Richard Zhang PhD '21
Chief of Staff & Director of Accelerator
- Pear VC
Richard is a physicist, a mathematician, and now a seed stage investor. He is the Chief of Staff to Mar Hershenson and the Director of Accelerator at Pear VC. Pear is a Palo Alto and SF-based early stage VC, investing in high-potential startups including DoorDash, Dropbox, Guardant Health, Gusto, Branch, etc. At Pear, Richard focuses on bootstrapping cherry-picked startups from the Pear Accelerator while investing in high-potential healthcare and biotech founders. Richard completed his PhD at MIT Mathematics under Prof. Gilbert Strang, where he focused on the physical modeling of microfluidics. During his PhD, he also worked with Massachusetts General Hospital on using efficient ML algorithms to optimize hospital operations and have published in high-impact journals such as Nature. Outside work, Richard is a community organizer at heart who cares deeply about the mental health and well-being of students and entrepreneurs. Together with six MIT grad students and postdocs, Richard co-founded FAIL!, a nonprofit aimed to de-stigmatize failures and foster psychological safety in hyper-competitive workplaces. FAIL! invites well-established individuals (eg. George Church, Rodney Mullen, Amy Edmondson, etc.) to openly share their stories of failures and moments of vulnerabilities. In addition, Richard sits on the leadership board of MIT Alumni Club of Northern California as the Chair of the Healthcare Track.