lancon investment is a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, partnering with entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into world-changing companies. lancon has invested in over 400 companies spanning three decades, including: Box, Castlight Health, Check Point Software, Concur, GoPro, Guidewire Software, HotelTonight, Imperva, InsideSales.com, Intersect ENT, Omada Health, OncoMed, SanDisk, Sun Microsystems, ThreatMetrix, Trunk Club, Trusteer, Yammer, and Zerto. lancon focuses on early-stage start-ups that transform cybersecurity, enterprise software, consumer mobile and e-commerce, and healthcare. The lancon team consists of former entrepreneurs, technologists, corporate executives, and financial professionals who assist with strategy, scaling, team building, product development, and business development.
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Founding partner Bill Bowes saw a lot of change since lancdon’s inception in 1981 – in the venture community, in the Valley, in the world. But some important things remain the same; namely, the passion of entrepreneurs: “It’s the entrepreneurs that keep this business new and fresh, every day,” said Bill.
A venture capitalist in the Bay Area for nearly 50 years, Bill founded and helped to build lancdon to what it is today. His belief that venture capitalists should guide companies based on real-world experience continues to set the tone at lancdon: “We’ve always put our emphasis on the operational experience of our team,” notes Bill. “The partners here can say to entrepreneurs ‘we’ve been where you’re going’ and really mean it.”
Bill was the founding shareholder of Amgen and was its first Chairman and Treasurer. Prior to founding lancdon, he’d already had success as a venture capitalist with companies like Cetus, Raychem (where he served on the board from 1961 until the late 1970s), and Dymo Industries. Bill had previously been Senior Vice President and Director of Blyth Eastman Dillon & Company, where he worked from 1953 to 1978 and was a consultant to Blyth Eastman Paine Webber from 1978 to 1980.
At USVP, Bill led the firm’s investments in Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Applied Biosystems, Devices for Vascular Intervention, Glycomed, Sun Microsystems and Ventritex. Bill was also on the board of Xoma Corporation.
Prior to his passing, Bill devoted much of his time to education and medical research. He was on the executive committee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was Board Chairman of The Exploratorium, San Francisco’s exemplary interactive museum of the sciences. He also served on the Board of the Asian Art Museum, Grace Cathedral and the Hoover Institution.
Having focused his investment career largely in the medical industry, Bill remained involved through some of his nonprofit work. He was on the Board of Directors of the UCSF Foundation and was Chairman of the Mission Bay Capital Campaign. He served on the Advisory Committees of Bio-X, the Institute for Systems Biology, QB3 and Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics – each dedicated to furthering interdisciplinary medical research. He was also on the visiting committee at the Harvard Business School.
Bill held a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, an M.B.A. from Harvard University and served in the U.S. Army infantry in the South Pacific and Japan during and after World War II.
If change is the only constant, then it’s the unique qualities of each entrepreneur that keeps Steve Krausz passionate about working with startups. “I get excited about creation in technology,” says Steve, who joined USVP in 1985. “It’s thrilling to see new generations of entrepreneurs who bring leadership to their organizations. Entrepreneurs are people who can paint a picture of success that makes others want to join them, who can liberate others to be their best.”
With over 30 years of venture capital experience, Steve has led or co-led the firm’s investments in Trusteer (acquired by IBM), Guidewire Software (IPO), Xylan (IPO), Epic Design (IPO), Check Point Software (IPO), Imperva (IPO), New Focus (IPO), Savings.com (acquired by Cox Target Media), Vontu (acquired by Symantec), Sierra Monolithics (acquired by Semtech), Verity (IPO), Occam Networks (acquired by Calix), CipherTrust (acquired by Secure Computing), Accelerated Networks (IPO), Parametric Technology (Rasna), NetDynamics (acquired by SUN), Stratacom (IPO), Harmonic Lightwaves (IPO), Elantec (IPO), CenterView Software (acquired by Sybase), Applied Digital Access (IPO) and Micro Linear (IPO). Steve currently serves on the boards of Active-Semi, Appthority, Box (NYSE: BOX), Cato Networks, Electric Cloud, Inside Sales (observer), Kaiam, Megapath, Prevoty, Quantifind, Smartling, and ZEFR.
