VC Breakfast with Guest VC: Eric Young, Partner, Canaan Partners
Since co-founding Canaan in 1987, Eric has helped launch a multitude of market-leading technology and efficient energy companies from inception to IPO or acquisition. Eric leads Canaan’s investments in cleantech, with a focus on identifying next-generation leaders in electric power and energy efficiency, and also invests in enterprise and communications infrastructure companies.
Passionate about changing the balance in the power industry to support a more sustainable future, Eric has actively invested in energy companies since the early 1990s. He backed early disruptors Transphase Systems, maker of large-scale energy storage systems; and Capstone Turbine, the world’s leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems. As an active board member for 13 years, Eric helped transform Capstone Turbine from an engineering project into publicly-held leader in the distributed power generation industry. Eric also served as an active director at Enpirion, developer of the first major innovation in integrated power technology in over a decade.
An expert in network and communications systems, Eric was also an early investor in Copper Mountain Networks (CMTN); ONI Systems (acquired by Ciena); and Kalpana (acquired by Cisco Systems). Eric has generated numerous positive outcomes from his investments in high-performance companies, including Argon Networks, Capstone Turbine, Diffusion Software, Frame Technology, International Network Services, Integrated Packaging Assembly, SandForce, Spectrian and Visigenic Software.
Prior to Canaan, Eric was a Senior VP of GE Venture Capital, where he led successful investments in companies such as Nellcor and Octel Communications. Eric also held a variety of sales, marketing and operations management positions at GE in two power-related industrial product businesses.
Eric currently sits on the boards of Enpirion, maker of the industry’s smallest power management system-on-a-chip; EnStorage, developer of a low-cost regenerative fuel cell energy-storage-system; Cortina Systems, a leading supplier of intelligent communication solutions; Lancope, the global leader in network behavior analysis and response technology; Xirrus, an innovator in high performance Wi-Fi; and Ebates, number one in online cash-back shopping.
Eric earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a MBA from Northwestern University. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Cornell University’s entrepreneurship initiative, Entrepreneurship@Cornell, as well as a frequent speaker to university students at Stanford, Cornell and UC Berkeley on the transformative power of entrepreneurship.