Interview recorded August 21, 2020
Ken Denman is a former Silicon Valley technology CEO with two decades of experience at a vast array of companies. From co-founding Emotient, Inc. (which would later be acquired by Apple), to leading a successful IPO as Chairman and CEO of iPass, Inc., to serving in his current role as a venture partner and Investment Committee member at Sway Ventures, Ken’s experience truly runs the gamut.
In this installment of Frank Discussions, Ken discusses his journey to success and the challenges, both personal and professional, that have led him to where he is today. Frank and Ken discuss the foibles of founding a startup during the first internet bubble, struggling with imposter syndrome in board rooms where no one else looks like you, and how to lean on your loved ones during times of personal hardship. The conversation examines diversity, equity, and inclusion in the world of business, and how Ken finds optimism for our shared future in the current movements surrounding social and racial justice. Lastly, Ken reveals the key qualities he looks for in future leaders and recalls that many of his shrewdest business decisions were the result of trusting his mentors, and perhaps most importantly, trusting his own intuition.
Venture Partner & Board Member, Sway Ventures
Ken Denman is a venture partner at Sway Ventures and a voting member of the Investment Committee. He also leads Sway Studios, a new platform that has the firm building and launching venture-scale businesses.
Ken is a member of the boards of directors of Costco Wholesale, Inc., LendingClub, Inc and Motorola Solutions, Inc., where he is the lead independent director and chair of the nominating and governance committee. He was appointed to the Edward V. Fritzky chair as a visiting professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business in 2012. Ken sits on the boards of the Foster School and the University of Washington Foundation.