Jeffrey Bussgang

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.

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. Jeff's investment interests and entrepreneurial experience are in consumer, Internet commerce, marketing services, and software and mobile start-ups.

Jeff currently represents Flybridge Capital Partners on the boards of Cartera Commerce, ClickSquared, DataXu, i4cp, Plastiq, SavingStar, SimpleTuition and tracx, and is a board observer at ZestFinance.  Jeff was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M), BzzAgent (acquired by Tesco), Convoke Systems, go2Media, oneforty (acquired by HubSpot), PanGo Networks (merged with InnerWireless), Ready Financial (merged with AccountNow), Transpera (acquired by Tremor Video).

He is also on the board of MITX, the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, and is a Founding Executive Committee Member of FirstGrowth Venture Network, a network of venture and angel investors supporting first- and second-time entrepreneurs building exciting companies in the New York area.

Jeff has authored and co-authored several HBS cases that are taught in both Founders' Dilemmas (Curt Schilling's Next Pitch) and Launching Technology Ventures (foursquare, Predictive BioSciences, BabbaCo, and Plastiq).  He is the co-author of Ruling The Net, a 1996 Harvard Business Review article on the Internet's potential for commerce.

Jeff's book on venture capital and entrepreneurship, Mastering the VC Game, is an insider's guide for entrepreneurs on 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's popular blog on helping demystify the venture business for entrepreneurs, "Seeing Both Sides", can be found at http://www.seeingbothsides.com/, which is syndicated by BusinessInsider.com, Inc Magazine, Fortune, Reuters, PE Hub, and others.  You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bussgang.

Background
Prior to joining the firm in January 2003, Jeff co-founded Upromise (acquired by Sallie Mae), a loyalty marketing and financial services firm with 12 million members that currently manages over $35 billion in college savings assets, where he served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Board Director. Prior to Upromise, Jeff was an executive at Open Market, an Internet commerce software leader that went public in 1996 and grew to nearly $100 million in revenues. During his five-year tenure, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development, Vice President of Worldwide Professional Services and head of Product Management. Prior to Open Market, Jeff was with the strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group.

Education
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.

Interests
Jeff is married with three children and is an avid baseball fan. He is an active community member, serving as vice-chair of the The Alliance for Business Leadership, vice chairman of the board of educational non-profit, Facing History and Ourselves, and has served on various civic boards, including Governor Deval Patrick's Council for Innovation (to use technology to make government more efficient), Economic Development Council (creating an economic development plan for the State) and the Readiness Finance Commission (education reform).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.)