AMA with Laura Deming, Founder of The Longevity Fund, Friday 7/17 10am Pacific
Shared by rishi · 719d ago · 12 comments

We host occasionally host AMAs over Zoom for Pioneer Tournament winners. We publicly livestreamed one with Laura Deming. Towards the end, we took several questions from Frontier.

Laura is the founder of the Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm focused on companies developing drugs to extend human life and reverse age-related diseases. At age 14, she was accepted into MIT. 2 years later, she was awarded the Thiel Fellowship. Companies she has funded have gone on to raise more than $500M in follow-on funding, resulting in the 2018 IPO of the first company dedicated to reversing the diseases of aging. Read more about Laura on Twitter and her blog. Of note: A beginner’s guide to longevity research.

Post your questions below, and upvote the ones you'd like us to ask. Include your name & where you're located!

Thank you all for joining!

mohammadazeem · 718d ago

Hi Laura, My name is Azeem. I am based in Pakistan and currently working on It's a Chrome extension that saves only the important parts of conversations without saving the whole thing.

I have a couple of questions for you:

1. How do you apporach to learn a new topic? Do you use a particular method or just read the books and talk to experts?

1. How do you select what information/knowledge to consume? What are your favorite filterning mechanism?

2. When selecting a book or a paper, how do you judge its the intial validity before commiting to read it?

2. Do you think that the answer of Longevity Problem lies in creating harmony within the bodily functions and systems rather then using the approach of locating the disease and destroy the disease?

mohammadazeem · 718d ago

Laura's answer in a nutshell: approach things you don't understand with rage. Use your ego by challenging the premise of a concept.

Use your north star as a an ultimate filter.

atifali · 718d ago

This is a very underrated question (within the startup world and innovation in general) but how do you financially sustain yourself while experimenting with ideas that won't really pay right away? Things like Thiel Fellowship help, but for a person who is trying to just break out of the mold and is in the very beginning it is sometimes very hard to get into these groups (which kind of feels like Ivy League schools at this point). What would be your suggestion for people like that? Do you think having a person (parents/siblings/partners) to support you financially gives you a great advantage in general?

DesignForHappiness · 718d ago

What do you think one learns from the Thiel Fellowship that isn't learnt elsewhere? · 718d ago

Hi Laura, this is Shao from Trection. I'm currently working in West Lafayette, IN as I just graduated from Purdue. I read that you started Longevity Fund with 100k from Thiel Fellowship. How much of the decision making was guided/mentored by Peter Thiel and Aubrey de Grey when you first started?

Also, I'm also curious if there are any differences you saw in the last decade on investing as a young VC vs more mature/experienced VCs. Are there any difference on the metrics that are used to evaluate the investment?

Lastly, I'm interested to know if you listen to Classical Music in a certain environment. Personally, I found it super helpful to focus when I work.

danielgetman · 718d ago

Hi Laura. My name is Daniel and I'm from Connecticut. I'm working on a flavor enhancer that makes eating healthy as easy and appetizing as the junk food that is otherwise killing us.

What do you feel is the most important X factor for companies?

What brands are you obsessed with? Why?

krcnow · 719d ago

Hi Laura, with increase in human consumption being root cause for many global disaster should longevity keep pace with sustainability? When there is a major breakthrough in longevity should it be held back for sustainability to catch up? · 719d ago

Hi Laura,
What do you feel is the most essential skill you developed that contributed to your success? Any book or learning recommendations.

aaronggreen · 719d ago

Why the focus on drugs for the fund? Preventative medicine, lifestyle change and medical devices are also in this arena.

Eric_Roseman · 719d ago

How much does mental health and mental stress/anxiety speed up the Horvath clock? Do you see anyone creating solutions for the effects of aging caused by stress/anxiety?

Eric_Roseman · 719d ago

When you meet a founder at the idea phase, how quickly do you find that you make the judgement that you want to invest? Do you often times feel like "love at first sight" conviction or do you really need time to nurture and massage the relationship and idea to get comfortable for that first check?

QRE · 719d ago

Advice for teenagers to undertake expensive projects that require a lab? Working in the longevity/biotech field, how necessary do you consider a PhD is?