Venture Capital: How does it work, and who is it for?

Dr. Jimmy Kan

Investment Principal at Anzu Partners

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210326_IMDD Seminar_Dr. Jimmy Kan


One of the key questions that modern, academic R&D institutions have had to contend with is how to turn breakthrough ideas into commercial solutions. The commercialization of most “hard technologies” being developed in R&D organizations has traditionally been difficult due to funding ecosystems that failed to help tech entrepreneurs bridge several valleys of death between research, development, demonstration, and deployment. However, as public research funding and private capital begin to coalesce around the importance (and possible financial returns) of advancing breakthrough technologies to solve major problems in sustainable energy, health, manufacturing, and computation, the landscape of startup companies has started to shift away from software and marketplaces towards tangible innovations. Venture capital has played a key role in accelerating the impact of technical entrepreneurs and launching deep R&D into the marketplace.

This discussion is targeted towards researchers who have made discoveries worthy of commercialization and are exploring funding opportunities beyond R&D grants. From the perspective of a current venture capital investor, we will discuss how VC funding works, whether it is right for your business, and how to best position your company for successful financing.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Jimmy Kan is a Principal at Anzu Partners, a venture capital firm focused on investing in teams that have developed breakthrough industrial and life science technologies. At Anzu, he leads sourcing and investments in next-generation materials, hardware, and semiconductor technologies. He also supports portfolio companies in business development, strategic marketing, and product management.

Prior to joining Anzu, Jimmy was a Senior Hardware Engineer & Researcher at Qualcomm, where he focused on development of advanced memory technologies for low-power computing and IoT devices. His work in this area resulted in improved understanding amongst the semiconductor community on how next-generation non-volatile memory technologies could be reliably embedded into logic processes. Before Qualcomm, he spent time at Genentech developing high-throughput processes for characterizing and modeling protein purification in biologics.

He has given invited talks around the world about nanomaterials and memory technologies, has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, and currently holds 24 granted US patents. He is a board member at Niron Magnetics and Aspinity, and is a board observer at 6 other venture backed startups.

Jimmy earned his B.S. in Physics from University of California, San Diego as well as a Ph.D. in Materials Science, where his dissertation focused on taking advantage of the unique magnetic, electronic, and optical properties of nanostructured materials for computation and storage applications.