Max Hodak


BSE, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 2012

Science (CEO, 2021 - present)

Biology-driven products for an exciting future.

Neuralink (President, 2017 - 2021)

Neuralink is developing high-bandwidth brain machine interfaces, initially for critical unmet medical needs including paralysis from spinal cord injury, and eventually for merging minds and machines.

Transcriptic (CEO, 2012 - 2017)

Having grown up programming, where people invent whole new languages when they get tired of typing too many semicolons, the sheer inefficiency of pressing a physical button on the plate reader every three hours for two days to gather the data I needed struck me pretty quickly. Automation had been around for biology for a long time, but it was prohibitively expensive and difficult to use. For that matter, all lab equipment was prohibitively expensive and difficult to use.

Borrowing the metaphor from what cloud computing had done to software, the idea of creating a robotic cloud laboratory for biology seemed obvious. I founded Transcriptic right after I graduated from college and over my five years as CEO raised over $30M from Google Ventures, IA Ventures, Data Collective, Silicon Valley Bank, and others; and grew the business to millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Transcriptic merged with 3scan in early 2019 and lives on today as Strateos.

MyFit (CEO, 2009 - 2010)

The college admissions process can be modelled as a sequential move game with simultaneous move subgames, from both the student and schools' perspectives. MyFit originally started as a Facebook app I wrote to gather data and build models my friends and I could use to reason about our college admissions process, which eventually turned into a venture backed company. Our long term thesis was that, if you could predict the lift in lifetime earnings from a degree for a matriculating student, you could underwrite education using an equity instrument rather than debt, which would have all kinds of exciting downstream implications. At the same time, colleges have challenging yield forecasting problems that demanded more sophisticated modeling than was widely used. I took a year leave of absence after sophomore year of college after I raised $1 million from New Enterprise Associates and ran the company as CEO until it was acquired by Naviance 15 months later.

Nicolelis Lab, Duke University (Research Assistant, 2008 - 2009, 2010 - 2012)

For as long as I can remember, my ultimate life goal has been to get a brain-machine interface and disappear into the Matrix. I was fortunate that Duke had, at the time, one of the best neural engineering labs in the world. Having worked my way into the Nicolelis lab through an independent study during my freshman year, I proceeded to spend most of my time in college there learning everything I could.

I presented a poster at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting as a sophomore in 2008 and my main project for much of my time in the lab was studying how differing mappings between joystick-space and screen-space in an upper limb task for macaques led to changes in neural representations. I was only seriously derailed by silently broken timestamps in the ephys data once during my whole time in the lab.





I get a lot of emails and in practice very rarely reply, which I feel bad about. The more specific your message is and easier to reply to, the more likely I am to do so. If you're writing to pitch me your company, please read my article on how I angel invest first. Similarly, if you're asking for startup advice, please see my article on advice for prospective startup founders before writing. I do especially try to respond to questions from students, but the more specific you can be, the more likely I am to have something for you. You can find my PGP key here (58EC0CD4), but please don't use it unless you know you have a specific reason to do so.