“In the Studio,” Canaan’s Ross Fubini Brings An Engineer’s Mind To Sand Hill Road

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been a contributor to TechCrunch since January 2011. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” begins to wind down the year by hosting someone who can lay claim to the following roles — developer, engineer, CTO, VP of Engineering, and founder — and now, after a few years of angel and seed investing, has moved down to Sand Hill Road as a partner at a large venture firm.

You may not notice on first glance, but Ross Fubini has racked up a diverse set of experiences in his 15 jam-packed years in the Valley. Well-known among technologists in the Valley, Fubini is otherwise another quieter builder who has amassed a dizzying array of experiences since interning at Netscape while studying engineering at Carnegie Mellon, moving from an engineer into leadership roles with more management responsibilities, founding his own company and quarterbacking the investment and acquisition process, and then getting involved with companies at the seed level as an angel investor with Kapor Capital in San Francisco. Fubini is also sought after for his opinions on core technology, and is a formal advisor to Palantir.

Now, in moving down south to Sand Hill Road, Fubini joins Canaan Partners, a large venture capital firm with an international presence. (TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha covered Fubini’s move earlier this year.) In doing so, Fubini is part of a line of operators turned angel investors with impressive portfolios who have taken partnership roles on Sand Hill Road, a trend started when Reid Hoffman went to Greylock a few years ago, and exemplified by others such as Shervin Pishevar (Menlo Ventures), Mark Goines (Morgenthaler), Mike Abbott (Kleiner Perkins), and most recently, Chris Dixon (a16z). In this discussion, Fubini and I discuss the arc of his career, from his days interning at Netscape to working as an engineering leader, to founding and selling his company, to his style and approach to investments, and what he hopes to do now as he moves away from seed stage and tries to work with companies in building more sustainable businesses, operations, and technologies.