Scott Coleman Joins Ignition Partners

by: Scott Coleman

I am thrilled to be joining Ignition Partners and I wanted to let folks know both why I joined and what I’ll be doing.

Why I am joining Ignition

The answer to this question traces back to the excitement I experienced in my first job after college where I did technology transfer for a big, government-sponsored research lab. In a nutshell, my job was to work with world-class researchers to find OEM and go-to-market partners for commercializable technologies. The long tailed “eureka!” spanning from lab discovery to making a new market opened my eyes to the power of disruption. And it also made me realize the long road from idea to IPO will have peaks and valleys, successes and failures, and partners and blockers along the journey. Over the past 20 years, this learning has not changed, but as I’ve “moved up the stack” I’ve gotten farther away from working directly with great startups, and joining Ignition allows me roll up my sleeves again and work with great founders and companies on this journey.

Ok, why Ignition specifically? It comes down to three things. First, Ignition’s hands-on, boutique approach aren’t empty words. I have worked with Ignition and its portfolio companies for over 10 years, and the team partners tightly with their entrepreneurs to build transformative, lasting businesses. On a personal level, this role will bring me back to working side-by-side with great entrepreneurs, building great companies. Second, our singular focus on enterprise software, the market the team has spent its career working in, means we can add value above and beyond our investment dollars. Third, the people at Ignition are the salt of the earth, more Dutch Goose than Madera, and have experiences and track records that I can learn from and that I know will help companies succeed. So that’s it: find and nurture the next great crop of software companies; partner deeply; and work with people I trust and respect. What more could anyone want?

What are we going to do together?

The move from homogeneous, on-prem stacks to heterogeneous clouds has innumerable implications for startups, investors and corporate buyers. The team at Ignition gets this and is investing against this thesis. My role is to work with our portfolio companies to help them succeed in this new reality. We will help portfolio companies connect corporate buyers (CxOs), advise on enterprise sales and go-to-market strategy, engage with business and corporate development at potential customers and investors, and help maximize efforts to efficiently grow your business. We will also host customer events at key conferences, build road shows to get startups in front of the right decision makers and buyers, and help companies hone their pitches for buyers and investors.

I strongly believe there is no one path from pitch to purchase order: every partner is different and every deal has its own nuance. While it would be easier if there were/was? a one-size fits all approach, my experience — as learned starting in tech transfer, nearly a decade in equity research, leading innovation practices in IT at big banks and most recently at Microsoft — every deal is different. Understanding the needs and motivations of potential partners, sharing clarity on goals and metrics, and ensuring interests are aligned make for an enduring partnership.

With this in mind, I am excited to work in the “goldilocks zone” of networking and security with Acalvio, Aviatrix, Nymi and Tempered Networks; with companies that are changing the nature of how we work like Accompany, DocuSign, iCertis, Tellwise, and Unidesk; democratizing data across organizations with BlueData, Cloudera, Streamsets, and Trifacta; and enabling enterprises to leverage the cloud and devops with Azuqua, Docker, and SnapLogic. I look forward to adding to this list in the years to come.