When we joined Canaan in 2015 and 2016, two of the many things that attracted us were the stability of the partnership and the consistent strategy of investing in both healthcare and tech under one roof. The group we joined had been investing together for 13 years on average at that point, and that was largely because Canaan has a long history of mentoring and promoting from within. GPs like Maha, Deepak, Hrach and Brent had risen from Associate or Principal to General Partner. And even though the two of us didn’t fit that mold for Canaan, it was a big draw.
Second, Canaan is one of the few firms that had remained committed to both healthcare and tech within the same fund, even as many firms had divested their healthcare practices. That strategy is even more relevant today, with the explosive intermingling of healthcare and advanced technologies. Both expertises together enriches our partnership - and augments our returns.
Highlighting both of those rich traditions, today we are so proud to share the promotions of Brendan Dickinson and Julie Grant to General Partner. Brendan and Julie embody the home-grown leadership, diversified strategy and high performance/low ego ethos that define the way we work with founders. They have advanced quickly in their venture careers by carving out core thesis areas, sourcing and leading compelling investments and showing passionate leadership for the future of the firm.
Over his nine years at Canaan, Brendan has thrived with a unique combination of strong technical acumen and deep emotional intelligence. That combination makes him a great partner to founders and also gives him a unique point of view on a product roadmap and customer needs. Since his time as an associate at Canaan, Brendan has been an early leader of our fintech practice, working on Lending Club and CircleUp with Dan and then leading an investment in Even Financial. He also saw around the corner early on insurtech with investments in Embroker and Ladder, companies with incredible founders and that today are seeing exciting momentum. Staying true to his technical roots, he also co-led a Series A investment in QCI - a quantum tech company founded by the pioneers of modern quantum computing from Yale.
Julie also exemplifies the hunter-not-gatherer mindset that is essential to success in venture capital. Recent additions to Julie’s portfolio include three new pharmaceutical companies in which she played a direct role forming with academic luminaries or founding as the CEO. An example of the former is Nocion Therapeutics, which leverages novel IP from brilliant scientists at Harvard to pursue an ambitious goal of changing paradigm of pain treatment. Her career now spans early stage drug discovery to marketed pharmaceutical products in companies large and small, providing her with a rich perspective to the partnership and her boards. Julie’s work ethic keeps the bar extremely high for all of us and has already resulted in two exits in her portfolio. We’re struck by the fact that Julie’s ascension to GP is one of the few such promotions for women within healthcare VC. Julie becomes Canaan’s fourth female GP.
Stability and generational transition are foundational to any enduring firm. And yet, there’s no denying Canaan’s good fortune to have met rising stars Brendan and Julie early, who have turned out to be incredibly well-suited to this business. We're so proud of them and excited for the founders who will team up with them as they build.
Follow them on Twitter: @bdickins and @juliepapanek