New to Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community, MVCA Venture Fellow Ashwin Puri is excited to learn as much as he can in his new role as an analyst for ID Ventures. Puri graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor of arts in government where he focused on public policy in economic development and international relations.
The Venture Fellows Program, supported by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), is designed to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies.
How did you find out about the Fellows program?
I was excited to learn about the program from former fellows, who emphasized how valuable the connections and learning opportunities are to someone beginning a new role in venture capital. Having a tool to provide Michigan-based venture firms with additional resources to hire talent is highly valuable in promoting the venture ecosystem and supporting startups throughout the state.
What are you most looking forward to about being a Fellow? What will you be doing at your new firm?
I look forward to attending the Venture Capital Institute in Atlanta, GA in December to continue growing my skill-set while networking to bring value to our firm. At ID Ventures, I conduct deal sourcing, lead the due diligence process of investment opportunities, and I am actively involved in supporting portfolio companies. As a venture fellow, I hope to play a visible role in the Michigan startup ecosystem and bring increased resources and investment dollars to people of color, women, and other founders from underrepresented groups.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
In ten years, I hope to be managing a fund or leading a company making a positive impact on the lives of everyday people.
What attracts you to the venture capital industry in Michigan?
Venture Capital is engaging due to the positive economic impact and continuous innovation venture investing facilitates. I love the variety of work as well as learning about a new industry, sector, or company every day. I grew up in the Midwest and have seen the region overlooked by coastal VCs and underestimated by the media. With some of the nation’s best universities churning-out incredible talent, supportive ecosystem actors, and corporate leaders in industry 4.0, mobility, agritech, and life science, Michigan is one of the best places in the country to start a company and begin a career in VC.
What’s your dream deal (the company you wish YOU had spotted first!)?
I wish I had the foresight to spot one of the companies I admire most, Airbnb. While their success seems like a no-brainer today, the company was turned down by some of the nation’s most successful seed-stage investors like Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. It shows that even the most intuitive VCs miss great opportunities and overlook incredible teams. It’s difficult to distill a broader vision for reshaping the hospitality industry from a startup that began by renting out air mattresses.