Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit Speaker Spotlight: Suneel Gupta

In the weeks leading up to the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit, we’re highlighting some of the amazing people who will be speaking at the event. Suneel Gupta will serve as Co-host and Program Advisor for the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit.

suneelSuneel was named the “New Face of Innovation” by the New York Stock Exchange. While serving as VP of Product Development at Groupon, he helped grow the business from millions in revenue to billions in revenue, and into what Forbes Magazine named the “fastest growing company of all time”.

As the Founder and CEO of Rise, he raised funding from Google Ventures and was backed by senior leaders at Facebook, Uber, and AirBnB. Just two years after launch, One Medical acquired Rise for nearly $20 million dollars.

Suneel has been heralded as a visionary product leader, and featured by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, CNBC, and the Today Show. Though he won’t always admit it, Suneel is also an attorney and is licensed to practice in California and in front of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to law school, he served in President Clinton’s West Wing during the same time as his older brother, Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN.

We asked Suneel a few questions about what he’s learned, and what we can expect from his talk at the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit.


We’re excited to have you speak at the Lean Startup Summit in September. What will people learn from your talk?

As a co-host of the event, I’ll be introducing you to some of Detroit’s most innovative thinkers. I think you’re going to learn that these people haven’t just brought Lean Startup principles to their business, but to their leadership. They’re constantly iterating on their businesses and themselves. By the end of the night, my goal is that you leave inspired to do what inspires you.


Why is your story important to share to others in the Detroit region?

Because I’m proof that it’s never too late to find and pursue what really matters to you. I grew up in Detroit, and followed a pretty traditional career path. I worked in consulting, went to law school, etc. Lean Startup helped me bridge into entrepreneurship without feeling like I needed to jump off a massive cliff. I joined a couple of early-stage companies, and eventually started and sold my own. Along the way, Lean Startup made me a better team-player and Founder.  


How has Lean Startup affected your business or the way you approach your work?

Whether it’s for business or life, Lean Startup has taught me to test the simplest version of a new idea. I’m constantly experimenting and iterating on new approaches – whether that’s for a new product for my business, or a new workout routine for my mornings.  


What is the greatest thing about working in Detroit (and if you’re not working in Detroit, what is the greatest thing about Detroit)?

Both of parents worked for Ford Motor Company for over 30 years – my mom was their first female engineer. I saw the ups and downs of the industry and, along with it, Detroit’s economy. But there was always a new approach, a new concept. The ideas didn’t always work, and the city has had its fair-share of setbacks. Yet throughout it all, we were the city that wouldn’t back down from a challenge. We kept our soul, and our resilience. I’ve lived in Chicago, LA, and currently San Francisco, and still believe that “Detroit Hustles Harder”.

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