Back to Blog December 05, 2023 in

Meet Venture Fellow, Sapna Patel, Michigan Capital Network

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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.

Ever since she was a little girl, Sapna wanted to be an astronaut. While she has not made it to space (yet), she did start her career as an aerospace engineer with The Boeing Company. Sapna worked on multiple commercial airplane programs and in product development, building a strong foundation in engineering and manufacturing technologies.

To supplement her technical background, Sapna decided to pursue an MBA at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. While in business school, Sapna also worked as a part-time analyst for Michigan Capital Network where she learned how to navigate the world of venture capital from deal sourcing to preparing a due diligence summary.

After spending a couple years in turnaround consulting after graduation, Sapna rejoined the team at Michigan Capital Network in June 2023 as a Principal. Her focus has been on early-stage investing within the advanced manufacturing and software industries and portfolio management.


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

Venture capital in Michigan is a close-knit community. I’m excited to be part of the network and look forward to building strong relationships with other investors and VC firms. Through the Venture Fellows program, the MVCA is providing a great opportunity to make connections and integrate with the entrepreneurial and investing ecosystem in Michigan.

What attracts you to Michigan’s venture capital industry?

Michigan has a rich history in manufacturing and heavy industries. This legacy has fostered a strong culture of innovation and engineering expertise. Given my background in engineering, I’ve enjoyed meeting start-ups in this space and founders that are incredibly passionate about the problems they are trying to solve.

Additionally, Michigan and the broader Midwest region have been gaining traction as an up-and-coming destination for venture capital investment. With increased funding opportunities, access to top talent, and affordable living costs, the Midwest’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem provides an alternative tech hub to those on the Coasts.

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

Partnering with educational institutions to offer learning opportunities in the areas of venture capital and entrepreneurship is crucial. Programs that leverage hands-on learning and provide students with the mentoring and resources they need to explore a new start-up idea or practice running diligences on real investment deals will help foster the next generation of founders and investors. Moreover, these programs should be offered to students earlier in their educational careers, not just to students attending top business schools.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?

Hard to say, still looking out for that opportunity to go to space!

Jokes aside, I hope to still be involved in the venture capital industry 10 years down the line. Within my first few months, I’ve spent a good deal of time building relationships with the VC community in Michigan and the Midwest. The folks I have met have been incredibly welcoming and friendly. It seems like a great group to spend a career with.

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

I’ve followed a few start-ups within the Aerospace industry. One of my favorites is Relativity Space – they specialize in 3D printing and additive manufacturing for rockets and launch vehicles. The company is one of the main players disrupting the traditional space industry. I happened to be near Cape Canaveral earlier this year and caught the launch of Terran 1, the world’s first ‘3D-printed rocket’. There’s so much cool tech being developed as part of space exploration, it’s been a fun industry to watch.