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will not make new investments in Canaan IX, although he will continue to oversee his prior investments, Ahrens says. One relatively new addition at Canaan, Warren Lee, has recently been promoted to general partner, and oversees digital media investments in the New York City area.
As always, there are plenty of things to worry about in the macro environment for making investments on startups with a new $600 million fund. Without going on ad nauseum, the list of concerns Ahrens mentioned are “frothy tech valuations,” an unpredictable FDA, and questions about the viability of the euro. Then there is so-called “syndicate risk” in which VC firms have to worry about whether their fellow investors will have staying power over the next 10 years to help support portfolio companies.
On the positive side, Ahrens said the quality of technology ideas emerging now constantly seem to be getting better. It’s safe to say that tonight, at Canaan’s annual reception at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, there will be a lot of kudos going around for raising a fund during a tough time, and plenty of optimism about what’s to come in the next few years. Ahrens, naturally, sounded fired up about what’s to come when we spoke by phone Friday afternoon.
“When you look at Apple, and the iPhone, think of all the technologies that came together to make it happen,” Ahrens says. “There’s the metal hardware, the slick glass touchscreen, Wi-Fi, cell connections, software to make it all work together, it’s downright amazing. Thirty years ago we weren’t close. It’s exciting to think in 10 years or 20 years what we’ll be using.”
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