Seedcamp Podcast, Episode 63: Brendan Dickinson, Canaan Partners, investing in visionary Founders

In the ‘Seedcamp Podcast Series’ we talk with key people in the tech startup industry to hear their stories and gleam key advice and learnings from their experiences.

While in New York as part of our Seedcamp US Trip, we joined Canaan Partners Principal Brendan Dickinson. He gave us an overview on what the firm looks for in tech and healthcare investments and key characteristics of the founding teams they back. Brendan goes on to talk about everything from balancing supply and demand in marketplace businesses to how intelligent algorithms could help the retail investor.

Brendan’s passion for technology is born out of the belief that you can improve the world with a few lines of code. This began in elementary school when he programmed games and how-to sites in HyperCard on an Apple Macintosh. He kept tinkering throughout school, eventually programming robot dogs to play autonomous soccer, which he published for his master thesis (clearly robot dogs playing soccer makes the world a better place). Brendan joined our NYC office in 2010 to help invest in startups that are changing the world with code in the fintech, ecommerce and digital media sectors. He thrives on working through the interplay of numbers and strategy, and we regularly parachute him in to help our companies with quantitative deep dives. He is on the board of EVEN Financial and has worked closely with several portfolio companies including: Artspace, borro, JOOR, NatureBox, ShopKeep and Tremor Video (TRMR). He is also an organizer of the NYC Turing Fellows Program – a Canaan co-sponsored program that matches top computer science students with outstanding summer internships at leading NYC startups.

Before Canaan, Brendan interned at AppFund, a seed-stage venture firm focused on the mobile sector. Prior to that, he was a senior quantitative analyst at Barclays Capital writing PERL and SQL in real-time on a trading desk to optimize book performance. His models drove a 20x ROI.

Brendan received an MBA with distinction from the NYU Stern School of Business, where he specialized in Finance and Entrepreneurship and was a Stern Scholar. He also holds an MS in Computer Science from Brown University, and a BA in Political Science from Bowdoin College.

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