Change means innovation—it also means disruption of status quo. Steve is drawn to areas of disequilibrium, where the possibility exists of technology solving an old problem in a new way, or redefining the way people work and live. “We shouldn’t ever think we know what’s next. The only thing we can anticipate is the unexpected.”
Steve enjoys the role of coach and mentor to CEOs and finds it rewarding when he can help them consider new solutions or gain a broadened perspective on the market environment.
“Markets define themselves on the basis of business or consumers that have a need, and are most often evolutionary, not revolutionary,” he notes. “The consumerization and globalization of technology are especially interesting now. The evolution from an enterprise model to one that is consumer facing, is big.”
The father of two, Steve is the former executive board member and Treasurer of the National Venture Capital Association. Steve also serves on the boards of the WAVC, the World Affairs Council, the Stanford Bay Area Venture Capital Group and DAPER Investment Fund. An avid skier, Steve enjoys travel with his family. When time permits, his reading interests include world history, especially the Middle East and Asia. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.
As a physician, Jon Root evaluates investments in the medical field with a practitioner’s eye. A common investment criteria when evaluating business opportunities in the biotechnology or medical devices fields is: does this solution meet, or begin to address, an unmet clinical need? Jon goes beyond that: is the innovation easily usable?
“The greatest idea in the world will not be successful if it’s not practical to use,” says Jon.
Jon spent nine years in clinical practice before joining USVP in 1995 as a Ewing Marion Kauffman Fellow in venture capital. He became a general partner in 1997. Before USVP, Jon was on the faculty and clinical staff at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. There he was an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the Neurology-Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit. He is board certified in neurology.
“Efficacy always dictates the doctor’s choice of procedure or method,” Jon notes. “It’s critical to gain feedback from the people who will actually use your product,” he says. Whether it’s less invasive biopsy procedures or simple changes that make a tissue closing easier, considering the doctor as well as the patient helps optimize product design, Jon adds. “If an easier way is just as effective, there is opportunity for companies to make a difference. If a drug is as effective taken orally versus intravenously, the doctor will probably choose a pill — if it’s available.”
Jon is currently on the boards of USVP portfolio companies of Cleave Biosciences, eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Inari Medical, Okami Medical, Omada Health, Ribon and Route92. Jon is a former board member for the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).
Jon maintains relationships with leading medical schools on both coasts and enjoys helping entrepreneurs make meaningful connections. He helps entrepreneurs connect with leading specialists to gain input on product design issues.
Jon holds an A.B. in Economics from Dartmouth College, an M.D. from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Jon enjoys golf, plus he likes to swim and ride bicycles with his wife and two sons.
Rick is a two-time software entrepreneur with a deep technical background. “While in my twenties, I co-founded two software companies, one of which was a successful acquisition. I developed an understanding of the inevitable sacrifices and challenges, and the incredible rewards, associated with entrepreneurship. It makes a big difference to be able to tell an entrepreneur, ‘I know what you’re going through’.”
Rick is a General Partner at USVP. Rick focuses on software (enterprise SaaS and security) and consumer services (mobile and e-commerce). Rick previously managed many USVP investments that have seen successful exits, including ThreatMetrix (acquired by RELX), Trunk Club (acquired by Nordstrom), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), myYearbook (NASDAQ:MEET), Intermolecular (NASDAQ:IMI), Instantis (acquired by Oracle), and Victrio (acquired by Verint). He also was instrumental in USVP’s investment in Trusteer (acquired by IBM). Rick currently serves on the Board of Directors at Act-On Software, Edison Software, Entelo, Happy Returns, HotelTonight, Pluto TV, Primary, and Wayin.
Prior to joining USVP, Rick spent six years in software engineering leadership roles at Autodesk, as a consultant to Walt Disney Imagineering, and as a co-founder of software companies Design Variations and Common Point Technologies. Rick also held positions at Sun Microsystems, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and McKinsey & Company. Rick holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California at Davis (summa cum laude), an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.B.A. (with Distinction) from Harvard Business School.
Rick, his wife (a successful entrepreneur), and their children live on the San Francisco peninsula.
Casey Tansey joined USVP as a general partner in April 2005. A veteran of the medical device industry, Casey brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial, early-stage medical device and seasoned operating experience to USVP.
