EVCA Leadership
November 5, 2023

Leadership Spotlight: Chicago Chapter Lead, Dana Sun of Laerdal Million Lives Fund

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

The EVCA leadership is dedicated to building community across and empowering the next generation of venture capitalists through an array of activities—from hosting events, knowledge sharing, and connecting others. This EVCA Leadership Spotlight Series is intended to help the broader community get to know what's going on behind the scenes at the EVCA, as well as highlight the valuable contributions of those individuals who make the EVCA possible. Accordingly, it's a great privilege for us to announce this EVCA Leadership Spotlight on our very own EVCA Chicago Chapter Co-Lead, Dana Sun of Laerdal Million Lives Fund.

Dana Sun is a Principal at the Laerdal Million Lives Fund, a healthcare venture fund backing early stage digital health and medical device companies around the world that maximize life-saving impact. Previously, Dana was a digital health investor at OCA Ventures, strategic finance manager at Genentech, and management consultant at Accenture. She earned her MBA from Chicago Booth and BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Duke. In her free time, you can find Dana solving NYTimes crossword puzzles, playing tennis with an overly western grip, and hanging out with her recently adopted cat Farsi.

EVCA: Could you explain more about what you do in your role as a Chicago Chapter Lead at EVCA?

Dana: As a Co-Lead for EVCA's Chicago chapter, I collaborate with Abhinaya Konduru to host events that foster a stronger sense of community among pre-partner VC professionals throughout the midwest. The Chicago chapter was recently revitalized and we have a number of social and educational events in the works!

EVCA: What made you interested in taking a leadership role at EVCA?

Dana: I joined EVCA in spring 2021 when I was starting out in the venture capital world. This was when the world was in a state of chaos regarding how to handle the pandemic, so most events were virtual and it was tough to build organic relationships. As I was re-learning how to socialize in-person after so many zooms, EVCA played an integral role in connecting me with fellow investors in Chicago and across the country across various sectors and stages. I found EVCA members to be friendly and eager to collaborate, whether it was bouncing ideas on thematic focus areas, offering introductions to helpful contacts, exchanging deal flow, or simply grabbing a meal together. In this role, I hope to continue making the Chicago a inclusive and warm community, particularly to those new to venture or the midwest ecosystem.

EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?

Dana: Being a first mover is over-hyped in healthcare. While first movers have some market access advantages early on, I believe that being best-in-class trumps being first-in-class in the long run (if you could only choose one). In industries like healthcare that are complex and riddled with regulatory hurdles, quality of outcomes is paramount and ultimately determines who persists. The reality is you cannot always afford to "move fast and break things" in an industry where a human life may be lost due to mistakes. The "growth at all costs" mindset is dangerous, and instead we should recast the focus onto responsible, sustainable growth anchored on quality.

Interested in taking on an EVCA leadership role?
The EVCA leadership is dedicated to empowering the next generation of VCs through an array of activities—running 40+ channels on from hosting events, knowledge sharing, and connecting others. If interested in pursuing an EVCA leadership role, click here.