Jon Burgstone


Professional Biography

Jon Burgstone is an American business executive, educator, and investor. He was born and raised in suburban Chicago.

He was co-founder and CEO of, which created software to transform strategic sourcing for global corporations. Burgstone is the founding Faculty Chair of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. He currently works as Managing Director of Symbol Capital, LLC.


Burgstone studied engineering and cognitive psychology at the University of Illinois and earned a BS Engineering. As a student he conducted significant research at the Engineering Psychology Research Laboratory.

Next Burgstone attended the University of Michigan, where he received an MS Engineering.

He also received an MBA from Harvard Business School, while concurrently completing coursework at MIT. 


After completing consulting projects for clients in semiconductors, online financial services and telecom, Burgstone decided to launch a software company. In a studio apartment on the campus of Harvard Business School, Burgstone and co-founder Asif Satchu formed the idea for

Burgstone served as CEO of the company and led the company's executive team. SupplierMarket developed innovative software that could help manufacturing companies streamline the sourcing of $100Bs in products and materials. The software enabled customers to more easily identify, qualify, select and negotiate with prospective vendors.

Investors took notice of the concept. Sequoia Capital and Battery Ventures invested $8MM of venture capital. Soon additional firms invested an additional $40MM; the group included: Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., Fenway Partners, Onex Corporation, Fleet Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners. SupplierMarket grew quickly, adding 14,000 companies as buyers and suppliers. Customers realized costs savings ranging from 3% to 65% on purchases of many different products.

On March 2, 2000, filed an S-1 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and on June 28, 2000 the company announced an acquisition agreement with Ariba. The transaction was completed, as of September 5, 2000 the 6.3MM shares paid for SupplierMarket were worth approximately $1.1 billion. After the acquisition, the SupplierMarket product was renamed Ariba Sourcing.

The German software company SAP acquired Ariba in 2012.

Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at UC Berkeley

Burgstone is the founding Faculty Chair of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at UC Berkeley. During an interview Burgstone explained, “We teach the entrepreneurial process and give students a set of tools to translate their technical and scientific skills into commercially viable ideas."

UC Berkeley recruited Burgstone to teach a class in Leadership & Organizational Behavior to engineers. Students approached him about learning entrepreneurship, and Burgstone discovered a need for an entrepreneurship program focused on the requirements of engineers and scientists, thus forming the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.

Founding board members of the CET include Burgstone, Michael Marks of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Jim Davidson of Silverlake Partners, Allen Morgan of Mayfield, Tom Byers of Stanford University, Rich Newton of UC Berkeley and Stacey Lawson of UC Berkeley. Upon forming the CET, students oversubscribed classes by a four to one ratio. Looking to expand, Burgstone recruited Ikhlaq Sidhu as Executive Director to lead and grow the CET. Sidhu had previously built a major entrepreneurship program at the University of Illinois.

In the first four years, more than 1400 students had completed CET classes in entrepreneurship, marketing and finance. The CET features a guest lecture series, workshops, network opportunities and a certificate of mastery. Another notable CET program is the annual Technology Breakthrough Competition. This contest seeks to identify the most commercially promising new technologies under development in UC Berkeley laboratories. Several start-up companies have been successfully founded by CET alumni.

Symbol Capital, LLC

Currently Burgstone works as Managing Director of Symbol Capital, LLC a private investment partnership.


Burgstone has been active with board work, serving as a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of Illinois College of Engineering. He also serves on the board of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and as a trustee of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Burgstone advises and mentors numerous start-up companies and investment funds. He was awarded a 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Illinois Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.

Burgstone has been an active donor to schools and universities. These funds support high school science programs, scholarships and international education efforts.

External links

Biography at UCB IEOR

Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology

KKR Executives are Lead Investors in Web Start-Up

HBS Business Plan Contest

CET Faculty Biography

CoE Engineering News

Technology Breakthrough Competition

College of Engineering

Winning Business Plans Address Healthcare

UC Berkeley Launches Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology

UC Berkeley Entrepreneurship Center