What We Do

Illuminate’s focus is on finding, funding, and accelerating visionary founders in the B2B/Enterprise cloud computing space. We focus on companies building SaaS applications as well as solutions that leverage data and AI to improve business results. We seek innovative ideas led by talented teams – frequently bringing together diverse perspectives that marry “creative destruction” with new technologies to solve old problems in new ways.

Illuminate is typically a startup’s first institutional investor, but can also be a fit for an established company seeking its first equity financing. Our sweet spot is Series Seed rounds – filling the gap between angel capital and larger funding rounds of traditional VCs. When the timing is right, we collaborate with the best large-scale firms for the next round of financing, but we love lean start-ups that preserve flexibility in their early years.

With three funds under management, Illuminate has been an early investor and board member in deep technology platforms like BrightEdge Technologies (SEO market leader), SaaS applications like Xactly Corporation (NYSE: XTLY), and early market innovators like Contentstack (headless CMS platform) and Korean ecommerce market leader Coupang (NYSE:CPNG).

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to reinvent business as we know it – let’s talk!

How We’re Different

We’re Not Tourists – We Live Here

·        Our investing team and advisors have spent their careers operating, advising, and investing in the Enterprise/B2B software world.

·        Our investments are thesis based – grounded in relevant experience and leveraging our own research.

We Don’t Just Follow The Herd

·        We recognize that great investment opportunities come in a variety of packages – sometimes looking a bit different from the norm.

·        Our unique approach broadens our deal flow to gain access to all the best teams and their innovative companies – not just a subset.

We are Doers – Not Watchers

·        We’ve been there ourselves as founders, so we love supporting talented teams as they build great companies.

·        You won’t hear a lot of hot air from us – we’ll jump in if we can help or find someone who can.

Our Results Speak for Themselves

·        More than half of our new investments have been referred to us directly from our prior portfolio founders and advisors.

·        Across more than 10 years of early stage investing we’ve gained multiple M&As and IPOs.

Meet Our Team

Founders Speak

“Cindy and the team at Illuminate have been incredible believers in the Contentstack journey from the very beginning. As some of our best advocates, they not only provide valuable mentorship, but are always willing to go the extra mile to make meaningful connections that help fuel our growth.”

Neha Sampat, Cofounder & CEO Contentstack

“Every great relationship starts with trust. After working with Illuminate from seed funding to acquisition of Sense, I knew I wanted to work with Illuminate again if the opportunity arose. I couldn’t be happier to have Illuminate as an investor in Continual IQ and would recommend Illuminate to any enterprise SaaS founder.”

Tristan Zajonc, Cofounder & CEO Continual IO and prior Cofounder & CEO Sense Platform (acquired by Cloudera)

“We are very grateful to have Illuminate as our first institutional investor. Cindy and Jennifer have provided consistently practical and helpful advice, and have opened up to us their considerable networks of advisors, other investors and potential customers.”

Don Keller, Cofounder & CEO Joinder

“The most significant value of working with Illuminate has been the hard questions they ask and the practical advice they provide. Their deep expertise and rolodex in enterprise software has given us an unfair advantage to increase our odds of success.”

Sayed Sajjadi, Cofounder & CEO nFlux

The Illuminate team and their advisors added the depth and experience of enterprise SaaS veterans combined with passion and energy of early stage entrepreneurs. Sometimes you need the expert whose been there before and other times you want someone to roll up their sleeves alongside you. Illuminate is there for both.”

Tony Mackenzie, Cofounder & CEO Jacobi

“You know your partner when things get tough and tough they get. Illuminate was with us through the best and the worst. I can’t imagine a better partner for the rainy days.”

Rasty Turek, Founder & CEO Pex

“The Illuminate team has been a tremendous partner in accelerating Bid Ops’ growth, rolling up their sleeves to make key customer intros and spotlighting our throughout the SaaS industry. They have been amazing when it comes to strategy discussions. It makes a big difference that they have such robust startup operating experience.”

Edmund Zagorin, Cofounder & CEO Bid Ops

“The refreshing thing about Illuminate is their singular focus on Enterprise Software. With most VCs, Enterprise is part of their portfolio, but with Illuminate, it is 100% of their focus and that shows in their expertise, connections and depth of knowledge.”

Jim Stoneham, Cofounder & CEO Opsmatic (Acquired by New Relic)

“Illuminate has delivered exactly what we were seeking. Cindy’s experience as founder of a SaaS company and seasoned investor in the enterprise software space is invaluable in shaping our success.”

Kristine Steuart, Cofounder & CEO Allocadia

“Illuminate has offered value that goes well beyond typical Board participation – teeing up a host of C-level contacts to accelerate both the time frame and the likelihood of our market leadership.”

Chris Cabrera, Cofounder & CEO Xactly Corporation (NYSE: XTLY – now part of Vista Equity)

“Illuminate Ventures went above and beyond in every way. Their impact was tremendous for the company on a large scale and for me personally as a first time entrepreneur.”

Shanna Tellerman, Cofounder & CEO Wild Pockets (Acquired by Autodesk)

“Illuminate Ventures has been a great advocate – always offering practical advice. They have helped us to accelerate our business and to better understand how to scale the company overall.”

Lemuel Park – Cofounder & CTO BrightEdge Technology

“It was great to have  Illuminate Ventures as an investor. We quickly recognized the value that Cindy and her firm could bring, allowing Illuminate access to our much sought-after initial funding.”

Kira Makagon, Cofounder & CEO Red Aril (Acquired by Hearst Corporation)

“The  Illuminate Ventures team is extremely hard-working and helpful. They have opened up doors to an incredible list of people who we would have never had access to without them.”

Mike Smalls, Founder & CEO Hoopla Software

“Illuminate Ventures has been with us since the very beginning and has provided incredible support. We continue to benefit tremendously from their mentorship, enthusiasm, confidence, and connections.”

Jim Yu, Cofounder & CEO BrightEdge Technology

“Cindy has been a great mentor and a trusted friend for more than a decade. She has shared great advice drawn from her experiences as an executive, entrepreneur, CEO and venture investor.”

Jim Dai, Cofounder & CEO, CalmSea (Acquired by Coupang)


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