Flagship Ventures Taps Carbeck to Work on Hush-Hush Startup Project

Xconomy Boston — 

Jeff Carbeck, a co-founder of Boston-area startups Arsenal Medical and Nano-Terra, has recently begun working with Flagship Ventures as a consultant on a confidential startup project, firm spokeswoman Kelly Friendly tells Xconomy.

Friendly says she’s unable to provide details about the startup project on which the former Princeton professor is working. Carbeck also declined to specify the nature of the startup project, yet he did note in an e-mail that he still has active roles at both Arsenal and Nano-Terra, and he does not have a permanent position at Flagship. He told me in May that he was interested in applying his expertise in materials science and chemical engineering to the venture capital game or another startup. It looks like he’s landed at the right place to do that.

“I began having conversations with Flagship recently because I was attracted by their unwavering commitment to big ideas, commercializing the most innovative technologies, and true entrepreneurial initiatives, which I think is unique, especially in the current environment,” Carbeck said, in an e-mail last week.

Given the broad utility of his technical expertise and startup experience, Carbeck could be working on a startup focused on any of several sectors at Flagship, which manages $600 million and invests in early-stage companies in the life sciences and clean technology sectors. Last month Carbeck told me that he was particularly interested in cleantech, having recently pursued and won a fellowship for aspiring cleantech executives from the New England Clean Energy Council. “I’m going to be doing something where material science and chemical engineering really play the lead role, but what specific area it’s going to be in is hard to say now,” he said when I interviewed him for that story. “But I tell you that the things I’m learning in the clean energy space are really exciting.”

When we spoke, Carbeck was splitting his time between Watertown-based medical devices startup Arsenal and Nano-Terra, a Cambridge firm that applies its proprietary nanotechnology inventions to tackle R&D problems in multiple industries except for life sciences. At the time, Carbeck was chief technology officer at Arsenal and chief scientist at Nano-Terra.

What is clear is that Carbeck has some great expertise and connections that will help him at Flagship. His local roots can be traced back to acclaimed Harvard chemist George Whitesides’ lab, where Carbeck did his post-doctoral research. After spending seven years at Princeton, he passed on tenure-track offer from Tufts to start Arsenal (formerly WMR Biomedical) in 2005 with a group of luminaries that included Whitesides, MIT inventor Bob Langer, and Carmichael Roberts, a partner at Northbridge Venture Partners in Waltham, MA.

Hopefully, I’ll have an update soon on Carbeck’s startup project at Flagship. For now, he says the project is confidential.

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One response to “Flagship Ventures Taps Carbeck to Work on Hush-Hush Startup Project”

  1. Noah Bullock says:

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Xconomy is basically just a bought-and-paid-for mouthpiece of also-ran Boston-area VCs? TechCrunch isn’t even this fluffy.

    “Ooooh! It’s a secret! Shhhh! It’s so secret, the paid shill put out a press release and called a reporter. Big Scoop! Way to muckrake, guys!”

    I clearly need more work to do today.

    I prefer to get my propaganda from the source:

    I should state for the record that if Flagship ever decides to fund one of my companies I will happily withdraw this post. (Rootin’ for ya, Jim)