Cindy Padnos is the founder and Managing Partner of Illuminate Ventures, a VC firm leading Seed-stage investments in B2B/Enterprise software companies across North America. She has a particular interest in the intersection of cloud computing with trends that impact the Future of Work. Her investment exits include acquisitions by Autodesk, Hearst, Cloudera, New Relic, Vista Equity Partners and Rubicon Technology Partners as well as successful IPOs for Xactly (NYSE: XTLY and Coupang (NYSE: CPNG). Cindy’s current portfolio includes market leaders like BrightEdge (SEO), Contentstack (headless CMS), Arkestro (AI-enabled procurement orchestration) and Pex (attribution and rights management for video content).
Prior to her investing career, Cindy was a successful B2B software company operator – including as founder and CEO of early SaaS startup Vivant president and CEO of Acumen and VP marketing at Scopus Technology.
Cindy has been honored as one of the Most Influential Women in Technology (Fast Company) and Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley (New York Times). She gained her BA at the University of Michigan (magna cum laude) and MSIA/MBA, with honors, at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School where she serves as Vice Chair of the Business Board of Advisors. Cindy has had the honor of offering commencement addresses at both schools. Encouraging diversity in the tech sector is one of Cindy’s longstanding passions. Among other activities she has authored several widely-cited research papers to expand awareness of the positive impact that diversity can bring to our innovation economy.