News & Events


Recent articles, interviews and podcasts featuring Illuminate Ventures, our research, investment philosophy and focus areas:

The Intelligent Investor, Silicon Valley (book): Practical advice for investors and entrepreneurs. Illuminate amongst 50 leading investors featured.

SaaS District - Video Series for Entrepreneurs: Seed Stage Investment Market & Key Metrics for SaaS Founders

20 Minute Leaders: Interview with Cindy Padnos, founder & Managing Partner, Illuminate Ventures

Startup Mindset Academy - Investor Video Interview Series: Introducing Illuminate Ventures

The Founder Formula Podcast: Episode 17 - Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures

Carnegie Mellon CONNECTS Series: How COVID Impacts The Future of Work: Which B2B Software Segments will Accelerate?

Stanford GSB Cases E-695 and E-696: Women in Venture Capital - Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures) and Cindy Padnos (Illuminate Ventures)

Unicorn Nest: Interview with Cindy Padnos (Illuminate Ventures): We invest in teams and companies that are further along

Forbes: Diversity In Venture Capital: In the U.S., It May Be Getting Worse

GeekWire: Should gender diversity on corporate boards be legally required? Women VCs, tech execs weigh in

Tech Talk with Anu: Video interview with Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures

Carnegie Mellon CONNECTS: The Mismatch Between How VCs and Entrepreneurs Think (Video)

Financial Times: Female Tech Entrepreneurs are Given Less Space to Fail

TechCrunch: There are very real differences in how women and men (and VCs) view entrepreneurship, underscores a new survey

Entrepreneur: The Surprising Differences Between Men's and Women's Motives and Obstacles in Becoming Entrepreneurs

CMU Webinar: Overcoming Entrepreneurial Barriers: With Cindy Padnos and Shanna Tellerman

All About Alpha: Illuminating Gender Differences in Entrepreneurship M.R. Asks 3 Questions- Cindy Padnos, founder Illuminate Ventures

Women 2.0: Important Findings about Founders and VCs' Show Big Changes and Big Gaps

Entrepreneur: How the Founder of Modsy and Her Mentor Are Building a 'Power Squad' to Help Women in Business

SaaStr - The Twenty Minute VC Podcast: The Unwavering Power of Predictable Revenue - Interview with Cindy Padnos

Forbes: Ten Female Founded Venture Capital Funds You Should Have in Your Network

Smart Company: Networking is key to better funding outcomes

Preqin: Women in Venture Capital Report

Preqin: Special Report Women in Alternative Assets

Inc. com: Why Middle America Can Be Better For Entrepreneurs than Silicon Valley

Carnegie Mellon Today: Illuminating Presence

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper Magazine: Nothing Ventured - Nothing Gained

KMTV Game Changers Silicon Valley Interview Series: Why More VC Money is going into Fewer Deals

SuperInvestor US Video Interview with Cindy Padnos and Eric Benhamou: What are the hallmarks of the next tech unicorn?

Inc.: What Entrepreneurs Really Want From VCs

MiBiz: Q&A with Cindy Padnos

She Started it Documentary: Watch the film trailer



Upcoming and Recent Illuminate Speaking/Judging Events


Carnegie Mellon CONNECTS Series: How COVID Impacts The Future of Work: Which B2B Software Segments will Accelerate?

Epic Events: State of Female Founders Investor Panel + Pitch

Early Growth Financial Services: Meet the VC: Interactive session, May 16, Pillsbury offices - San Francisco, CA

Center for Investor Education (CIE): Panelist: Differentiated Investments, April 5, San Francisco, CA

Stanford/NVCA VC Symposium, Panelist: Secrets of Successful Boards, March 27, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA

Enterprise Retreat 2019, Panel Moderator: CXOs speak out - CIO Intel, CRO Pepsico, CIO Verizon, March 24-26 Half Moon Bay, CA

SXSW 2019, Entrepreneurship Track Panelist: Turning the Tables: Entrepreneur to Investor, Austin, TX March 11

SXSW 2019, Guest Speaker: Springboard Community Dinner, March 10 Austin, TX

StartOut, Panelist: Meet the investors panel with partners from DCM, DFJ, Felicis and Illuminate, March 2, San Francisco, CA

SuperRetun West 2019, PanelistFuture hot sectors in Venture Capital, February 11, Los Angeles, CA

VCIC Competition, Judge: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Finalists, February 8, Berkeley, CA

SaaStr 2019, Speaker: Tackling the biggest success attributes and barriers for entrepreneurs, February 7, San Francisco, CA

Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (BMOE), Judge: Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Startup Finals, January 17, UC Berkeley

