Scientist Katalin Kariko, Ph.D., deserves a Nobel Prize for her foundational work that made two of the highly effective Covid-19 vaccines possible. Dr. Kariko’s unique and highly specialized work on messenger RNA lies behind the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots helping Covid-19 rates plummet. It’s important to know, though, that Dr. Kariko labored in relative obscurity for many years, moving from one lab to another, when colleagues didn’t share her vision of where this work could lead. Lucky for us, she was undeterred. “She was, in a positive sense, kind of obsessed with the concept of messenger RNA,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in The New York Times’ recent excellent profile of Dr. Kariko.
She’s an object lesson in perseverance and tenacity: Witness her belief that such things were possible. These qualities are incredible when found in someone with brilliance, insight, and talent.
As Managing Member of Diamond Gold Investors (DGI), I appreciate and reward scientists’ obsessive focus. Sure, one must discern between folly and appropriate passion, and I do. After due diligence, though, drawing inspiration from the scientists we fund is one of the joys of this work.
DGI, for example, is the lead investor in zNanoMembranes, whose founder is dedicated to the ideal of clean water. Using patented technologies, zNanoMembranes designs and produces premium bioinspired nanoceramic specialty membranes to enable and improve separations to solve diverse wastewater challenges. Simply put, this team of scientists takes the nastiest, most difficult-to-treat waters, such as produced water, and restores them to environmental standards, which then allows waters to be returned to the environment or easily polished for other uses.
DGI also is an investor in Senzing, a company whose technology is designed to find out who someone really is. Senzing creates the most complete and accurate views of people, organizations, and relationships from all of the data you can compile. It’s the first real-time AI (artificial intelligence) for entity resolution, which is essential for higher quality analytics, reporting, and compliance.
DGI also was an investor and advisor to Las Vegas Rock, a LEED-certified quarry whose main products are sand that improves the efficiency of underground irrigation and crushed rock that reduces the amount of water needed to grow trees.
Without the passion and conviction of scientists like Dr. Kariko, where would we be? The biggest problems in the world need the best minds obsessing about solutions. Investors play a key role in making that possible.