Scott Banister: As Much An Entrepreneur and Investor As A Mentor

Scott Banister is as well-known for being a successful entrepreneur and angel investor as for being a mentor to budding entrepreneurs and their start-ups. His success as a mentor stems from his success as an entrepreneur – he is, after all, the co-founder of IronPort, among other enterprises.

In 1995, Banister co-founded SponsorNet New Media, Inc. with Max Levchin and Luke Nosek, his fellow students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But he dropped out of college to co-found Submit It, previously a privately-held Internet services company that was later acquired by LinkExchange in June 1998 and then by Microsoft in November 1998; among its products were ClickTrade and ListBot.

He became a board member and angel investor on many start-ups including eVoice, the provider of the first email-enabled home voicemail service. He was also the Vice President of Ideas ay idealab!, a start-studio that has created, invested in, and produced spin-offs of several companies including AirWave Wireless,, and Commission Junction, among others. He also contributed several innovations to idealab! Including the bid-for-placement search engine model used by Overture.

In December 2000, Banister co-founded the company for which he has made his mark in the Internet industry – IronPort, a company that designed, marketed and sold products and services related to Internet safety and security especially against online threats. IronPort’s best-known product is the IronPort AntiSpam, an email reputation service, although its email security appliances were also highly popular; the company was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007 in an $830 million deal.

Banister also co-founded Zivity with his wife, Cyan, and Jeffrey Wescott; Zivity is an adult themed social networking website. He also invested in Powerset and sits on its Board of Directors; Powerset is creating a natural language search engine. He was also on Slide’s Board of Directors before it was shut down after Google’s acquisition.

His other investments include Uber, Facebook,, and TekTrak.


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