General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners
Carmichael Roberts joined North Bridge Venture Partners in 2007. His scientific expertise has positioned the firm to capitalize on breakthroughs in chemistry and materials.
Carmichael Roberts started his career as a technologist. He moved into business “developing applications for his research interests” and subsequently to entrepreneurship and venture capitalism, exploring ways to finance those businesses. Carmichael invests predominantly in companies that make products using chemistry, materials science and/or materials engineering, with a primary focus on early stage ventures. “As an entrepreneur, you pick areas where there’s a clear unmet need and therefore a large opportunity,” he says. “And, by definition, if you dare to step into that area, there will be a significant risk and competition” but for the most part there are few incumbents with a clever, practical solution.
As co-founder and chairman of the nonprofit Diagnostics For All, one of a series of collaborations with Harvard professor George Whitesides, he is developing paper-based diagnostics to provide inexpensive options to marginalized patients globally. “I sometimes feel cheated that I wasn’t around at the time of Ben Franklin or Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, when there was so much “white space” for innovation. I enjoy finding the diamond in the rough in the US but where it’s wide open is in the developing world, where some of the best inventions have yet to be made and current inventiveness can be creatively applied and have tremendous impact.”
Previously, Carmichael co-founded and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arsenal Medical, a company that develops foam and fiber materials that heal localized trauma to tissues and organs. He has co-founded several other ventures, including Nano-Terra, an electronics and industrial materials company and 480 Biomedical, a medical materials company that makes a bioresorbing product to treat arterial disease. In 1999 he was named one of the world’s top 100 young entrepreneurs by MIT’s Technology Review.
Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Carmichael worked in business development at GelTex Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Genzyme for $1.3 billion, and in new product and business development at Dow Chemical (formerly Union Carbide Corporation).
Carmichael received his BS and PhD in organic chemistry from Duke University and completed his postdoctoral National Science Foundation fellowship at Harvard University. Carmichael also has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He serves as an advisor for MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, Harvard’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, and schools of Science and Engineering at Duke University.