The concept of Entrepreneur in Residence is not new to the venture community in India. There are multiple cases of venture and private equity firms like IDG Ventures and 3i who already have EIRs in India.
Canaan Partners has been hosting EIRs at a global level. Typically most EIR programs are very local given the EIR’s close association with one or two local partners. For the first time now, Canaan is pleased to bring Sharad Sharma as the first global EIR from India. Further, while some EIR programs tend to start with a specific idea and hence are closer to the incubation model, Sharad is really starting with a clean slate in a very exciting space – that should allow us a broader canvas to start with. EIR is really a structure that allows us to choose an entrepreneur ahead of the idea. In EIR, VCs or PEs bet strongly on the capabilities of the EIR. By the sheer nature of the EIR, it becomes a risky model for a VC. But at the same time it is also very selective, meaning a VC can not do too many EIRs at one point of time.
Sharad is the former head for Yahoo India R&D and shares a long standing relationship with Canaan Partners. Canaan and Sharad also share a common interest in cloud computing as a disruptive area of growth. Over the next few months, Sharad with work with the Canaan team to identify an opportunity that he would like to build over the coming years. From a timing perspective, cloud computing will be a trend that will alter how computing is done over the next 5 – 10 years. For cloud computing to take the fast track, a lot of technological development will need to take place first. From his prior role at Yahoo, Sharad has gained an early insight into this space and we hope to leverage the same expertise to build a great start-up.
Overall, Sharad’s prior track record, his passion for entrepreneurship, early knowledge of cloud computing, and interpersonal comfort made it compelling for us to take this route with him. We also felt equipped to contribute to his efforts given our global footprint and existing exposure to cloud computing through companies like Virsto and Soasta, . As the Canaan EIR, Sharad will have access to the Canaan resources in terms of deal flow, internal research and people that Canaan reaches out to.
There is great talent residing in companies across the world. Challenging environment like the one in which we live today, puts a premium on expertise and experience, and provides an opportune timing for such talent to find their calling. We hope with Sharad taking this leap, more and more senior executives will be inspired to tread the entrepreneurial path.
Alok Mittal, General Partner
iYogi, a Gurgaon based direct to consumer technical support provider, recently announced that it has acquired Utah based Clean Machine Inc, a personal computer security and performance management service provider, for an undisclosed amount. iYogi had earlier raised $12.6 million in venture financing from Canaan Partners, Silicon Valley Bank and SAP Ventures. The acquisition would broaden iYogi’s access to key markets through Clean Machine’s existing partnerships. iYogi also plans to integrate the technology developed by Clean Machine for delivering enhanced services by managing the health and security for PC’s and Apple Computers.
MCarbon, a mobile VAS company that Canaan Partners has invested in, has partnered with Airtel to implement the first phase of Start/Stop service launched by Airtel. mCarbon will eventually hand this over to IBM, which manages all the customer-facing systems for Airtel. Airtel launched the services soon after TRAI issued a mandate to telecom VAS providers to seek approval from customers before billing them for certain services. With the launch of this service Airtel has promised more control to the end-user. Start/Stop will allow Airtel users to manage value added services on their mobile - those offered by Airtel (on-deck), as well as third party subscription VAS (off-deck or Direct to Consumer) - users can now unsubscribe from individual VAS by sending an SMS to toll-free short code 121.
VaxInnate Corporation, a biotechnology company pioneering breakthrough technology that could dramatically improve the potency, manufacturing capacity and cost effectiveness of vaccines, recently announced the closing of $30 million in new Series D financing. Canaan Partners, one of the existing investors also participated in this round. VaxInnate will use the funds for the development of the company’s vaccines for infectious diseases that include influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and dengue. The company is also planning to fund several clinical trials, including a Phase II clinical trial of its M2e universal flu vaccine and a Phase I clinical trial of its seasonal flu vaccine in an elderly population. VaxInnate is already working on a prototype swine flu vaccine that could be available for preclinical animal studies in as early as six weeks.
Peer39, a semantic ad specialist, recently raised $10.5 million in its third round of funding. Canaan Partners, one of the existing investors, also participated in this round. With the latest funding, the three-year-old New York shop’s total financing adds up to $22 million to date. The company plans to use the proceeds to support business development and sales activities.
OMCAR 2009, the Online Marketing Summit, a non-profit initiative, focusing on ‘empowering businesses to grow by leveraging the power of Online Marketing’, was held on May 23rd, 2009, from 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM at Amity Innovation Incubator, Noida. OMCAR 2009 brought together online marketing professionals, sales & marketing people, advertisers & brand managers, entrepreneurs, CXOs of SMBs, web developers & designers and students under one roof to provide opportunities for networking, sharing of views and interacting with the experts from the Online Marketing industry. Alok Mittal, General Partner, Canaan Partners also participated at the event and shared his views on ‘Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Online World’.
Canaan Partners in association with TiE-Bangalore hosted a panel discussion on “VAS opportunities in 3G and beyond: Myths, Opportunities, and Challenges” at Le Meridian in Bangalore on May 21, 2009. The discussion revolved around the emergence of 3G and beyond and what realistic opportunities it may present for new companies starting in this space. Discussions were also held on the real challenges faced and potential opportunities in this space. The panel consisted of representatives from the eco-system: Operators, VAS solution providers and VCs.
Canaan Partners invests in entrepreneurs and works alongside them to turn visionary ideas into valuable companies. Since 1987, the firm has catalyzed the growth of disruptive technology startups and healthcare companies revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With $3.4 billion under management and more than 94 acquisitions and 54 IPOs to date, Canaan has funded companies such as Acme Packet, Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo), CommerceOne, DoubleClick (acquired by Google), ID Analytics (acquired by LifeLock), Match.com (acquired by IAC), SandForce (acquired by LSI), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP) and Virsto Software (acquired by VMware), as well as notable healthcare companies such as Advanced BioHealing (acquired by Shire), BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi), Chimerix (NASDAQ: CMRX) and Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion). Current technology investments include Blurb, Kabam, Lending Club, Performance Marketing Brands, SOASTA, Tremor Video and Zoosk in the U.S.; BharatMatrimony and UnitedLex in India; and PrimeSense and LiveU in Israel. The Canaan healthcare portfolio includes emerging leaders such as Liquidia Technologies, Civitas Therapeutics and DICOM Grid. Canaan maintains a presence in the global innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, New York City, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com or www.facebook.com/canaanpartners.
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