Today we are pleased to announce our 12th early-stage venture capital investment fund, providing $800 million in capital to support healthcare and technology companies.
Three things are clear:
- The timing has never been better to fuel changes in the way we consume, live, work and care for each other. Canaan is in the business of steep – not incremental – progress.
- We embrace the pace of change and the people leading it. The visionaries who run our companies never stop inspiring us, and they are not slowing down. Rising to meet the moment will require not just the diversity of backgrounds and talents that we have already built at Canaan, but an ever more representative team and inclusive ecosystem that champions diversity and equity.
- The combination of ideas, capital, and execution make magic happen. We are grateful for the support of our Limited Partners – in this and previous funds – and for the entrepreneurs who have chosen us as partners for their journeys. With 35 exits in the past five years, we know the work for entrepreneurs can be hard but rewarding.
More about why we feel this way:
Venture-backed companies aim to solve unsolvable problems, change the norms of society and dramatically improve people’s lives. We know from our experience on both sides of the table – as entrepreneurs, operators and investors – that the endeavor is never premised on smooth sailing. Since our founding 33 years ago, we have lived through multiple up and down market cycles and seen technology trends come and go. This durable institutional knowledge is invaluable to aspiring ventures during times of accelerated change. Equally important are our deep relationships with thousands of entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists that help support and grow our companies in all market climates. The approach is baked into Canaan’s culture: transformational change in the world is equal parts challenge and opportunity.
Canaan is one of the few firms where investments span social media trends to precision medicine. And that’s intentional. Technology and life-science are both pursuits rooted in scientific advancement unlocked by human imagination. We value deep expertise and diverse backgrounds, which is why our team intentionally includes several PhD scientists, two physicians, robot, rocket and laser engineers, former founders and CEOs and more – and that wide group of perspectives leads to better decisions. Our results bear this out.
As we start to invest from the new fund, we are expanding in some sectors while our focus remains the same. Canaan has a consistent approach to investing – pursue sectors with massive market opportunities, find the best people with the highest passion for their businesses, go as early as possible and partner closely with the leadership teams to help them achieve the mission. Many say this, but we have lived it, through decades of experience: 66 IPOs and 141 M&As and yes, some failures too. Our intergenerational team and long track record in the business give us both grizzled wisdom, fresh ideas and rich networks.
In recent years, we have deliberately and significantly expanded our consumer and frontier tech practices. Canaan’s Seed and Series A consumer investments resulted in sector-defining companies such as The RealReal (2019 IPO) and Instacart. In the last two years Canaan has made 40 Seed and Series A investments in consumer ventures alone. We have also increased investments in frontier tech where select companies include Aeva, developing more efficient and accurate lidar technology, and Berkshire Grey, creating robotic solutions for warehouse fulfillment and logistics. We are also going deep into security with early bets in Snyk, PerimeterX, Dragos, Axis Security and apisec.ai. Consumer and frontier technology are rooted in analytics, market trends, and society’s evolving needs.
Since Canaan’s founding over 30 years ago, we believe that improved understanding of the underlying causes of disease will lead to transformative treatments that relieve suffering from the most severe and unmet medical needs. With companies like Arvinas (IPO 2018), Arakkis, and Synthekine we are drugging the previously undruggable. With RallyBio, Day One and Stargazer we are tackling pediatric, orphan and rare diseases. At NextCure, PACT, GreyWolf and Pathios, we are pushing the frontiers of immuno-oncology. We are using the most advanced drug discovery tools and collaborative business models to drug new and known targets at Vivace and Tyra. We will continue our long history of investing in neurology, with a special focus on pain and neurodegenerative diseases. Current companies in this category include Nocion and Relievant, while previous companies include Semnur, Spinifex, Civitas and Minunus. To summarize, we are starting, building and partnering to solve complex problems.
Venture has always been about supporting entrepreneurs with bold visions for the future and empowering them to turn those ideas into a reality. This year we have seen a necessary conversation happening about fairness, equality and power. Our partnership is one of the most diverse in our industry – with multiple generations of women and first-generation immigrants – and we are excited to do more. Recent events have been painful for all of us, and have prompted an overdue and important conversation in our industry. We are all playing a long game – 5-10 years for exits, much longer for companies, cultures and careers. We know that change comes from action, founders funded, investors hired and promoted and returns realized. As our record suggests, we are in this for the long haul and we intend to continue driving strong financial performance as we also insist in improving the values and composition of the industry we shape in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion.
To close, we want to say thank you – to our Limited Partners who support us, the founders we serve, the co-investors we build with and the entire Canaan family. Raising this fund means that we can continue to be a home for big ideas and the people who chase them.
– Team Canaan