Fund News


Canvas Venture Fund raises $300M for its second fund

The company will invest in AI, network marketplaces, fintech, digital health, and new enterprise

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
September 26, 2016
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Early stage venture capital fund Canvas Ventures has raised a $300 million fund, it was announced on Monday. This is the firm's second fund, so naturally it will be known as "Canvas Ventures 2.” The firm’s first Fund was capitalized at $175 million in August of 2013.

The fund was oversubscribed, as the firm listed had listed $250 million as its target fundraising amount on their private placement memorandum. It officially closed in June.

The Canvas partnership was formed in August 2013, after it was spun out of Morgenthaler Ventures the same year. It focuses on early-stage companies, investing in the Series A and Series B rounds for startups in software and services.

The four investing partners for the new fund are Rebecca Lynn, Gary Little, Paul Hsiao, and Ben Narasin, who is the newest member of the group, having joined in September of 2015. 

I spoke to Narasin when he joined Canvas, which he called it a "small, elite, focused firm." He described to me the style of investing the firm does, which he framed as being more targeted and precise than other venture capital firms. 

"There are two styles of investing. There's the spray and pray method, which is like the Russian Army, where you take an unlimited number of citizens carrying pitchfork, and send them to battle and you hope they can win. You do it again and again without stopping. That's not interesting to me," he said. 

"The other is like the Israeli Army, or Navy SEALS, who are highly trained and at the top of their game, and who fight valiantly to win battles. I like to have a smaller fund and a smaller team. I'm fascinated by Navy SEALS because you always know the person by your side is watching your back. The idea that they make each other strong has always appealed to me."

The new fund will focus specifically on five thesis areas: artificial intelligence, network marketplaces, fintech, digital health, and new enterprise. 

It will be making initial investment of between $250,000 to $10 million, while investing between $5 million and $20 million over the life of the company.

Canvas has invested and joined the boards of companies that include FutureAdvisor, HealthLoop, Viewics, CrowdFlower, Totango, Eden, Everwise, Totango, Transfix, Viewics, and Zola. Its partners have made investments in such companies as Dropcam, Lending Club, Houzz, Doximity, Evernote, Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk), Zenefits and Kabbage.

Venture capital funds in 2016

Last year was the best year for VC fundraising in a decade, with $35.5 billion in total capital committed to VC funds in 2015, the second-highest total of the decade, surpassed only by the $36.4 billion raised in 2006. It was also a 4.7 percent increase from the $33.9 billion raised in 2014.

That pace has kept up, as Q1 saw $12 billion raised by venture capital firms, and there have already been a slew of VC fundraisings, many of them over $1 billion.

That includes Lightspeed Venture Partners, which raised $1.2 billion across two funds, and Accel Partners, which raised $2 billion across two funds.

Andreessen Horowitz's Fund V, a $1.5 billion venture capital fund, was closed in June. That was followed by Kleiner Perkins' $1 billion KPCB Digital Growth Fund III, which it closed at the end of the month.  

In July, IDG Capital and Breyer Capital teamed up for a $1 billion fund focused on China, and, earlier this month, Sapphire Ventures raised a $1 billion fund as well. 

The crown, however, goes to New Enterprise Associated, with closed its fifteenth fund with $2.8 billion in committed capital to its core fund, along with an additional $350 million for its NEA 15 Opportunity Fund. Together, that adds up a total of $3.1 billion, for the largest VC fund ever raised. 

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Canvas Venture Fund
Angel group/VC
Description: Early-Stage Venture-Capital Investors Not everyone is cut out for startups. There are easier ways to make a living. Yet you insist. Dis...

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