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Dan Ciporin on Venture Capital

Career Conversations Podcast: Dan Ciporin ’86, General Partner at Canaan Partners

Episode 7: Dan Ciporin ’86, General Partner at Canaan Partners, with Michelle Kwon ’20


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Dan Ciporin ’86 is general partner at Canaan, an early-stage venture capital firm. Dan is interviewed by Michelle Kwon ’20, a second-year MBA student at Yale School of Management.

At Canaan, Dan partners with startups to deliver innovation, particularly in the areas of financial technology, ecommerce, and marketplaces. He joined Canaan after serving as Chairman and CEO of, where he took the company public after leading it from zero to over $100 million in revenue in five years and then sold it to Ebay. Prior to that, Dan was Senior VP of MasterCard International running their global debit program. Dan earned an A.B. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management in 1986.

Michelle Kwon ’20 is a second-year student in Yale SOM's full-time MBA program. Before enrolling at Yale SOM, she worked as a Business Affairs Project Manager supporting the launch of Airbnb Experiences in San Francisco. Before Airbnb, she worked at Soros Fund Management in New York City supporting equity capital markets, securitized products, and growth equity investments. Michelle graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and conducted research in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar. She is from Orange County, CA by way of Cincinnati, OH.


Dan Ciporin: (05:29) There's something that is incredibly gratifying about working with high growth, very innovative, disruptive companies. Not all of which by the way are successful to be clear. It's gratifying along a number of different dimensions. First of all, you're working with people that are taking big risks themselves, and those are the kind of people I like working with, people that are willing to take personal risk as well as obviously company and financial risk. Secondly, I think these are the types of companies that are looking to in some way, shape, or form make the world a better place.

Dan Ciporin: (13:17) “Show that you have a lot of discipline and rigor around understanding the implications, financial implications of different assumptions that you would have to make in order to determine whether those companies will be successful, and to the extent that you engage with and network within our part of the conversation that happens be it social media or otherwise around technology and innovation. Those are the kind of things I think that people in venture capital firms look for.”

Dan Ciporin: (16:23) “The advice I'd give to others is try to plan out where you want to be in the next five to 10 years, and then work backward from there. I found that I really loved being part of something that was creative and cutting edge, and with all the attendant risk and stress that that entailed.”

Download the transcript.


Resources & Show Notes

About Dan Ciporin, Canaan Partners

Follow Dan Ciporin on Twitter

Follow Michelle Kwon on Twitter  

About Career Conversations

In this podcast series, SOM students sit down with alumni for a series of candid conversations about career paths, industries, opportunities for MBAs, and discussions on various career topics including work-life balance and creating a meaningful impact in business and society. This series is produced by and recorded at the Yale School of Management.