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 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.
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.
A project session in Batten Hall will entail a team exercise supervised by Senior Lecturer Bussgang. Through this exercise, 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 at the end of the term and draft a short essay, optionally published on the LTV course blog, about what they learned.