Entrepreneur, MSU alumna brings fresh take and Silicon Valley credentials to the table
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State University Foundation (MSU Foundation) is pleased to announce today it has appointed Sarah Kunst, CEO and Founder of Proday, to its Board of Directors. This newest addition to the organization’s Board reaffirms the MSU Foundation’s commitment to Michigan State University’s (MSU) continued leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Sarah brings with her a wealth of experience and energy,” said Randolph Cowen, Chair of the MSU Foundation’s Board of Directors, “and her presence promises to bring a Silicon Valley perspective to the MSU Foundation, which will have a long-term impact on the organization’s activities.”
Kunst, a Mt. Pleasant, Michigan native, graduated from MSU in 2008 with a degree in advertising. Since then, she has gone on to be the Founder and CEO of Proday, a San Francisco-based company. Proday was part of the 2016 cohort in the Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator Program.
An investor and entrepreneur, Kunst has worked at Apple, Red Bull, Chanel, Mohr Davidow Ventures, as well as several venture-backed startups. She is a contributing editor at Marie Claire Magazine and has hosted a podcast for Forbes Magazine. Although Kunst is steeped in the investment and entrepreneurial spaces, she is also passionate about her philanthropic interests, including Venture for America and the US State Department’s Tech Women Program.
“Sarah is exceptional,” said David Washburn, the MSU Foundation’s Executive Director. “Her entrepreneurial spirit, investment acumen, and depth of knowledge and experience in several key areas will help us build even greater value across our activities, including entrepreneurship, commercialization, and economic development at Michigan State University.”
“I am inspired to be a part of growing the entrepreneurial community at MSU,” said Kunst. “I am honored to accept this position and work to broaden the scope and impact of the MSU Foundation’s investment initiatives; provide advice on curriculum development; and build relationships that enhance its place-making activities.”
Helping MSU achieve its goals related to research, discovery, and commercialization, the MSU Foundation provides research grants and also manages several operating subsidiaries, including Spartan Innovations, MBI, and the University Corporate Research Park.
Recently, the MSU Foundation launched Red Cedar Ventures, a pre-seed investment fund focusing on growing startup companies created by MSU faculty, staff, and students.
“Gap funding is crucial to moving ideas out of universities and into the real world and help create thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems. Having Red Cedar Ventures participating in this realm signals the MSU Foundation’s strong commitment to entrepreneurship and to the groundbreaking work being done at MSU,” said Kunst.
In 2014, Kunst was declared by Marie Claire Magazine to be a Young Gun to watch. That same year, Marc Andreessen named her one of his 55 Unknown Rock Stars in Tech—she has not disappointed. Since then, she has been named a Forbes Magazine 30 under 30, a Top 25 Innovator in Tech by Cool Hunting, and recognized for her work by Business Insider as a 30 under 30 Woman in Tech, Top African-American in Tech, as well as Top Startup To Watch in 2017. She has written for TechCrunch, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Entrepreneur.com.
About the MSU Foundation
Established in 1973 as an independent non-profit corporation, the Michigan State University Foundation fuels economic development initiatives through the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies invented by Michigan State University faculty, staff, and students. At its core is an extensive program that focuses on the support of research, invention, and entrepreneurship. The Michigan State University Foundation also operates the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, Michigan Biotechnology Institute, Red Cedar Ventures, Spartan Innovations, and the University Corporate Research Park. More information on the Foundation’s notable achievements, services provided, key leadership, and history are available at www.msufoundation.org.