About Desai Accelerator

History | Staff | Partners

About Desai Accelerator

History | Staff | Partners

History

The Desai Accelerator was founded in 2013 to expand the growing Ann Arbor technology startup community. With support from our generous benefactors at the Desai Sethi Family Foundation, the Desai Accelerator was created as a joint initiative between the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Michigan Ross and the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Equipped with resources from both the University and the city of Ann Arbor, the Desai Accelerator is able to help entrepreneurs build their businesses and maximize their potential.

History

The Desai Accelerator was founded in 2013 to expand the growing Ann Arbor technology startup community. With support from our generous benefactors at the Desai Sethi Family Foundation, the Desai Accelerator was created as a joint initiative between Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Michigan Ross and the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Equipped with resources from both the University and the city of Ann Arbor, the Desai Accelerator is able to help entrepreneurs build their businesses and maximize their potential.

 

Staff


Angela Kujava, Managing Director

Angela is responsible for the execution and development of the Desai’s business acceleration program, including mentoring and counseling startups and selecting and managing investments. She works closely with the region’s business communities for the benefit of not only the participating startups but also the broader entrepreneurial landscape. Her areas of expertise include storytelling, design thinking, human-centered design, customer discovery, strategic planning, creative leadership, and innovation narratives. Angela earned the Foundations in Creative Leadership, Leading for Creativity, Cultivating Creative Collaboration and Storytelling for Influence certifications from IDEO, and previously held the Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Investment Management Analyst certifications. Angela earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Design Methods from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Katia Kassof, Program Manager

Katia Kassof supports the execution and development of the Desai Accelerator program, including managing the elite student internship program. She serves as project manager for work submitted by participant startups that is executed by internal and external multidisciplinary teams. Prior to joining Desai, Katia worked as a Program Coordinator at the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies where she managed the Dare to Dream Grant program for student startups and coordinated additional student programs that fostered innovation and entrepreneurship. Katia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Michigan State University, with minors in Bioethics and Health Promotion. She will graduate in April 2024 with an MBA from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.

Satish Malnaik, Entrepreneur in Residence

Satish Malnaik is a technology and venture creation enthusiast driven by a passion for innovation. He is CEO and co-founder of NextServices, leading a global team delivering a cloud health technology platform and knowledge-based revenue cycle services. Satish is also a co-founder at Fantelope, a collaboration marketplace for personalities, designers and charities.

Kim Gamez, Entrepreneur in Residence

For the past seventeen years, Kim has founded businesses in both the US and Mexico. Most recently, she was featured in Forbes, The Today Show, and has been dubbed Tech Start Up Darling with her latest endeavor, Mi Padrino. Kim is the founder of Mi Padrino, an event-planning, crowd-gifting platform for Hispanic families all across the US and Mexico. With over 1 million users in the past year, Mi Padrino makes it easy for families to plan weddings, quinceañeras, and more with ease, online. Kim is proud to be representing women entrepreneurs and serving the largest growing demographic in the United States.

Partners

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation through a broad range of activities, including academics, symposium, competitions, and global community outreach. The Institute is the foremost resource for students and alumni of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business as they pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and private equity careers.

The Institute’s innovative approach to experiential learning - combined with the Business School's traditional management excellence - encourages and nurtures students exploring entrepreneurial careers to succeed, autonomously or in a corporate setting, as leaders for new venture creation and growth.


Partners

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation through a broad range of activities, including academics, symposium, competitions, and global community outreach. The Institute is the foremost resource for students and alumni of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business as they pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and private equity careers.

The Institute’s innovative approach to experiential learning - combined with the Business School's traditional management excellence - encourages and nurtures students exploring entrepreneurial careers to succeed, autonomously or in a corporate setting, as leaders for new venture creation and growth.



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Stay in touch!