Although we don’t invest in every company we meet with, we have been entrepreneurs with dreams, and we do everything we can to help the next generation of growth companies.  We review business plans, open doors, provide access to expertise, recommend executives and coaches, look at deal structure, and evaluate growth strategies.  Salient professionals are always a shoulder for someone to lean on.  We have also made investments in over a dozen startups that meet our criteria, solving a big problem, offering a unique solution, with a team that we believe in.

If you are interested in meeting with us, fill out the contact form and let us know more about you and what you need.



Why Salient?



We are well connected in the startup scenes in cities both in the U.S. and abroad.  In particular, we know almost everyone in Boston and prefer to invest in that ecosystem.


If we can’t help, we probably know someone who can.


We are operators first and investors second.  We understand that the path to success for a startup is rarely straight.  What a CEO needs is a partner that knows when to step in with advice and when to stay away.


There is nothing harder and more gratifying than building a company.  It involves a lot of work and expertise and laughs, and we try to add to all of those to your success formula.


We make fast decisions. We are investing our own capital, but we don’t engage in long, tedious due diligence processes.  We do feel that the quality of the startup team is the most critical determinant of our investment decision.


A decision to help or invest is not about us and our experience, but about the company and its team.  We want to listen hard, and do what we can to support and inspire you.



The Team

Diane Hessan CEO, Salient

Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author.  She is CEO of Salient Ventures, an investment and advisory company with a portfolio of angel investments focused on technology companies.  Previously, she was CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers to succeed in the exciting innovation economy.  

She is also Chairman of C Space, where she was Founder and CEO for 13 years.  C Space (formerly Communispace) is a next-generation market research company, which builds online communities to help marketers generate consumer insights, with “a Blue Chip client list that would make a Madison Avenue giant jealous," according to Advertising Age.  Diane led the company to a dozen successive years of exponential growth, and it now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries.  The company was sold to Omnicom in 2011, and remains a leader helping companies transform the way that they get inspiration from their customers.

Diane has spent her career as a business executive, and as co-author of the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage.  The book, a Business Week best-seller, was published in 11 languages.   She has keynoted at over 50 events in the last 5 years, focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s issues, and customer centricity.

Diane has received many honors, including the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist), the Northstar Award from Springboard, the Great Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, and a range of Best Boss citations.  In 2014, she was inducted into the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and she received the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis.  

Diane serves on the boards of Tufts University, Mass Challenge, Panera, Brightcove, Eastern Bank, CoachUp, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and is Special Advisor to Datapoint Capital, a leading early-stage venture firm.  She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. She has 2 grown daughters, and is also founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business.