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McCorkle Joins High Alpha Following Post-Salesforce Hiatus

From Jared Council in the IBJ.

Scott McCorkle, the former Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO, has joined High Alpha Studio LLC as an “executive in residence,” the Indianapolis-based venture studio announced Wednesday morning.

McCorkle—who spent 11 years total at ExactTarget Inc. and its acquirer Salesforce.com before parting ways in August—starts his new gig Wednesday. He’ll be reunited with several former “ET’ers,” including High Alpha Managing Partner Scott Dorsey, who used to be ExactTarget’s CEO.

“I’m super excited about this,” McCorkle, 50, said Tuesday. “And working with that team again is going to be a blast.”

High Alpha creates and nurtures enterprise-technology companies, and it has launched three portfolio companies since starting in spring 2015. Officials said McCorkle’s role will involve mentoring High Alpha portfolio leaders, lending his product and engineering expertise to its development team, and helping discover future portfolio companies.

McCorkle said his role will be part-time, and he plans to make a few announcements in the coming weeks that will detail how he plans to spend his time outside of High Alpha. Officials at the venture studio said McCorkle is its first executive in residence.

“Scott is an extraordinarily talented technology executive, and I am thrilled to have him join the High Alpha team as executive in residence, a newly-created advisory role,” Dorsey said in written remarks. “Scott will be instrumental in helping us scale our existing portfolio companies as well as develop new breakout ideas and companies.”

McCorkle was seen as the local face of Salesforce, particularly when the San Francisco-based company opposed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in spring 2015 and when it announced in spring 2016 that it would add 800 Indianapolis jobs by 2021. He left the company Aug. 1 on good terms.

Since his departure, McCorkle has been advising several startups in and outside of Indiana, including some High Alpha companies. Recently, he and High Alpha decided to formalize that relationship, he said.

McCorkle has also been investing in a few local startups, including legal-tech company PactSafe Inc. and marketing-tech firm Torchlite. He has cash in local venture capital funds, too, including funds managed by Allos Ventures and High Alpha Capital (which is separate from High Alpha studio).

McCorkle is the latest ET alum to join High Alpha in some capacity. The 21-employee operation has a number of staffers with ties to ExactTarget, including partners Mike Fitzgerald and Eric Tobias; Vice President of Talent MT Ray; Vice President of Finance Blake Koriath; and Vice President of Product Matthew Coffman.

ExactTarget alumnus RJ Talyor joined High Alpha as a co-founder in residence in September. He told IBJ in December that he’s working on a marketing-tech startup that should launch later this year.

High Alpha started in May 2015 by essentially adopting three portfolio companies that its partners had previously been involved in—Lessonly, Octiv and Visible. It later added Sigstr, another upstart that originally began outside High Alpha’s nest. Its last three portfolio companies, however—Doxly, ClearScholar and Zylo—were all conceived at High Alpha.

The venture studio also has two pre-launch companies it has yet to name. All nine portfolio companies employ more than 175 employees, it said, mostly in Indianapolis.