Women's Startup Lab, Guest Speaker, December 10, San Francisco, CA

PartnerConnect, Panelist: From Pre-Seed to Post-Seed and Everything in Between, October 3, Half Moon Bay, CA

Salesforce Ventures, Mentor: Dreamforce Female Founders Breakfast, September 27, San Francisco, CA

Vanderbilt Darden School of Business, Guest Lecturer: Venture Capital, September 25

UC Berkeley HaaS School of Business, Fireside Chat: The Current State of Tech Entrepreneurship, September 17, Berkeley, CA

TechCrunch Disrupt, Female Founders Office Hours, San Francisco, CA

StartOut, Panelist: Meet the VC Partners from DCM, DFJ, Felicis and Illuminate, August 6, San Francisco, CA

100 Women in Finance, Panelist: AI in Finance and Beyond: Applications, Opportunities, and Ethics June 7, San Francisco, CA

NTT Innovation Institute, Guest speaker: Trends in Enterprise Tech, May 9th, San Francisco, CA

FairFunders, Webinar speaker: Founder Access to VCs, May 1

VC Taskforce, Panelist: Women's Fundraising Roundtable, February 15th, Palo Alto, CA

SuperReturn, Panelist: Venture Capital Trends, February 12th, San Francisco, CA

Tepper Fireside Chat, Speaker: Tech and Entrepreneurship Trends, January 10th, Palo Alto, CA

Ladies Who Launch, Moderator: Finance Hustle Panel, November 16th, San Francisco, CA

VC Taskforce, Panelist: Finding Your First Investor, November 14th, Menlo Park, CA

Tiger 21, Speaker: The Evolution of Venture Capital Investing, November 14th

Astia Angels Colloquium, Panelist: Entrepreneur & Investor in Conversation, October 17th, San Francisco, CA

1M/1M Roundtable, Panelist: Web Seminar, September 21

NVCA, Panelist: Successful Fundraiser's Philosophy, June 9, Webinar

Board Leadership Forum/Nat'l Assoc. of Corporate Directors, Panelist: Innovation and Strategy as Part of a Board's DNA, February 2, San Francisco, CA

Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business, Speaker: Koeze Business Ehthcs Initiative, November 10, Grand Rapids, MI

Vator Spring Splash, Judge: Startup Pitch Contest, May 12, Oakland, CA

RAISE, Panelist: Starting a New VC Firm From Scratch, March 24, The Presidio, CA

Stanford GSB, Speaker: Women and Venture Capital, February 9, 2016 Stamford, CA

Dreamforce Startup Summit, Panelist: Meet the Power Brokers – From Term Sheet to IPO September 15, San Francisco, CA

Women’s Private Equity Summit, Panelist: Current State and Ongoing Evolution in Venture Capital  Investing March 11-13, Half Moon Bay, CA

Archived News

New York Times: Influential Women in Silicon Valley

Stanford Technology Ventures – Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series, Cindy Padnos Interview: An Enterprising Approach to Investment (over 9,000 view/podcast downloads)

VentureBeat: The top 5 trends cloud-focused VCs are most excited about

San Jose Business Journal: To Pitch or Not to Pitch – Startup founders weigh VC funds vs. bootstrapping

UC Davis Graduate School of Management: Women Who Count – Cindy Padnos on Impact Through Investing 5 Best-Kept Secrets about Enterprise Software

Women 2.0: Yes, There Is Such a Thing as Raising Too Much Capital

PE HUB: Facebook-Blind – VCs Missed Opportunities in B2B Cloud Investments

Silicon Valley Business Journal: Why Hiring More Women Can Make you Money

Venture Beat: Forget Facebook! Meet 12 investors on the hunt for the next Microsoft The Enterprise Cloud’s Silver Lining

Peninsula Press: Back to Basics – VC’s remind today’s generation of entrepreneurs what it takes to succeed

Inc.: Insider’s Guide to Silicon Valley Investors

Fortune: Fast Forwarding Women in Tech

Gust: Investor Videos –Cindy Padnos Interview – Recommendations for Start-up Entrepreneurs

The Network: The Cloud and the Changing Role of the Investor

Forbes: Run 100% of a Business in the Cloud?

CloudTweaks: On the Verge: 100% Cloud Fueled Ventures

San Francisco Magazine: The Smart Money

Washington Post: Five myths about entrepreneurs

New York Times: Women and Technology and Myth

Announcement of Illuminate Ventures I Final Close  (link to our own release here):

     – VentureBeat: Women-led VC firm Illuminate raises $20M fund

     – Dow Jones VentureWire: Illuminate Ventures Closes $20M Micro VC Fund

     – Strictly VC: In VC, Going it Alone, with Plenty of Company

     – VatorNews: Illuminate Ventures raises $20M for new fund

     – Women 2.0: Female-led micro VC firm Illuminate Ventures announces $20M fund

Reuters: The Great Debate – Why aren’t there more foreign female entrepreneurs?

