News & Views


Matt McIlwain to Receive Emerging Company Director Award

Next week Matt McIlwain will be awarded the Emerging Director of the Year award from the Puget Sound Business Journal, in partnership with the prestigious National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) Northwest chapter.

We congratulate Matt but we are not surprised.

Matt joined Madrona in 2000 and has played an important role in the growth of the technology industry in the greater Seattle region. He has advised founders and entrepreneurs, CEOs, executives and brilliant engineers.

Matt also puts his passion for education and research to work on the non profit side, serving on non-profit boards such as the nationally recognized Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute and the Greater Foundation.

Tom Alberg, co-founder and managing director at Madrona commented, “Where Matt’s depth of passion, experience, and acumen comes into play on a daily basis at Madrona is helping our companies grow.”

The CEOs and founders he works with offered these observations.

Mark Mader, CEO Smartsheet
Matt intuitively understood the value of Smartsheet’s innovation in our earliest days, even when the “signal” was not as pronounced as it is now. In the years since, his counsel and guidance helped us deliver wave upon wave of growth. He digs in deep to understand our needs from multiple perspectives – market trends, buyer needs, funding, executive talent – and offers observations that continue to make a difference for our business. We’re proud to have Matt on the Smartsheet Board and could not be happier for the recognition he so richly deserves.

Bill Richter, CEO Qumulo
What makes Matt truly special is everything beyond his role as a company director.   . . .  as a CEO, Matt’s often the first person I call when I need perspective.  I’ve been through many difficult situations with Matt.  While others are prone to wilt under pressure or compromise core values, Matt’s counsel and leadership only gets better.

Sunny Gupta, Founder and CEO, Apptio
I consider Matt to be a co-founder of Apptio.  Right from day one, Matt has been a sounding board for me regarding my team, product, market, early employee hiring.   As a board member of Apptio today, Matt continues to provide amazing contributions including recruiting new board members, engaging deeply on market expansion strategy and helping my team think about  critical issues – he is always there for me – I usually call him weekly on my way home and always appreciate talking about issues/challenges/opportunities at Apptio – he is a great listener and provides candid advice (always speaks the truth).

Frank Mycroft, Founder and CEO, Booster
Matt is the kind of company-building partner that any entrepreneur would be blessed to have on your side from Day 1.  A mentor and river guide, in it for all the right reasons.

Arif Kareem, CEO of ExtraHop
Matt has had a tremendous impact on the growth of the Seattle tech community over the years. His vision in major market categories like Cloud and Big Data has been a driver of the Puget Sound region’s rise to prominence as a center of innovation in the United States. ExtraHop, along with many other Seattle-based tech companies, has benefitted greatly from Matt’s thoughtful and insightful guidance. Congratulations Matt, on this well-deserved honor.

Jason LeeKeenan, Co-Founder and CEO, TraceMe
Matt is one of the most strategic people I have ever met and has been incredibly valuable as a board member for TraceMe.  We are in the early phases of the company and his strategic perspectives around what capabilities we need to build have been tremendously important to the company.  We are very fortunate to have Matt on our board and I believe he’s one of the best early-company board members in the Pacific Northwest.

Kabir Shahani, Co-Founder and CEO, Amperity
Matt is one of my most trusted advisors and an extraordinary coach. He knows how to bring out the best in his CEOs — and is able to do that alongside tangible, actionable, operational guidance and perspective. He’s a life long learner and that is just one of the characteristics that makes him more effective each and every day. I can’t think of a more deserving Director for this award.

Kiran Bhageshpur, Founder and CEO, Igneous Systems
No one can contest Matt has an incredibly deep understanding of the storage market and he was the logical person for us to go see when we were starting Igneous.  Not only was he quick to understand the market we were attacking, he had and continues to have creative ideas and bring an untiring energy to board meetings and beyond as we work to build a next generation storage company. Having him as an active board member, coach and business partner makes all the difference.

Doug Schneider, CEO 2nd Watch
Matt’s business and market acumen coupled with his relentless drive to build market leading companies is a true asset to any CEO he collaborates with.

Thor Culverhouse, CEO SkyTap
I have had the opportunity to work with Matt over the past 4 years while growing and building out our company, Skytap.  In that endeavor, I have always viewed Matt not as just investor, but rather a business partner.  He has provided guidance in the areas of overall strategy, product positioning, personnel and even sales campaigns.  He is truly one of the great minds of our industry and pleasure to work with.

Brad Jefferson, Founder and CEO, Animoto
Matt joined our board nine years ago and is a great great strategic advisor for the company but what I appreciate just as much is his mentorship to me personally as I grow as a CEO.

 Nikesh Parekh, Founder and CEO, Suplari
I have known Matt for a long time.  We both moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2000 to work in venture capital.  Matt recruited me to be an EIR at Madrona in 2007 and lead our financing of Suplari in 2017.  Matt goes out of his way to understand, help, and support me in many ways over the last 17 years.  He is a great friend and partner in business.

Workwise, Matt is one of the strongest strategy and marketing minds for new and emerging enterprise software and cloud technologies in Seattle.  He is quick to see the big picture and understand the tactics to achieve key milestones.  I get the benefit of his experience with a large number of similar companies and he is always quick to get back to me, even when he is working with larger and perhaps more important companies in his portfolio.