Tyler Golato – Founder of VitaDAO, a decentralized collective funding early-stage longevity research | The Simple Biotech Podcast

Key Takeaways:

  • Crypto’s biggest contribution to humanity is providing the grounds for really active experimentation (35:25)
  • Through crypto, you can create an incentive scheme of sorts to foster any particular behavior, including expansive research in longevity (35:32)
  • Crypto is allowing a decentralization community to come together around this longevity concept and have a technological governance framework that enables it without having clear hierarchies in terms of who’s calling the shots (35:38)
  • In a perfect world, there are enough people that are interested in longevity where the gain is an extension of healthspan, an extension of lifespan, as opposed to like a 10x gain (35:56)


Tyler Golato is the Co-Founder and Chief Security Officer at Molecule, which aims to democratize ownership of medicine while building a global system that will enable the financing and curation of the most promising therapeutics available. He is also the Co-Founder of VitaDAO, the decentralized autonomous organization.

But beyond these cutting-edge companies he plays such a pivotal role to, Tyler Golato’s background in experimental therapeutics and aging goes much deeper. He is both a biochemist, a molecular biologist, and an entrepreneur with a background in experimental therapeutics and biogerontology. Tyler Golato graduated from Stockton University before embarking on research fellowships at Columbia University and later the National Institute of aging. (02:36)

Understanding DAOs:

  • DAO stands for a decentralized, autonomous organization (09:02)
  • In simple terms, a DAO is a membership association with a common goal (09:25)
  • The decentralization concept of a DAO means there is no controlling party or entity of any sort (09:28)
  • The democratic concept of a DAO means that no one is in control and acts are governed through voting (10:14)
  • For further clarification, decentralized can be swapped with the word global (10:31)

What Is VitaDAO

  • Simply put, VitaDAO is a membership organization that’s focused on funding longevity research (09:52)
  • VitaDAO allows members to make proposals for projects to fund, which will then be voted on, determining which research will be funded by the DAO (09:58)
  • When proposals are voted on by the members, funds are distributed directly to the laboratory (10:08)
  • VitaDAO relies on token-based governance with technology that helps mediate decisions instead of something like a manager or OS (10:39)
  • The primary goal of VitaDAO is to optimize drug development incentives for the greater public good (11:40)
  • Any human off the street is able to invest in longevity research and help to move the industry forward through VitaDAO (11:44)

How the VitaDAO Profit Distribution is Handled

  • VitaDAO is set up to have a circular economy (12:10)
  • Rather than having a community focused on profits, VitaDAO is focused on creating a sustainable funding model for future research (12:30)
  • Projects are funded in exchange for some ownership in intellectual property and licenses that result from these projects and through the commercialization of those licenses (12:37)
  • Essentially, VitaDAO aims to bring drugs to market or biomarkers to market so that the DAO is able to generate revenue that can then be reinvested into further research (12:46)
  • The profit distribution goal of VitaDAO is to create a funding vehicle that is self-sustaining, with some amount of longevity (12:55)

More on VitaDAO Token Holders

  • VitaDAO token holders can really vote on anything, including: (13:10)
    • How the treasury is managed
    • If the DAO should do another fundraise
    • Giving more money to projects
    • Giving less money to projects
    • Have an article written (13:23)
  • There are three levels of members in VitaDAO (13:48)
    • 1. Token holders: people who have decided to put money into VitaDAO to fund the organization, allowing them to vote and participate as members in the DAO (13:51)
    • 2. Working groups: members of the DAO who are more like full-time equivalent employees, working every day on VitaDAO at a deeper level of expertise (14:16)
    • 3. Service providers: real-world companies the DAO needs to engage with, including law firms and contract research organizations (17:32)
  • One important note about the different levels within VitaDAO is that no individual group has the autonomy to make the final decision on funding, but rather provide insight from a more scientific background on the value of particular research (16:27)
  • There are currently almost 2000 VitaDAO token holders (14:44)
    • How to join VitaDAO (17:00)
    • Contributing to the initial funding event
    • Giving your skills
    • Working within the organization
  • VitaDAO is a group of people who care about aging from all different levels of skills and interests, putting that all together to create a democratic and open organization to make funding longevity research a lot more accessible and a lot more engaging (17:16)

VitaDAO vs. VC

  • With crypto, people are willing to take risks. There is a risk appetite (23:35)
  • VitaDAO is designed from its core to do the stuff that other people are unwilling to do (24:14)
  • VC will be more interested in something in a later stage, with proof points that something is going to make it into the clinic (25:06)
  • VitaDAO is interested in the moonshots, or the early-stage projects (25:13)
  • Rather than funding mostly companies, like most VCs, VitaDAO is aiming to fund people still working at universities at pre company stages in exchange for ownership and the IP that they generate during these projects with the promise of working with them to get these technologies to the next stage (25:27)
  • VitaDAO is going earlier, and it’s going higher risk (25:49)

Personal Stories of Tyler Golato

  • The fascination with medicine came at an early age for Tyler Golato, who spent much of his childhood around physicians and in and out of hospitals caring for his sister, who was born with a respiratory illness (03:02)
  • At the university level, Tyler Golato became disenchanted with the U.S. healthcare system being faced with the structural problems negatively impacting patients’ accessibility for necessary care (03:50)
  • Rather than treating the ill, Tyler Golato’s focus shifted towards preventing people from becoming ill in the first place through research (06:04)
  • The new fascination in medicine for Tyler Golato became preserving health, preventing illness, and looking at all of the age-related diseases to find common threads and become better at medicine in general (06:19)
  • Tyler Golato was slow to drink the crypto-Kool Aid because he didn’t believe that there was a lot of instances in which crypto was touching the real world (18:28)
  • It wasn’t until the DAO came to fruition that Tyler Golato realized the opportunities with token engineering in creating behavioral patterns or coordinating efforts to get people to work together (18:38)