Canvas Ventures hires former Social Capital GP Mike Ghaffary

Canvas Ventures is expanding its team of three general partners to four with the hiring of Mike Ghaffary, a former general partner at Social Capital.

An experienced operator and investor, Ghaffary was previously the chief executive officer of Yelp subsidiary Eat24, as well as the co-founder and vice president of the podcast platform Stitcher.

Ghaffary joins Paul Hsiao, Gary Little and Rebecca Lynn as GPs at Canvas, which backs early-stage startups with $5 million to $20 million. The firm focuses on fintech, marketplaces, digital health and new enterprise with a portfolio that includes text-messaging platform Hustle and video security startup Owl. Ghaffary, in particular, will seek out consumer tech, marketplaces and software businesses.  

Ghaffary, a long-time angel investor, has been focused exclusively on solo dealmaking since leaving Social Capital, the fund led by Chamath Palihapitiya, in late August. After two years at the firm, Ghaffary announced his departure. Ghaffary was among several staffers to depart Social Capital last summer, shortly before Palihapitiya announced the firm would no longer raise outside capital and would operate as a holding company.

“[Social Capital] just changed a lot from a traditional venture firm,” Ghaffary told TechCrunch. “I realized that where I was most excited to be was a smaller boutique firm focused on Series A and B investing.”

Ghaffary’s portfolio of investments includes Superhuman, Strava and Skip Scooters. The former Yelp executive began his VC career in 2006 as a vice president at Summit Partners before launching Stitcher in 2007.

“I did some serious soul-searching at the 10-year mark of operating,” Ghaffary explained. “I said ‘how do I want the next 20 years to look and what do I really enjoy?’ What I really enjoy is meeting and helping the next generation of founders.”

Canvas closed its debut fund in 2013 on $175 million and nearly doubled the effort with a $300 million sophomore vehicle in 2016. Given that the firm fundraises every three years, one can assume Canvas will announce its third fund later this year. Canvas general partner Paul Hsiao, however, declined to comment on the firm’s fundraising activity.

“We are really focused on building these phenomenal companies and we are happy to have someone on board with 15 years building and investing in companies,” Hsiao told TechCrunch.