Artifact Details


Kane, Edward oral history

Catalog Number





Ed Kane was born in 1949 outside Philadelphia Pennsylvania and took an early interest in making “deals” as a child. He went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in Political Science and graduated cum laude in 1971. While attending Penn, he took a number of finance and business-related classes at the Wharton School.
From Penn, he went directly into the Army where he spent two years and attained the rank of Major in United States Army Intelligence where he trained in electronics and telecommunications. He graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He felt the Army did a great job of teaching management skills, something lacking from his university experience.
In September of 1973, he entered Harvard Business School and graduated in 1975. Ed spent the next four years at New England Merchants Bank where he worked as a commercial loan officer, mainly funding high tech companies on Route 128 outside of Boston.
In 1979 he moved on to John Hancock Insurance where he continued his work in commercial banking. However, Hancock also had some small venture capital investments and Kane found that intriguing. After learning more about the VC business and the challenge that pension funds and other such entities had in selecting and investing in this space, he decided there was a business opportunity to act as an intermediary between those wanting to make investments in venture capital and the venture funds themselves.
He convinced John Hancock to set up a new business called Hancock Venture Partners to manage a “fund of funds” in which investors could put their money to work in a number of venture firms. Hancock would vet the venture funds and provide a vehicle for investors to spread their risk among several venture companies. They closed their first “fund of funds” in 1982.
In order to create some additional flexibility and separation from the parent firm, Hancock Venture Partners changed its name to HarbourVest. Ed Kane, a founder of HarbourVest, was a senior managing director through early 2010. In May 2010, he became a Senior Advisor.




Kane, Edward, Interviewee
Kolker, Carole, Interviewer


National Venture Capital Association (NVCA)

Place of Publication

Boston, MA






HarbourVest; John Hancock Insurance; Hancock Venture Partners

Collection Title

NVCA-Venture Forward Oral History Collection


Gift of National Venture Capital Association

Lot Number