David Paul is a partner at Canal Partners, a venture capital firm in Scottsdale focusing on B2B SaaS companies.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I currently live in Arcadia with my fiancée and golden retriever. We love it.
Have you ever owned a business?
I have—it was a healthcare agency called South Florida Home Care. I worked in the healthcare industry for several years prior, so when I decided to start my own business, I wanted to do something in which I was familiar. I had a partner at the time who worked in the space, and the owner of his previous company was very gracious to give us all the margins and frameworks we needed to get started.
What drew you to provide funds for Arizona businesses?
I’ve always felt that financing innovation was something I wanted to do once I sold my business. I had the opportunity to come out and work with Tallwave Capital, which brought me direct exposure to Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
What is your favorite part about being a VC?
Without a doubt—being paid to learn. I work with the smartest and most courageous people in the world: entrepreneurs.
What was the biggest challenge in being a VC?
I think the hardest part for me is stomaching the insurmountable risk we take with our and other people’s capital. With early stage businesses, we need to be okay with a great deal of uncertainty and risk. That being said, it is my job to identify these risks and catch the signs early so we can move to safer waters.
What do you look for in a potential local investment?
It sounds hokey and redundant, but a strong management team. This is a very subjective metric to look at—what I measure this by is the knowledge the founder has on the space and market, understanding of his or her own limitations and risks, and a track record that is comparable to the plan he or she needs to execute. With our stage of investing, we also look for sales growth, momentum, and product market fit.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I am a newbie here—a little over 2 years.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
All the outdoor things to do.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
State income tax—I came from Florida.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
I think we have a lot of advice guys and opinion givers in this community. I would like to see more measurable success in terms of growth and less high-fiving.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
My partner owns Morning Squeeze, so I have to shamelessly plug it.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Olive and Ivy.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
Steak 44 or LGO.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Bourbon and Bones.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
I would say hiking up the Phoenix Mountain Preserve for the first time with my dog, Oscar.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
There is a ton of financing opportunities here. There is a growing tech scene, tons of real-estate and private equity, not to mention a plethora of successful restaurants to invest in.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
It took me a while to meet people and start a social life in a new state. Be patient—it will come if you put yourself out there.