Inc.: The Case Against the All-Male Start-up

The Ideas Project: Cindy Padnos Video-Investors Can Benefit By Backing Women Entrepreneurs

San Francisco Business Times: Most Influential Women in the Bay Area Business Named

Vator News Innovation Series: Today’s Entrepreneur

MediaPost: Do We Need More Women in Technology?

Insider: The Age of the Female -Centric Start-up

Huffington Post: Women Entrepreneurs on the Rise

Business Standard: Enterprise knows no gender

Forbes: High-Performance Women in High Tech

The Ideas Project: The Women Of Technology: Making It To The Top

Financial Times: Geeky world of IT loses its appeal as a career choice

WOMEN 2.0: 5 Female Angels and Investors to Watch

VatorNews Today’s Entrepreneur: Cindy Padnos Profile

The Wall Street Journal: Making Strides at Start-Ups Meet Tomorrow’s High-Performance Companies

Venture Beat: FailCon: How to fail gracefully with a startup

Mashable/Business: Why We Need to Reframe the “Women in Tech” Debate

PEHub: A VC Firm By Women, For Women — And Men Too (requires subscription)

The Wall Street Journal: Daily VC Dispatch Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures, on Venture Chemistry (video interview)

New York Times: Female Entrepreneurs on the Rise

San Jose Mercury News: Cassidy: A wave of women entrepreneurs may be coming

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: The New Entrepreneur – Why Venture Capital Firms Need More Women Partners

Palo Alto Weekly: What Ceiling? How To Write A Winning Business Plan

New York Times: Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley

Fast Company: The Most Influential Women in Technology

Forbes: We Need More Female Venture Capitalists

Fortune: How to build a startup: her best advice

Reuters Venture Capital Journal (VCJ): Women in VC (Requires subscription)

Fast Company: Startups: An “Alpha Male Pissing-Contest?”

New York Entrepreneur Week: Why Men Get VC Money and Women Don’t ….and How that is Changing

New York Times: The Art of Running a Small Business

BusinessWeek Online: Addressing the Dearth of Female Entrepreneurs  See page 2

TechCrunch: Silicon Valley You’ve got a Gender Problem

NBC Bay Area Editorial: Bay Area Boys Club

TechCrunch: A Fix for Discrimination – Follow the Indian Trail

Prior Events

The Wall Street Journal Women in the Economy, Co-chair: Entrepreneurship Task Force

Harvard Business School Alumni Angel Association, Webinar Panelist: SaaS Investing Overview with partners from Emergence Capital, Pivot North, Costanoa and Illuminate Ventures 

University of Michigan College of Engineering, Keynote Speaker: Commencement Address

DataWeek, Panelist: Ask an Investor – Emerging Markets in Big Data

SuperInvestor US 2015, Panelist: Next Generation Venture Capital 

Women 2.0 Founder Meet-up, Speaker: Building your startup

PITME Labs, Mentor: Startup Demo Day

Forté Forum, Moderator: MBA Alumnae Panel

The App Retreat, The App Economy

B2B Startup Weekend, Judge: 54 hour startup competition

TiECon, Panelist: How to get seed funding for your startup? 

IBM SmartCamp, Judge: Global Startup Competition Finals

Girls Rising, Panelist and Pitch Judge

Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, Panelist: The Keys to Creating Innovative Products

Alchemist Accelerator, Judge and mentor

Department of Homeland Security IT Security Entrepreneurs’ Forum (ITSEF), Panelist: Results that Matter – Women IT Entrepreneurs

Pipeline Fellowship, Panelist: Structuring the Deal

Carnegie Mellon University – Silicon Valley,  Keynote: Commencement Address

G8 Tech Conference and DNA Summit, Panelist: Innovation Lab in the Sky

Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, Panelist: Why Investing in Women Founders and Entrepreneurs Makes Business Sense

85 Broads 2020 Vision, Guest Speaker: Opportunistic Investing for the Next Decade

The National Academies Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, Panelist: Early-stage Capital in the United States

Astia Entrepreneur Program in Silicon Valley, Panelist: Own Your Financials

Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, Featured Speaker: James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Leadership Series 

Vator Splash, Judge: Early-stage Pitch Competition

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, US Department of State Delegate: Women and the Economy Summit

Intuit Apps Showcase, Panelist and Competition Judge: Applications for SMBs