Dec 5, 2017

Tech entrepreneur running for Congress in Michigan

Suneel Gupta, a former Groupon exec who later founded mobile health app maker Rise Labs (sold to One Medical last year), has announced that he is running for Congress in Michigan's 11th district.

Why it matters: Gupta says he's the first tech entrepreneur to run for Congress in a Rust Belt state. He's also married to tech journalist Leena Rao, best known from her time at Fortune and TechCrunch, and is the younger brother of CNN doc Sanjay Gupta.

Ballot basics: He's a Democrat and will have to navigate a crowded primary field, but it's an open seat as current Rep. Dave Trott (R) has decided not to run for reelection.

Bio pitch: Gupta was born and raised in the district, before eventually leaving for Silicon Valley. He says his mother was a refugee from India who "walked into Ford Motor Company, asked for a job and was hired as its first-ever female engineer." Both of his parents, however, experienced being laid off from their auto sector jobs on the same day in 2001.

Political pull: Gupta and Rise Labs worked with Michelle Obama on her obesity and healthcare initiatives, ultimately forming a sort of public-private partnership between the startup and The White House. He later would be part of the Hillary Clinton transition team — charged with staffing the Office of Science and Technology — but obviously that was a short-lived post.

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