced Materials, and filed more than 3 patents. While in the Rogers Lab, Dan co-founded Transient Electronics Inc., a startup company that is developing bioresorbable diagnostic and therapeutic electronic systems. He secured over $1.5M in non-dilutive funding for the company and serves as principal investigator on an effort to develop a fully bioresorbable nerve stimulator that will enable faster recovery for patients who have experienced severe nerve damage.
Following his tenure in the Whitesides Lab at Harvard, he was the fourth employee at Soft Robotics Inc., a spin-out from the Whitesides Lab and a venture-backed startup company developing a revolutionary soft robotic end-of-arm tool that brings automation to highly labor-intensive areas of the food industry. Dan serves as the director of business development at Soft Robotics Inc. where he leads market development and customer acquisition and structures strategic partnerships and sales for the company’s products. He has sourced more than 5 paid pilot projects to implement Soft Robotics’ technology with >$1B companies in the advanced manufacturing and food processing industries.
Dan has served as a technical advisor and consultant to more than five technology startups in the fields of biomedical devices, renewable energy, and consumer electronics. He is a member of advisory committees for Cyclotron Road and Prime Coalition, two organizations exploring new models for funding early-stage energy technology companies. Dan received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Dartmouth, where he was one of Dartmouth's first Innovation Fellows. His Ph.D. work was completed in close collaboration with research groups at MIT, Georgia Tech, and U-Penn to develop high-frequency power conversion materials, components, and circuits under a $5.6M grant from the Advanced Research Project Agency at the Department of Energy (ARPA-E). He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from Dartmouth and a Bachelors in Physics with Honors from Middlebury College. He has co-authored more than thirteen peer-reviewed papers and has more than ten patents pending in the areas of robotics, electronic materials and components and micro-fabrication methods.