2018 MRS Fall Meeting Home

Raising Capital 101: For Startups

Tuesday, November 27
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Hynes, Level 2, The Hub Stage—Hall D

Raising your first seed or Series-A round is particularly important to the growth and success of your new company. Want to know what investors look for in a pitch deck or the biggest mistakes startups make when pitching their products?  Then make sure to listen as our panel of top-tier materials-focused  angel networks, venture capital firms and private equity practices discuss the current trends in venture funding and the “dos and don’ts” of raising capital.


Whitney Haring-SmithWhitney Haring-Smith, Anzu Partners

Whitney Haring-Smith is an entrepreneur and investor focused primarily on breakthrough industrial technologies. As a managing partner at Anzu Partners, Haring-Smith leads the portfolio support functions and has led most of Anzu’s acquisitions. Prior to Anzu Partners, Haring-Smith was a principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) where he focused on energy, industrial goods and globalization while working in BCG’s San Francisco, Seattle and Hong Kong offices. In early-stage companies, Haring-Smith was the Co-founder and Board Chairman of College Abacus, a website that became the “Kayak.com of college financial aid” in the United States. Haring-Smith earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees simultaneously from Yale University, magna cum laude, and received his doctorate from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from Pennsylvania.



David MackinecDavid Mackanic, Dorm Room Fund

David Mackanic is currently an investment partner at Dorm Room Fund, a student-run venture capital (VC) firm backed by First Round Capital. His investments span all sectors, but he is particularly focused on investing in hardware and energy companies. He is also an Accel Innovation Scholar at Stanford University, and was previously President of the Stanford InSITE Fellowship, an organization that brings MBAs and engineers together to work with local startups and VCs. He is currently a chemical engineering doctoral candidate at Stanford, where he researches the intersection of electrochemical energy storage and polymer science. Specifically, Mackanic aims to develop robust, flexible and stretchable battery materials for applications in wearable electronics and soft robotics. He is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and the Chevron Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Prior to graduate school, Mackanic received his BS degree in mechanical engineering and BA degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech.


Coppelia MarincovicCoppelia Marincovic, Solvay Ventures

Coppelia Marincovic is Investment Manager North America at Solvay Ventures, the venture capital (VC) fund of Solvay. With $100m under management, the fund invests in advanced materials with application in energy transition, health and well-being, industry 4.0 and sustainable resources. In addition to providing capital to startup companies, Solvay Ventures leverages Solvay capabilities to generate business synergies between startups and Solvay's businesses and innovation platforms. Her prior experience in VC was at Sofinnova Partners, a large VC fund based in Paris where she specialized in cleantech and industrial biology. Before joining Solvay, Marincovic was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, advising top-tier pharmaceutical and chemical corporations on strategy and resource productivity. While at McKinsey, she won a Gold Medal at the McKinsey New Ventures competition. Marincovic holds a MBA degree from INSEAD, MSc degree in environmental sciences from Harvard and MSc degree in chemistry from Chimie ParisTech–École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris.


Mark VreekeMark S. Vreeke, Chemical Angel Network

Mark S. Vreeke is a co-founder of the Chemical Angel Network.  Previously, Vreeke served as Vice President of R&D for Rational Biotechnology, a Rational Systems spin-off. Vreeke also served as the Senior Vice President of R&D at Pepex Biomedical, Inc., an early-stage medical device company specializing in developing, manufacturing and marketing disposable miniaturized electrochemical biosensors. Earlier in his career, Vreeke held research positions at TheraSense, Inc., where he contributed to the successful transfer of glucose sensor technology from The University of Texas. Vreeke graduated from Calvin College with a BS degree in chemistry and went on to receive a PhD degree in analytical chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of IVD Technology, and is a visiting professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili.  He sits on several academic, industry, and corporate boards. Academic honors include a Dow Scholar, Welch Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow.


Image coming soonJason Whaley, Rhapsody Venture Partners

Biography Coming Soon


Johanna WolfsonJohanna Wolfson, PRIME Impact Fund

Johanna Wolfson is Principal at the PRIME Impact Fund, backing breakthrough climate-focused ventures with philanthropic capital. She joined PRIME from her role as Director of Technology-to-Market in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). Her work at DOE included testing new models for financing and commercialization, launching entrepreneurs and new businesses out of universities and National Laboratories, and supporting early-stage clean energy businesses with funding, training and technical resources. Prior to DOE, Wolfson was with the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems where she led TechBridge, a technical validation and demonstration program that de-risks promising early-stage energy technologies prior to investment. She has a PhD degree in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she conducted research on photo-induced solid-state dynamics.