Rick Desai
Rick Desai

INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Print Overview

Rick Desai is a Partner at Listen, a brand-focused venture capital firm in Chicago. At Listen, Rick leads investment strategy, sourcing, and diligence and works closely with portfolio companies on marketing and technology initiatives. Rick is also a co-founder of Dashfire, a startup studio that built and invested in over 40+ companies since 2009 including 20 in Chicago. Rick was awarded a Clinton Fellowship in 2008 and spent one year leading social enterprise strategies in urban Indian slums. He previously was an investor at Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm and was in Lehman Brothers Investment Banking Group.  

Rick is an active supporter and investor in the Chicago tech eco-system. Rick is a graduate of Georgetown University and co-founder of Venturing Hoyas.



Print Vita
Education
B.S., 2004, Business Administration, Georgetown University, Cum Laude

Academic Positions
Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2016-present

Other Professional Experience
Partner; Head of Investments, Listen Ventures II, 2015-present
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Dashfire, 2009-present
Fellow at NGO SAATH, William J. Clinton Fellowship, 2008-2009
Private Equity Associate, Madison Dearborn Partners, 2006-2008
Leveraged Finance Analyst, Lehman Brothers Investment Bank, 2004-2006

Print Research

 
Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
New Venture Development (KIEI-464-0)

**This course was formerly known as KIEI-940-0**

New Venture Development is the logical continuation of New Venture Discovery (KIEI 462). Students that have completed initial testing and market research and have determined that there appears to be a product-market fit for a customer base of a significant size, can apply to this course. This course is focused on testing and validating product-market fit, user interfaces and experience and advancing to the development of a refined MVP concept. There is an emphasis on using digital tools to test customer acquisition and messaging.
Teams are not expected to have programmers at this point in time as the focus is on using a variety of free ware to test the product/service. A significant portion of the workload for this course will occur outside of the classroom. Students must be prepared to engage with potential customers and industry experts. Within the classroom, students will be encouraged to share learning experiences and help other student teams. The course work will be supplemented by guest speakers who are experts in specific industries as well as functional areas and a pool of alumni and local mentors who can assist in the development of their businesses.
New Venture Development will be offered in the winter and spring quarters. Upon the completion of New Venture Development, student teams and faculty will determine whether a team should move to New Venture Launch. Other courses that are beneficial to take in advance of this course are: MKTG 961: Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing and MORS 952: Building Innovation, Teams, and Cultures. Admittance to New Venture Development is by application only. The application is available here. If a student wants to by-pass KIEI 462, they must identify that they are well versed in the process of design thinking and have already conducted significant market research to validate their business concept.