Founders Fund Names Rishi Moudgil Executive Director

    Rishi Moudgil

    ANN ARBOR  – Michigan Founders Fund, which is leading the vision for Michigan to be the most successful, inclusive and community-minded startup ecosystem in the country, has named Rishi Moudgil as its next Executive Director.

    Moudgil brings extensive social impact and entrepreneurial experience to the role. He previously served as Founding Executive Director of Greenlight Fund Detroit, which, with two community investment funds, took an inclusive and scalable approach to locally-led problem solving, designed to improve the lives of families in Detroit, in an effort that was modeled nationwide. Earlier in this career, he launched both tech and community-based ventures in Southeast Michigan. He also ran the Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest, Michigan’s first statewide entrepreneurial support program, and founded the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Impact at the Ross School of Business.

    MFF works to drive density among founders committed to the state, which, in turn, increases access to capital and talent. MFF members are high-growth entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who are committed to organizational values of connection, culture, and community. They have each made the Michigan Pledge to donate 1% of equity or carry to a Michigan-focused grantmaking fund that financially supports impactful organizations across the state. To do this work, MFF designs and implements robust, founder-first programming to further relationship-building, startup advancement, and community impact, while coordinating statewide initiatives in talent development and ecosystem-building, in order to build the most inclusive entrepreneurial network in the country.

    “Rishi has a unique and distinct record of successful organization-building and commitment to social impact that perfectly matches the aspirations of MFF, and with his values and his voice to guide the next phase of MFF’s growth, I’m very optimistic about the future of Michigan’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, and for the long-term direction of our state’s collaborative economic culture,” said Dug Song, MFF co-founder and board co-chair. “Having known of Rishi’s work for a long time, we are honored and incredibly excited that he has taken on the leadership of the Fund, especially at this moment where our ability to match the enthusiasm of a growing entrepreneurial movement with the broad-reaching benefits of our potential impact for the entire state has never felt greater.”

    Blending his dedication to social impact and community-centered investment with his expertise in the entrepreneurship space, Moudgil’s new leadership role at MFF reflects his commitment to building networks, narratives and pathways to equitable economic access.

    “I’m fiercely committed to supporting founders, regardless of their backgrounds, to pursue their dreams of building high-growth businesses here in Michigan, in any part of the state, while giving back to their local communities. MFF welcomes entrepreneurs into an active, mission-driven community where working together to create scalable wealth, jobs and opportunities in Michigan is an attainable and sustainable goal,” said Moudgil.

    MFF member and founder of Moment for Parents, Marianna Kerpolla, said “As a member that believes deeply in the power of this community, I believe Rishi is an incredible asset for the Michigan Founders Fund. He’s a deep thinker who’s dedicated his career to the intersection of social impact and entrepreneurship. He’ll be a great catalyst for growth in the MFF community thanks to his ideas, connections, and energy.”

    As for the future of the MFF, Moudgil is encouraged by indicators that Michigan has recently attracted venture capital investment at the fastest rate of any U.S. state, with annual VC investment growing by 886 percent between 2016 and 2020. Since MFF’s founding in 2020, the Fund has grown to over 150 members and hosted events attracting more than 1,500 attendees, including Michigan Tech Week in 2022 and 2023.   

    “Whether innovating in industries like life sciences, tech, or agriculture, in addition to traditional strengths including manufacturing and mobility, there are many solvable challenges where Michigan founders are leading the way,” said Moudgil. While Moudgil observes the rapid engagement among MFF members and supporters as positive, he also emphasizes that the overall population of Michigan’s startup ecosystem doesn’t yet reflect the state’s demographic diversity. MFF has been focused on meeting this challenge throughout the talent pipeline, including placing dozens of underrepresented college-level interns within high-growth start-ups, and attracting over 200 Michigan students at MFF-led seminars and skill-building workshops. 

    “Leading with inclusivity is a key differentiator for our founder-driven coalition operating at a statewide scale. We are building a successful, engaged network that’s representative of people across all demographics,” said Moudgil. “Working collectively, MFF is positioned to take real, measurable steps toward a more equitable, robust economy by investing in people that haven’t typically benefited from well-connected, high-growth ecosystems. We want to ensure all our great hotspots of entrepreneurship can work together as one Michigan community,” said Moudgil.