John Balen headshot

John V. Balen

Cornell degree: BS 1982 (College of Engineering), MBA 1986

“The Board of Trustees must not only advocate that Cornell continues to provide a safe and healthy environment for our faculty, students and staff to withstand the pandemic, but also ensure there is adequate funding and broad support for the multitude of vital initiatives, including diversity, equity and inclusion, that are so essential for Cornell to thrive post-pandemic and attract world-class scholars and students.”

Read John’s Q&A
Vote now

Professional experience

  • Digital Equipment Corporation, Engineer, 1980-1982
  • Codenoll Technology, Applications Engineer, 1982-1984
  • Horsley Bridge Partners, Managing Director, 1985-1995
  • Canaan Partners, Partner, 1995-present

Alumni service (2010-present)

  • Cornell Silicon Valley Advisory Council, member, 2001-present
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Council, member, 2011-present
  • Engineering College Advisory Council, member, 2017-2023
  • Johnson Graduate School of Management Advisory Council, member, 2012-2023
  • Entrepreneurship@Cornell Advisory Council, member, 2009-2024
  • Bay Area Cornell Student Send-Off, 2015-2017
  • Cornell University Council, member, 2001-2005;  2007-2011
  • Johnson Non-Reunion Class Campaigns, member, 2016-2020
  • Johnson Reunion Campaign, member, 2015-2016
  • TowerClub WC TA San Francisco, Chair, 2000-2002; 2003-2010
  • Johnson  lecturer and eLab mentor
  • National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Cornell Team, mentor, 2020

Community/public service/philanthropic priorities

  • Convent & Stuart Hall, Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco, CA, Board Member
  • Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, CA
  • Horizon Pass Residence Association Board, President

Student involvements and activities

  • Johnson Marketing Club
  • Johnson Men’s Hockey Club, Player/Coach
  • Johnson Frozen Assets Women’s Hockey Club, Coach
  • Cornell student fundraising call-a-thons
  • Sigma Nu Fraternity
  • Cornell Engineering Co-op
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Club

Biographical Sketch

Raised in Waukegan, Illinois, by a first-generation American family, John lived in New York, Boston and now in Silicon Valley. An enthusiastic entrepreneurial advocate, he has been involved with startups and venture capital for over thirty five years. A partner with Canaan Partners, he has served on the board of twenty five early-stage technology startups. A strong believer in education, he has been a volunteer and board member for his local schools and serves on five Cornell advisory councils. He is an avid skier and hockey player. He resides in Hillsborough, California, with his wife, Norma, and they have two children: John ’19 and Danielle ’20.