A Week in the Life: Laura Chau

A Week in the Life: Laura Chau

Investment Principal at Canaan Partners

What I do:

As a Principal at Canaan, most of my time is spent meeting with entrepreneurs and looking for great founders to invest in at the early stage (primarily Seed and Series A). I work with a number of our early stage portfolio companies, and most recently led our investment in Coterie, an elevated party supplies company. I also co-host the WoVen Podcast featuring the stories of female entrepreneurs and leaders, with my partner on the healthcare side, Nina Kjellson.

Week of June 17-21

My Agenda for the Week:

  • Monday: Partner Meeting in NYC

  • Tuesday: Work day to focus on diligence and spend time with our portfolio at a Yankees vs. Rays game

  • Wednesday and Thursday: Head to SF for a few company meetings and the ‘Girls in Tech’ Catalyst Conference

  • Friday: Head back to NYC


Monday 6/17

6:30 AM - WAKE UP! I live in New York City and am fortunate enough to live within walking distance of my office and gym (definitely a luxury after commuting in the Bay Area for years). As soon as I wake up, I check my messages, drink a quick protein shake, and head to the gym.
8:30 AM - I spend the morning catching up on emails and reading before we start our partner meeting. Typically our entire Mondays are dedicated to partner meeting. It’s a chance for us to make sure we know what is going on across the whole entire portfolio as well as hear pitches from companies that are currently fundraising (both from inside and outside of the portfolio) 
11:30 AM - Log into Zoom to start our partner meeting. Since we have offices on both coasts, we are constantly on video conferences to stay connected. It’s a full day with two companies coming in to pitch today, along with a CEO and operator joining for a conversation over lunch
5:30 PM - After all of the formal sessions for our partner meeting wrap up, I hop on a quick diligence call with an industry expert for a seed deal I’m working on 
6:00 PM - Time to leave the office and grab drinks after work with a partner from an NYC seed fund
7:30 PM - Head to dinner in Brooklyn with a group of entrepreneurs, operators, and creatives - including the CEO of the seed deal I’m working on, which was a wonderful surprise!

Tuesday 6/18 

7:00 AM - Wake-up. I do a few chores around my apartment before heading out (My evening schedules are often erratic and I usually just want to relax by the time I get home, so I try to get as much stuff done as possible around my apartment before I leave).
8:30 AM - Meet another investor for breakfast in SoHo
10:00 AM - Quick deal flow call with another seed fund
12:00 PM - Grab lunch with our CFO who happens to be in NYC today. I spend most of today taking care of some administrative items and doing diligence on a few deals I’m evaluating. This means a lot of reading, reviewing financial models, and reaching out to others who are experts in their respective fields. 
4:00 PM -  Take an initial pitch meeting with an entrepreneur
6:00 PM - Head to Yankees Stadium with the team. We’re hosting an event at the game for our portfolio company CEOs based in NYC. Unfortunately it’s POURING today, and the game gets delayed, but eventually the game gets started. Though I’m not a huge baseball fan (sorry!), I had a blast spending time with the portfolio and eating some stadium food :) 

Wednesday 6/19

4:30 AM ET - Wake-up (ooph!). I’m flying to SF for the rest of the week to see a few companies and join the ‘Girls in Tech’ Catalyst conference. I finish packing and head to the airport. 
6:00 AM ET - I listen to two draft episodes of the WoVen Podcast. I’m still groggy - so this is a task I can handle in the car and at the airport. I’m just doing a final listen to check for any last minute edits we need to make before we post. 
7:00 AM ET - The WiFi is down on the plane, so I gladly get some extra sleep and do a few emails.
10:30 AM PT - Land at SFO and head to our office in South Park to meet with a few companies that are fundraising.
4:00 PM PT - Head out to grab coffee with a principal at another fund. 
5:00 PM PT - Go to the gym for a quick workout (attempting to stay active while on the road helps me beat the jetlag!)
7:00 PM PT - Grab dinner with one of my best friends (and former VC)


Thursday 6/20

6:30 AM - Wake Up. When I come to SF for work, I stay at my sister’s house, so it’s always a nice chance to get a bit of family time in while I’m on the road (plus mornings with her two dogs are the best). 
8:30 AM - This morning I have back to back meetings and calls for most of the morning - ranging from internal calls, diligence calls, and standing calls with portfolio companies. Most of my morning is spent in this phone booth at our office. Very glamorous. 
12:00 PM - Head to lunch with two entrepreneurs in the early stages of launching their company
2:00 PM - One of my meetings cancelled and I my schedule magically matched up with a friend from business school also working in venture. It was great to catch up after almost a year. 
3:00 PM - Head over to the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference. This is a conference that brings together female entrepreneurs, inspiring speakers, and dozens of resources to be the catalyst that helps these young women launch their next company. I’m honored to be a judge for the AMPLIFY pitch competition where we crowned Entera Health as the winner of the $10K prize!  
6:30 PM - Grab last minute drinks with a few other SF-based investors who happen to be free. Thanks for always making me feel at home when I’m back in the bay! 

Friday 6/20

 5:30 AM - Wake up, pack and head to the airport for my flight back to NYC. 
8:00 AM - Spend the flight doing emails and work (and catching some shut- eye when I can!)