Matthew DeSilva was a macro finance guy working for Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital, when a family illness profoundly changed the course of his career, leading him to found Notable Labs, a Bay Area startup that aspires to identify better treatments for patients.
Matthew had a busy childhood. Born in Ontario, Canada, his family moved to the U.S. when he was three. The family lived in seven states over the course of Matthew’s childhood, as it followed the career progression of his father, a marketing director at an oil and gas pump company.
Besides playing a mean trombone, Matthew was interested in history and economics; he started college at Purdue but an evolving interest in finance and a quant orientation led him to transfer to Cornell (notably closer to Wall Street), and from there, to Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital, known for its contrarian approach to investing.
Matthew notes that one of the most contrarian things he’s done is get married at the age of 21 to his high school sweetheart; he became a dad a few years later – but tragically, the same year, his dad received a devastating diagnosis of brain cancer. While Matthew focused all his efforts and analytic expertise on trying to find a promising approach for his father, his dad ultimately passed away from the terrible disease. The experience motivated Matthew to found a startup, Notable Labs, which aims to identify and accelerate promising therapeutic approaches for cancer by studying and analyzing the behavior of cancer cells from patients.
Notably, the company has recently been named to Fast Company’s Inaugural List of the 50 Best Workplaces for Innovators alongside such notable companies as Amazon, Chobani and P&G.
We’re grateful to Matthew for joining us on Tech Tonics, and sharing his experiences, including some really difficult ones, so candidly and so generously. To listen to the show, please use the audio player below or find it on the Connected Social Media website or on iTunes.
Tech Tonics is graciously sponsored by Manatt Health—a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that includes a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system.
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