Board of Directors
Brent Ahrens, General Partner / West Coast
Brent joined Canaan in 1999 as a member of the Kauffman Fellows Program and throughout his tenure has lead investments in an array of healthcare companies, with a focus on biopharma and medtech. Brent’s current investments and board seats include device developer and manufacturer Abyrx, reflux device company EndoGastric Solutions, immune-oncology drug developer Grey Wolf Therapeutics, autoimmune disease therapy provider Pathios Therapeutics, device maker for chronic back pain Relievant MedSystems, neurodegenerative disease company, Transposon Therapeutics, and oncology-focused ThirtyFiveBio.
His previous companies include Dexcom (DXCM), Revivant (acquired by ZOLL), Peninsula Pharmaceuticals (acquired by JNJ), Cerexa (acquired by FRX), Calixa (acquired by CBST), AtheroMed (acquired by VOLC); Durata Therapeutics (DRTX, acquired by AGN), Data Sciences International (acquired by HBIO); Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by DNPUF); Spinifex (acquired by NVS) and Unchained Labs (acquired by Carlyle Group).
Prior to joining Canaan, Brent worked in both commercial and technical roles at General Surgical Innovations, Ethicon Endo-Surgery (J&J), and IAP Research. He also has several surgical instrument patents to his credit.
Brent earned an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College after graduating with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton. He serves on the Advisory Board at Tuck and is a Board Trustee at the University of Dayton.
Canaan is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas. With $5B under management, a diversified fund and over 200 exits to date, Canaan has invested in some of the world’s leading technology and healthcare companies over the past 32 years. Canaan’s focus areas include consumer tech, fintech, enterprise/SaaS, frontier tech, biopharma, digital health and medtech. To learn more about our people and our portfolio, please visit canaan.com.
Michael Carusi, General Partner, Advanced Technology Ventures
Mike is a General Partner and Team Leader of Lightstone Ventures (LSV) and focuses on investments in the biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors. He is based in the firm’s Menlo Park, CA office, where he also serves as a General Partner at Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV). His representative investments include Allay Therapeutics, Altura Medical (acquired by Lombard), Ardian (acquired by Medtronic), Cala Health, EndoGastric Solutions, Gynesonics, MediSix Therapeutics, MicroVention (acquired by Terumo), Nuvaira, Plexxikon (acquired by Daiichi Sankyo), PowerVision (acquired by Alcon), Second Genome, Shoulder Innovations, Tallac Therapeutics, and Willow.
Featured on the Forbes Midas List of top technology and life science investors, Mike is a recognized thought leader in the industry and a frequent speaker at healthcare conferences. He serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. In addition, Mike has been heavily involved with several programs at Stanford University including the Stanford Biodesign Program and, more recently, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education (Spectrum). Lastly, Mike served as a Director on the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Board of Directors and remains active in helping to shape policy affecting both innovation and healthcare.
Earlier in his career, Mike served as a Director of Business Development for Inhale Therapeutic Systems (now Nektar Therapeutics, NASDAQ: NKTR), a venture-backed pulmonary drug delivery company that went public in 1994. At Inhale, Mike led partnering activities with a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Mike also was a Principal at The Wilkerson Group, a leading management consulting firm focused exclusively on healthcare. At The Wilkerson Group, Mike helped establish the firm’s offices in London and San Francisco.
M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University
Sector: Biopharmaceuticals, Medical Technology
John Gillings, Vice President, Accelmed
Mr. Gillings joined Accelmed Partners in 2019, bringing more than 10 years of finance and investment analysis experience in HealthTech. Prior to Accelmed, John established and ran the internal Investor Relations function for Apollo Endosurgery and, prior to that, spent roughly nine years in equity research focused solely on the HealthTech space. His research coverage spanned a broad range of disease states and device types and included large multi-national organizations as well as earlier-stage companies with novel technologies. Prior to business school, he spent time in audit, corporate accounting and investment banking. John holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Accounting from the University of Utah and a Masters in Finance from London Business School.
Darin Hammers, President and CEO EndoGastric Solutions, Inc.
Darin Hammers has over 30 years’ experience with increasing leadership roles in the medical device industry. Most recently, he served as CEO of DYSIS Medical from September 2018 – December 2022. Before joining DYSIS, Mr. Hammers served as the President and CEO of Cogentix Medical, acquired by Laborie in April 2018. He joined Cogentix’s predecessor company, Uroplasty, as Vice President of Global Sales in January 2013. During his time at Uroplasty, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer before being named President and CEO in July 2016. Prior to joining Uroplasty, he was Vice President of Sales for Bard Medical Division of C.R. Bard based in Covington, GA, focused on Urology/Gynecology care products. Mr. Hammers also spent more than 12 years with Boston Scientific in various sales leadership positions and six years at ETHICON. He received his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Southern Indiana, and a master’s in Business Administration from Emory University – Goizueta Business School.
Kunal Paymaster, Principal, SightLine Partners
Mr. Paymaster has 15+ years of healthcare experience. He joined SightLine in 2012 and has been a core part of the investment team, serving as an advisor or board observer at several portfolio companies. Prior to joining SightLine, Kunal spent seven years in various operating roles at Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm Management business unit.
Alejandro Sanchez, Managing Director, Evidity
Alejandro Sanchez co-founded Evidity Health Capital with Paul Enever in 2014. He has nearly a decade of experience in PE/VC investing and has been advising boards and C-suite executives in the technology sector on commercialization, operations, and strategy for nearly 20 years.
Prior to joining Evidity, Alejandro was a co-founder and partner of Hermes Growth Partners, where he launched its Telecom, Media, and Technology Fund. He is a former partner at McKinsey and Company, where he worked in the telecom, media, and technology sectors across a diverse set of geographies, including the United States, Russia, Poland, Chile, Brazil, and Venezuela.
He serves on the Boards of Directors of bioTheranostics, EndoGastric Solutions, and Tryton Medical, and he is a board observer at Akili Interactive Labs.
Alejandro is a systems engineer with an MS in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University.
Domain expertise: Leadership and talent, board effectiveness, exit readiness.