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 Battery Ventures, First Round Capital, Foundation Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners,, Sequoia Capital and SoftBank.

Cindy Padnos

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, Hoopla Software, and Pex.

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Jennifer Savage

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 serves as a board director for Hoopla Software.

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Rebecca Norlander

Rebecca Norlander joined Illuminate Ventures as a Business Advisory Council member in 2009 when she was a GM at Microsoft. In 2010, following a nearly 20 year tour as one of the top woman “geeks” at Microsoft – in roles ranging from product developer – to technical strategist to the CTO - Rebecca was ready to jump into something more entrepreneurial and joined Illuminate as an Executive-in-Residence. Four years later, having caught the entrepreneurial bug, Rebecca co-founded a successful healthcare-related software company, Health 123, that went on to merge with a peer company in 2017.

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Cliff Higgerson

Cliff Higgerson leverages his more than 35 years of experience in research, consulting, planning, and venture investing as a Special Adviser with Illuminate. Combining the market insight of an analyst with a keen ability to identify blockbuster technologies early in their development, Cliff has backed some of the most successful companies in the communications and information technology industries.

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Students In Residence

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. Each year 4-6 students are selected to participate in this exciting program.



Each year Illuminate welcomes MBA and JD Students from local campuses into our class-year internship program. This typically includes students at:

UC Berkeley's Haas School, Wharton (West Coast), and both Stanford GSB and Stanford Law