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. Overview

    Field Course: Launching Technology Ventures

    Career Focus
    Launching Technology Ventures (LTV) is designed for students who are actively working on their own startups or who will work at early-stage startups, launching information technology products. The course material is, in particular, focused on new businesses in the Internet, mobile, and enterprise software sectors, although the lessons from these sectors are quite generalized.

    Educational Objectives
    Extending concepts introduced in the MBA Required Curriculum course, The Entrepreneurial Manager, LTV explores in greater depth "lean startup" management practices as well as scaling challenges in startups. The course takes the perspective of not just the founder but also functional leaders in product management, sales, and business development. LTV will emphasize implementation rather than strategy issues, and will avoid overlap with concepts covered in Entrepreneurial Finance and Founders' Dilemmas.

    Course Content and Organization
    LTV is organized into classroom and project sessions. Senior Lecturer Jeff Bussgang will lead a series of case discussions that explore execution challenges before and after a startup achieves product-market fit, i.e., a match between its product solution and market needs. Topics explored in the cases include: 1) the importance of launching early and conducting experiments using a minimum viable product (MVP), i.e., the smallest set of features necessary to rapidly validate a hypothesis about a new venture based on customer feedback obtained through A/B tests, interviews, usability tests, customer support interactions, etc.; 2) the use of metrics to gauge whether hypotheses have been validated, e.g., viral coefficients, customer retention rates, unit economics; 3) the process of pivoting, i.e., modifying a product/business model based on market feedback; and 4) challenges in "crossing the chasm" from early adopters to mainstream customers; 5) challenges in scaling a direct sales force; 6) tradeoffs for startups relying on business development partnerships with large companies; and 7) why, when and how startups should introduce formal product management processes, e.g., project prioritization and tracking systems, product roadmaps.

    Project sessions in the Batten Hall hives will entail a series of team exercises supervised by Senior Lecturer Bussgang and Professor Eisenmann, as well as startup mentors, including HBS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Through these exercises, a team of students will specify, for one team member's startup idea, business model assumptions and rigorous tests to validate those assumptions, leveraging tools and techniques covered in the LTV's case sessions. Students will present their projects the end of the term and draft a short essay, optionally published on the LTV course blog, about what they learned.