Our team is made up of experienced investors with significant track records of entrepreneurial and operational success. We work closely with founders to support them in building truly great companies. We’ve been there ourselves and know that a team-based approach delivers the best results.
Illuminate’s investment team is deeply integrated in the high tech community where we have longstanding relationships of trust with successful entrepreneurs and co-investors. We've helped build companies from the ground up through successful IPO and M&A exits as investors, advisers and as operating managers. Our experience across the enterprise software category is broad - including SaaS business applications, cloud computing infrastructure, data analytics, security, IIoT, technology enabled services and mobile and wireless solutions.
Our co-investors and those that come in to lead follow-on financings in our portfolio include some of the best VCs and corporate investors in the world - in firms like Altos Ventures, Battery Ventures, Insight Partners, Intel Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital and SoftBank.
Leveraging 25 years of high tech industry experience, Cindy Padnos is the founder and Managing Partner of Illuminate Ventures. She focuses primarily in the Enterprise/B2B cloud and mobile computing sectors, with a particular emphasis on SaaS applications and platforms, solutions leveraging data for business impact and new business models that accelerate customer acquisition. Cindy serves as a board director for Bid Ops, BrightEdge, CafeX, nFlux, and Pex. Her prior investment exits include Xactly (IPO then acquired by Vista), Coupang (IPO), Sense Platform (M&A Cloudera), Opsmatic (M&A New Relic), Red Aril (M&A iCrossing), WildPockets (M&A Autodesk), Allocadia (M&A Brandmaker/Rubicon).Read More
Cindy has been an active member of the venture capital community for more than a dozen years where she has led/co-led dozens of Series Seed stage financing for B2B startups across North America. Prior to founding Illuminate, she was one of three investment professionals at a Series A-focused firm where she sourced and led investments in companies in the cloud IT infrastructure, Enterprise software/SaaS and mobile solutions spaces.
Cindy has developed a unique and widely recognized set of skills in the Enterprise cloud computing space as a result of her prior experience as an operator, adviser and angel investor. As a serial entrepreneur, she helped deliver successful outcomes for several venture-backed start-ups. She was founder and CEO of Vivant, (acquired by EVLV/ORCL) an early SaaS company, president & CEO for Acumen (private M&A) and vice president of marketing at Scopus Technology (IPO/then acquired SEBL/ORCL). Early in her career, Cindy developed her market assessment skills and love of tech innovation as a management consultant in the IT practices of Arthur D. Little and Booz, Allen.
Cindy received her MSIA/MBA, with honors, from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and her AB, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan. She is currently an adviser to Astia and the Tepper School of Business. Cindy has been named one of the Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley (The New York Times) and was selected as one of the Most Influential Women in Technology (Fast Company). She is a longstanding advocate for diversity in the tech sector, having authored several white papers demonstrating the opportunity.
Jennifer is a Partner with Illuminate Ventures. In this role, Jennifer identifies and leads new investments (with a particular interest in companies in the Pacific Northwest), assists with due diligence efforts, and provides strategic and operational advice to Illuminate portfolio companies. In addition, Jennifer creatively fosters strategic relations with Illuminate’s extended B2B Enterprise network - including our Advisory Council and business school interns. She currently plays a board role for Illuminate portfolio companies Hoopla Software and Pyze and as a board observer with several other companies.Read More
Jennifer is an accomplished B2B software executive with over 25 years of experience building new categories, and executing product and go-to-market strategies in SaaS companies. Prior to joining Illuminate, Jennifer held executive positions in a string of companies where she helped deliver successful exits (PlaceWare acquired by Microsoft; DocuSign IPO, SmartSheet IPO, Flowroute acquired by West Corporation). She brings that experience set to the Illuminate team and portfolio. Jennifer received her MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Studies from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Oregon.
INTERNS AND STUDENTS IN RESIDENCE
Each year Illuminate welcomes MBA and JD Students from both Bay Area and remote campuses into our class-year internship program. The program typically includes students at UC Berkeley's Haas School, Wharton (West Coast), and both Stanford GSB and Stanford Law, among other top programs. Additionally, since 2016, Illuminate has collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business to offer a Student in Residence program. The program is designed to provide hands-on learning for MBA candidates interested in entrepreneurship and Venture Capital.