Why Canaan: Interviews, Careers, & Portfolio

Find out more about Canaan's interview process, compensation, and sector focus & track record
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Canaan Overview

    Canaan (or Canaan Partners) is an American venture capital firm located in San Francisco with additional offices in New York City, Menlo Park, and Connecticut.

    The firm primarily invests in early stage companies in the Life Sciences, Frontier Tech, Fintech, Enterprise, and Consumer Tech industries. The firm also tends to invest more in tech companies based in Israel.

    In 1987, Eric Young, Harry Rein, and many other employees at the VC unit of General Electric performed a management buyout to spin out the unit as an independent firm. This firm was named Canaan Partners.

    Bulk of Canaan’s investment goes to technology and healthcare sectors. The firm allocates 60% of its funds to tech investments and 40% to healthcare. On average, their investments are $15 MM to $20 MM per company.

    Canaan also stands out due to the fact that the firm invests more in companies that are female-led compared to its peers. Another thing is that 40% of its investment team are women – which is 4x the industry average – and also 47% of their investors are immigrants or first generation.

    Canaan logo

    Canaan AUM

    According to Canaan’s record, the firm has over $6 billion in assets under management as of April 6, 2023.

    Canaan Interview Process & Questions

    Firms can change their interview process with each candidate as they see fit. However, you’ll find consistencies in the general nature of the process if you interview at Canaan (or a firm like it) such as the following:

    • The process consists of 4 to 6 rounds of interviews
    • For the initial interviews, the HR team or junior investment professionals will supervise the process. For the later rounds, the more senior folks will be in charge.
    • The entire process typically takes several weeks (unless it is “on-cycle” or “on-campus” recruiting)

    Anticipate interviewers to ask a mixture of behavioral questions, fit questions, and technical / investing questions.

    For in-depth lessons and guidance, check out my Growth Equity Interview Guide.

    Why Canaan

    Firms often want to know the specific reasons behind each candidate’s interest to apply. That is why you’ll almost always get asked the crucial question “Why this firm?”

    This is the perfect opportunity to mention whoever you’ve met at the firm and how they’ve made a really positive impression on you if you did some networking prior to the interview.

    It’s also advisable to do research about the firm.

    One of the best ways to learn about a firm is to hear the thoughts of the firm’s founders, investors, and executives. For this, I recommend listening to their interviews and podcast guestings.

    For example, here’s Bloomberg Technology interview with Maha Ibrahim and Nina Kjellson, general partners at Canaan Partners:

    YouTube video

    More interviews

    Canaan Case Study

    Case studies are an integral part of interviews at firms like Canaan because these exercises help firms to assess their candidates’ technical knowledge and communication skills.

    Most case studies revolve around investment recommendations and financial modeling. But for junior roles, a cold calling case study may be required as well.

    To help with your preparations, I’ve tackled case studies in great detail inside my Growth Equity Interview Guide.

    Canaan Salary & Compensation

    According to Glassdoor, the estimated pay for analysts and associates who work at Canaan is $103,468 and $110,247 per year, respectively. These figures are median and can still change depending on many factors like experience, education, and skill level.


    Canaan salary


    Canaan salary

    Canaan Careers, Jobs, & Internships

    To see what roles are currently open at Canaan, check out our job board which also has a list of job vacancies from similar firms.

    Canaan Portfolio & Investments

    According to Crunchbase and Canaan’s public record, the firm has 12 funds, 70 IPOs, 145 M&A, and 767 investments. Some of their notable deals include Trébol, Actio Biosciences, and Atmosfy.

    Notable Transaction: SAVVY

    SAVVY is a Tel Aviv Startup that developed a workforce automation platform to help secure SaaS apps against vulnerabilities and threats.

    SAVVY reports metrics and actionable insights to security teams in real time so they can identify high-risk areas and pinpoint which teams or roles require more support. The platform also recommends risk mitigation steps and tracks improvement over time.

    At the core of SAVVY’s offering is its Workforce Security Automation platform. This platform deals with human errors and equips SecOps with comprehensive security automation playbooks for devising SaaS incident responses before an unsecure action happens.

    The said platform is already deployed by Fortune 500 companies in consumer goods and hospitality industries – acting as a pop-up security co-pilot which provides suggestive guidance and alerts to improve security decision-making.

    In July 2023, Canaan led a Series A funding round for SAVVY where they raised $22 million additional capital. Other investors participated including Lightspeed and Cyberstarts.

    SAVVY plans to use the funds to expand their platform, improve SaaS integrations, and improve their capacity to counter unsafe use of generative AI.

    Next Steps

    Canaan can be the right fit for you if you’re interested in technology and healthcare investing. The firm is definitely an excellent place to develop your career in finance.

    If you want to send your application to Canaan and make sure you stand out from the competition during the hiring process, I highly recommend you check out my Growth Equity Interview Guide.

    It’s a self-paced online course which will help you get a good grasp of growth equity concepts (such as market thesis, valuation, financial modeling, and many more) which typically get asked during interviews. Take a peek and start learning!


    The #1 Online Course for Growth Investing Interviews

    Screenshot of course preview

    Get My Best Tips on Growth Equity Recruiting

    Just great content, no spam ever, unsubscribe at any time

    Picture of Mike Hinckley

    Mike Hinckley

    Founder of Growth Equity Interview Guide


    Coached and assisted hundreds of candidates recruiting for growth equity & VC

    • General Atlantic logo     Investor at General Atlantic 
    •      Operator in portfolio at Airbnb 
    • Deutsche Bank logo     I-banker at Deutsche Bank
    • US Treasury Department logo      Advisor in Obama Administration
    • Wharton logo     MBA at Wharton
    Company logo


    Get My Best Growth Equity Interview Tips

    No spam ever, unsubscribe anytime