Senior Lecturer of Business Administration
Jeffrey J. Bussgang is a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at the Harvard Business School and a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. He studies lean startups as well as strategy and management challenges for founders. He teaches Launching Technology Ventures in the MBA Elective Curriculum and has previously assisted in teaching Founders' Dilemmas.
Flybridge Capital Partners
Former entrepreneur turned VC, HBS Senior Lecturer, author, dad of three, husband of one, civic leader, Cross Fitter and fan of all Boston sports.
Jeff’s investment interests and entrepreneurial experience are in consumer, e-commerce, education, financial, marketplace, mobile and SaaS start-ups. He also serves as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and teaches a class on entrepreneurship and lean start-ups called Launching Technology Ventures. In this capacity, he has co-authored twelve HBS cases and notes regarding startup management and entrepreneurship.
Jeff currently represents Flybridge Capital Partners on the boards of BlueTarp Financial, Cartera Commerce, DataXu, i4cp, Open English, Plastiq, Restorando, Sample6, SmackHigh, SavingStar, tracx, and Valore and is a board observer at Codecademy and ZestFinance. Jeff was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M), BzzAgent (acquired by Tesco), ClickSquared (acquired by Zeta Interactive), Convoke Systems, go2Media, oneforty (acquired by HubSpot), PanGo Networks (merged with InnerWireless), Ready Financial (merged with AccountNow), TARIS Biomedical (acquired by Allergan), Transpera (acquired by Tremor Video: TRMR).
Prior to joining Flybridge in January 2003, Jeff co-founded and served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Board Director at Upromise, a loyalty marketing and financial services firm that was acquired by Sallie Mae. He also served as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development, Vice President of Worldwide Professional Services and head of Product Management at Open Market, an Internet commerce software leader that went public in 1996. Prior to Open Market Jeff was with the strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group.
In 2010, Jeff authored a book on venture capital and entrepreneurship, Mastering the VC Game, to provide entrepreneurs an insider’s guide to financing and company-building. The book has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, TechCrunch and The Financial Times as an essential guide for entrepreneurs. The first chapter of Mastering the VC Game can be downloaded here.
Jeff is an active community member, serving as co-chairman of the board of educational non-profit, Facing History and Ourselves, co-founder and co-chair of an immigration reform non-profit, the Global EIR Coalition, and co-founder and vice-chair of the progressive policy organization, The Alliance for Business Leadership. Jeff also serves on the board of EdX, the massively open online course provider created through a joint venture between Harvard and MIT.
Jeff holds a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar and a Ford Scholar.
Launching Technology Ventures
Launching Technology Ventures (LTV) is an MBA elective designed for students who will join startups, launch their own companies, or work in established firms launching information technology products, in particular, new ventures in the Internet, mobile, and enterprise software sectors. The course was created by Professors Tom Eisenmann and Jeff Bussgang and features two modules: search and discovery (pre product-market fit) and scaling (post product-market fit).
Mastering the VC Game
Entrepreneurs who dream of building the next Amazon, Facebook or Google have the opportunity to take advantage of one of the most powerful economic engines the world has ever known: venture capital. To do so, you need to woo, impress, and persuade venture capitalists to take a risk on an unproven endeavor. Getting funding is challenge enough, but choosing the right investor and creating a good working relationship can be harder still. You want your VC to act as a partner and adviser, not as an adversary who cares more about a quick return than about realizing the vision of your company.
Jeffrey Bussgang is one of the few people who have played on both sides of this high-stakes game. By his early thirties, he had helped build two successful start-ups—one went public, the other was acquired. Now he uses his experience and unique perspective on "the other side" as a venture capitalist helping entrepreneurs bring their dreams to fruition.
Bussgang offers detailed insights, colorful stories, and practical advice gathered from his own experience as well as from interviews with dozens of the most successful players on both sides of the game, including Twitter's Jack Dorsey and LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman. He reveals how to get noticed, perfect a pitch, and negotiate a partnership that
works for everyone.
An insider's guide to the secrets of the world of venture capital, Mastering the VC Game will prove invaluable for entrepreneurs seeking capital and successful partnerships.
Seeing Both Sides
The purpose of this blog is to provide transparency into the venture capital process and to give entrepreneurs advice on company building.
Cases Featuring Jeff
Jeff’s involvement with Open Market and Upromise has been the subject of the following cases.
UPromise 2002: Describes a set of decisions confronting the senior management of a company that has established a loyalty rewards program allocating cash to tax-advantaged college savings accounts for participants. The company has recruited a new CEO and needs to raise additional capital in the post-Internet bubble period.
Citation: Sahlman, William A. “Upromise 2002.” Harvard Business School Case 804-058, September 2003.
UPromise: Describes the development of UPromise, a company that has developed a loyalty program through which corporate partners can contribute to funds that finance the education of consumers' children. Presents the accomplishments prior to the company's second round of financing and asks students to consider how the recent NASDAQ drop could or should affect the company's ability to raise money.
Citation: Sahlman, William A., Michael J. Roberts. “UPromise.” Harvard Business School Case 801-321, November 2000.
Open Market, Inc.: The E-Commerce Wars: Continues the story of Open Market, Inc., a company founded in 1994 to support electronic commerce on the Internet. Despite a very successful initial public offering, the firm had reached a growth plateau, and the management team was considering several strategic options. Should it focus on building market share of its simple "storefront" product shop site (which was targeted at small e-merchants) or develop new channels for their high-end order-processing software, Transact? The 1999 holiday season was rapidly approaching, and Open Market's management team hoped to benefit from a predicted surge in online sales.
Citation: Cash, James I., Janis Gogan, Micahel Haselkorn, and Mani Subramani. “Open Market, Inc.: The E-Commerce Wars.” Harvard Business School Case 800-255, October 2000. (Revised from original February 2000 version.)
Open Market, Inc.: Managing in a Turbulent Environment: Presents the story of Open Market, Inc., one of numerous companies formed in 1994 to engage in electronic commerce over the Internet. This case examines the company's development--its business strategy and organization evolution--as the company increased in size and gained a firm foothold in the uncertain electronic commerce.
Citation: Applegate, Lynda M., Janis L. Gogan. “Open Market, Inc.: Managing in a Turbulent Environment.” Harvard Business School Case 196-097. August 1996. (Revised from original March 1996 version.)