Liz Gannes

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Morgenthaler Ventures’ Internet Partners Rebrand as Canvas Venture Fund

The Internet investors from Morgenthaler Ventures would like a fresh start, please.

Gary Little, Rebecca Lynn, and Gary Morgenthaler

Gary Little, Rebecca Lynn, and Gary Morgenthaler

So they’ve chosen a new name, Canvas Venture Fund, and raised a fresh fund of $175 million to invest in early-stage software and services companies.

“The Morgenthaler brand is venerable, but since we were doing a lot of things, can mean a lot of things to different people,” said managing director Gary Little. “There’s not a lot of synergy between life science and IT.”

The three core investing partners are Little, Rebecca Lynn and Gary Morgenthaler (the last name is not a coincidence; his father founded the firm in 1968).

What will Canvas be known for? “We would like to be known for backing great companies,” Little said, noting that the three partners have personally backed Evernote, Lending Club, Siri and others.

Or, perhaps more ornately, Little said, “The canvas upon which your vision is fully rendered.” (Nah, I don’t think that one will stick!)

Morgenthaler Ventures will not have any control or shared economics with Canvas, according to Little.

However, Little said that the fund’s strategy is identical with the team members’ portion of the last Morgenthaler Ventures fund — software investments only, and all but two limited partners are the same. Canvas plans to invest $5 to $15 per company over the next three to four years, Little added, and it will keep the same office, which is already separate from other Morgenthaler teams.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work