BRV Fund Manager and Author: Leo Wang

From Academia to Venture Capital

In the realm of venture capital, diverse backgrounds forge unique perspectives. Today, we are fortunate to learn the story of Dr. Wanwipa Siriwatwetchakul, a distinguished academic turned venture capitalist. Before joining Vectors Capital as a deal partner, Dr.Wanwipa was previously the head of corporate innovation university and a professor at Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, Thammasat University in biotechnology. Dr. Wanwipa received her PhD from Princeton University and her Bachelor from MIT in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Wanwipa’s journey is a fascinating blend of intellect, innovation, and intuition.

Personal Career Transition:

Leo: “You’ve had an impressive journey from MIT and Princeton to a faculty role. What inspired you to take a leap into the venture capital world?”

Wanwipa: Despite the academic rigor, I yearned for a role that was more intertwined with the fast-paced innovation. In 2021, I ventured into innovation consulting and it laid the groundwork for my current path.

VC and Academic Roles:

Leo: “How does your experience as a faculty member intersect with your role in venture capital?”

Wanwipa: My academic background, particularly in research, has been instrumental in my role as a VC. The ability to delve deeply into technical details while maintaining a broad strategic perspective is something I’ve carried over from my time as a professor. It’s invaluable in assessing and understanding the potential of startups.

Founder Relationships:

Leo: “How do you build and maintain relationships with the founders, especially in tough times?”

Wanwipa: Trust and mentorship are key. Drawing from my experience in academia, where problem-solving and guidance are paramount, I strive to support founders through their challenges. It’s about being a reliable mentor and coaching them through complex situations

Advice for Fund Managers:

Leo: “As an experienced fund manager, what advice would you give to those entering this field?”

Wanwipa: I would advise new fund managers to really focus on area-specific knowledge to build foundations for making good decisions. It’s critical to avoid chasing trends without fully understanding the technology and market dynamics at play. A deep, nuanced understanding of your investment area is essential for long-term success.

Future Vision:

Leo: “What are your projections for Biomanufacturing in ClimateTech over the next decade?”

Wanwipa: I anticipate steady and meaningful progress in this sector. It’s important for me to evolve my investment strategies as the market grows and changes. Staying adaptable and well-informed is vital in the dynamic world of venture capital.

Personal Reflection:

Leo: “What career advice has profoundly influenced your approach in the VC sector?”

Wanwipa: The most significant piece of advice I’ve embraced is the importance of adaptability and continuous learning. The VC field is incredibly dynamic, and being flexible and open to new ideas and approaches is crucial for thriving in this environment.


Dr. Wanwipa Siriwatwetchakul’s transition from academia to venture capital is not just a career change but a narrative of embracing new challenges and opportunities. Her journey underscores the valuable intersection of academic rigor and industry dynamism, proving that diverse experiences can lead to enriched perspectives in the venture capital ecosystem. Her story serves as an inspiration for those exploring paths beyond conventional career trajectories.