Back to Blog February 01, 2024 in

Meet Venture Fellow, Jacqueline Lensing, Grand Ventures

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The Michigan Venture Capital Association is proud to offer the Venture Fellows Program to Michigan’s venture capital community. The program, launched in 2023, is designed to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan in order to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies.

Jacqueline joined the Grand Ventures team in October 2023, joining as an investment analyst shortly after graduating in May. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and Bachelor of Arts degrees in mathematics and Spanish, from Calvin University. Within the Grand Ventures team, Jacqueline plays a pivotal role in sourcing and managing new investment opportunities and aiding in the due diligence process. Before joining Grand Ventures, Jacqueline gained valuable experience as an intern at Nava Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm. In that role, she focused her efforts on deal sourcing and outbound reach, particularly in the digital health space. Jacqueline’s journey into the startup and venture world began during the summer of 2022 when she interned at OpenLoop Health, a Telehealth startup backed by venture capital and based in Des Moines, Iowa. This experience ignited her passion for technology and startups, laying the foundation for her subsequent roles in venture capital.

What are you most looking forward to about being a Venture Fellow?

I’m thrilled at the prospect of connecting with fellow members in the vibrant community of Michigan-based investors. Building a network of friends and contacts who I can engage with both professionally and personally is invaluable, especially as I navigate this exciting new chapter. Coming from out of state and being a newcomer to the dynamic VC ecosystem, I recognize the immense value in tapping into the wealth of resources and inspiring mentors offered by the MVCA fellows program. I’m eager to absorb knowledge, forge meaningful connections, and embark on this enriching journey of learning and growth within the Michigan investment landscape.

What attracts you to Michigan’s venture capital industry?

I’d always heard that breaking into venture capital meant having to live in either New York or San Francisco. So, when the chance came up to stay within my college town in Michigan, I was ecstatic and determined to snag it. I am grateful to be part of such a vibrant and diverse start-up ecosystem here in Michigan. Additionally, as a lifelong resident of the Midwest, my commitment lies in supporting and contributing to the community of innovative founders in this region. The fulfillment derived from being situated in an area that, by industry standards, may be deemed “overlooked” is significant. This positioning affords us the advantage of an early glimpse into numerous innovative companies emerging in the Midwest before they make waves on either coast.

What ideas do you have to support and advance DEI in our entrepreneurial and investment community?

As the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee, I am profoundly grateful for the community leaders who supported my family, ultimately enabling me to be in the position I am today. This background has instilled in me a strong commitment to serving and supporting founders who may be underrepresented, overlooked, or lacking substantial economic support. In my current position, focused on deal sourcing, I am dedicated to discovering innovative approaches for identifying companies with high-quality founders that may have limited exposure. My alma mater recently created a start-up club that I have connected with in hopes of cultivating a stronger environment of entrepreneurship amongst young people right in Grand Rapids. This mission is deeply personal to me, and I am dedicated to fostering inclusivity and equal opportunities within the entrepreneurial landscape.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?

I hope to be deeply integrated within the venture capital industry nationwide. I hope I have cultivated many deep relationships with different funds and unique investors who provide valuable insight. I also aspire to specialize in a particular sector, establishing myself as an expert, where I can offer constructive advice to founders in that sector. Lastly, I hope to have a great track record of backing incredible founders with prospering companies!

What’s your dream deal — the company you wish YOU had spotted first?

I wish I could have found the Oura Ring, before it became big. As someone who is passionate about personal fitness, femtech, and healthcare technology, this company aligns with so much I care about. Plus the rings are stylish and sleek!