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Dr. Juan-Antonio Carballo

Venture Capital Maestro Juan-Antonio Carballo

For Dr. Juan-Antonio Carballo, the fear of launching his own venture capital firm lasted all of three seconds. At age 36 and as a General Partner of Argon Venture Partners, Juan-Antonio saw the tech market of Western Canada as almost entirely untapped, and as such, jumped into what he knew would be a guaranteed business success. Based out of Silicon Valley, California and Alberta, Canada, he and two other General Partners found that the greatest profits were reaped through early investments in technology start-ups. Guiding new projects through the full line of development to marketing allows Juan-Antonio to ensure a project’s stability and ultimate market value. If this weren’t successful enough, can we just add that he has three advanced degrees up his sleeve as well? Learn more about his never-ending drive and the company’s upcoming projects as we feature Dr. Carballo in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.


Argon Venture Partners


November 2006




Dr. Juan-Antonio Carballo
General Partner




Madrid, Spain

Current residence

San Francisco, CA


University of Michigan
Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.

College des Ingenieurs
Business Administration, M.B.A.

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Telecommunications Engineering, M.Sc.

Work Experience

IBM Venture Capital Group

IBM Research
Adaptive Communications Research Lead

Digital Equipment Corporation
Senior Design Engineer

LSI Logic
Senior Researcher

Electricite de France
IT Consultant

IT Consultant


Hispanic White

Tell us about Argon Venture Partners

Argon Venture Partners is a cross-border early-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, California, and Alberta, Canada. We partner with visionary entrepreneurs to build information technology start-ups with long term growth potential. Our comprehensive strategy is comprised of a proprietary early stage investment process, a unique cross-border model, and an extended team with deep yet balanced skill sets.

Historically, early stage investments have produced the highest returns. Our investments commence at the earliest stages of company development, focused on seed and Series A financing. This approach allows Argon to provide frequent “hands on” portfolio management and to maximize upside for all stakeholders involved. Angel investing, the world’s largest source of early stage funding, is a critical lever for technology entrepreneurs. Argon has full ownership of Western Canada’s top angel investment group, which vastly enhances its deal flow and screening capabilities.

Cross-border funds have become increasingly attractive as human, information and financial barriers have come down. The benefits of diversification, cost/talent arbitrage and ability to infiltrate larger global markets has created an unprecedented opportunity. Western Canada is a largely untapped market and has favorable geographical, business, legal and government conditions. Argon is the only cross-border venture fund that combines senior local presence in Alberta with a Silicon-Valley investment team that has access to top technology managers and the largest information technology markets.

Argon’s senior management team is situated in Silicon Valley (two general partners, one executive partner) and Calgary (one general partner, one associate). This balanced group of experienced professionals has extensive industry expertise, venture investing background, business relationships and entrepreneurial history.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am one of Argon’s three General Partners, and as such an owner of the firm.

Most notable milestones

  • American Venture Magazine’s Number One “Top 40 Under 40” 2006.
  • Over 23 patents filed in electronics, computing, software, business.
  • Over 50 technical and business articles.
  • Over 20 chairs of technical and business committees.
  • Over 10 IBM technical and business awards.
  • Over 100 business partnerships established with VCs and start-ups.

What’s the niche?

What’s unique is my ability to effectively mix business and technology in multicultural environment to achieve quantifiable results – results that truly matter for institutions, governments, and corporations.

What’s the biggest challenge?

To create true value and return on investment through the effective mix of technology and business management.

What’s in store for the future?

We’re building the world’s first cross-border venture capital firm between the USA and Western Canada with headquarters in both countries.

Best way to keep a competitive edge

Focus on core competences and differentiators.

Guiding principle in life

Provide real value to people and projects that you are truly passionate about. Have integrity and respect for others’ values in every endeavor.

Yardstick of success

Achieve truly world-class results at any project that you focus on.

Goal yet to be achieved

Achieve top-tier return on investment for world’s first US-Canada Venture-Capital fund.

Best practical advice

Focus first, expand later.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

Knowing you, you will not stop until you make this one work.


Mentors are always useful. A wonderful example for me is Dr. David Liddle from US Venture Partners.

What motivated you to get started?

The drive to lead (as opposed to follow) the creation of new value through the mix of business and technology insight.

Like best about what you do?

Identifying new technologies and teams and nurture them to success using my experience, creativity, and discipline.

Like least about what you do?

The challenge of balancing personal and business demands.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A foreign correspondent.

What was your first job?

English teacher.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Practicing sports, traveling, and learning foreign languages.

Person most interested in meeting and why?

Bill Clinton. To learn more about true leadership.

Three interesting facts about yourself

  1. I speak five languages.
  2. I traveled to 20+ countries.
  3. I worked and studied in three continents.

Three characteristics that describe you

  1. Disciplined
  2. Energetic
  3. Extrovert

Three greatest passions

  1. Technology
  2. Venture Capital
  3. The flattening of the world.

Favorite book

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes

Favorite cause

Technology-driven economic growth.


Interview by Marcela Gutierrez
Introduction by Sara Ortega
Edited by Valerie Enriquez

Article published on Jun 24th, 2007 | Comment | Trackback | Categories »


September 13th, 2007, 03:04:06

Many entrepreneurs see themselves someday as becoming venture capitalists because they think the venture capitalists are the people with all the money. Indeed, over time many of them have made a huge killing and many have lost a small fortune.

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