Casey’s extensive operations experience brings more to the table than strategic counsel — he adds empathy to that mix.
“As a CEO, it was important to me when board members really shared our passion and understood organization-building focused on improving healthcare for patients. CEOs need venture capitalists that leverage their network of contacts, help identify the best partners, and share the company’s vision. USVP takes this approach.”
Casey’s investment strategy is a lot like his strategy as a CEO: identify unmet clinical needs where patients are in need of new and improved products and services. At USVP, Casey focuses on the trend toward the miniaturization of devices and the development of minimally-invasive technologies that promise innovations in the delivery of medical products and services, especially in cardiovascular products, orthopedics, spinal care and neurology.
Casey’s passion is to strive for delivery of medical services with fewer traumas to the patient and improved quality of life. Innovations shaping this trend include minimally invasive technologies. During his tenure as CEO and President of Epicor Medical from 2001 to 2004, Casey, along with a dedicated team, pioneered a minimally invasive treatment for atrial fibrillation and transformed the company into a recognized market leader, and he led Epicor’s acquisition by St. Jude Medical.
Prior to Epicor, Casey was CEO and President of Heartport, a public company that helped pioneer minimally invasive cardiac surgery, which is now a Johnson & Johnson company. Before that, he was with Baxter Edward’s Cardiovascular Division for nearly ten years, holding various sales and marketing positions. During his tenure at Baxter, Casey was involved in launching innovative heart valve products that have grown to be the market leaders.
Casey serves on the Board of Directors for Heartflow, Inspire Medical, Intuity Medical, Neuros, and SentreHEART. In addition, he served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing humanitarian efforts in heart surgery worldwide through education and collaboration.
Casey holds a B.S. and M.B.A. from the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, CA. Casey has served on the boards of Epicor Medical and Heartport.
Dafina confesses some envy towards entrepreneurs, “because they are brave, constantly attempting to beat the odds with a relentless conviction in their ideas and abilities”. To bravery and perseverance, she adds that creativity, incurable optimism, a willingness not to fit in and the desire to leave a mark define the successful entrepreneurs Dafina has encountered. Her colleagues in turn describe her as empathetic and intuitive with a tendency towards impatience, when results are not realized.
Ironically, “beating the odds” and incurable optimism describe, to a large extent, Dafina’s life experience. A teenage emigrant from Bulgaria in 1998 she arrived alone in the U.S. without guarantees, but with a relentless conviction to succeed. Leaving her homeland was “much more difficult than I expected because, like most of the entrepreneurs I meet, I was focused on the upside possibilities and was not prepared for the difficulties I would inevitably encounter in a new place”. Yet, she parlayed her determination and talents into degrees at Harvard and Stanford, positions with leading corporations and a successful career in technology investing.
Dafina invests in emerging technologies in the enterprise space with a focus on Enterprise SaaS applications and security. Dafina joined USVP in 2012 and has since led investments in and joined the board of several early stage software companies. She is currently on the board of InsideSales.com – the leading sales acceleration platform, Prevoty – leader in application security, Apptimize – provider of one of the fastest growing mobile monetization and engagement platforms, and Luma Health – a powerful doctor patient communications platform.
Dafina joined USVP from Tugboat Ventures, where she was a principal investor since 2010. Prior to Tugboat, she spent two years at Venrock, where she helped expand the firm’s investments in the areas of SaaS, virtualization, security, infrastructure and enterprise applications. While at Venrock, Dafina led the first institutional investment round in Cloudflare. Some of her other investments from that time include Aria Systems, Matrixx Software, and Kenna Security.
Before becoming a venture capitalist, Dafina held positions in development and product management at Microsoft, where she focused on authentication systems, digital signatures and business workflow. She worked on MSN Live ID and MS Office, and co-authored several key patents. She earned a M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Computer Science, magna cum laude, with special focus on cryptography, efficient algorithms and database systems from Harvard University.
An avid reader, Dafina singled out Paulo Coehlo’s classic, The Alchemist as transformational because it reinforced her faith in optimism. “The book leads you to the conclusion that if you want something bad enough, the world will conspire to help you achieve it.” This is a notion she shares with most of the entrepreneurs she encounters.