Josh Lerner

Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking
Unit Head, Entrepreneurial Management

Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, and head of the Entrepreneurial Management unit. He graduated from Yale College with a special divisional major that combined physics with the history of technology.  He worked for several years on issues concerning technological innovation and public policy at the Brookings Institution, for a public-private task force in Chicago, and on Capitol Hill.  He then earned a Ph.D. from Harvard's Economics Department.

Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, and head of the Entrepreneurial Management unit. He graduated from Yale College with a special divisional major that combined physics with the history of technology.  He worked for several years on issues concerning technological innovation and public policy at the Brookings Institution, for a public-private task force in Chicago, and on Capitol Hill.  He then earned a Ph.D. from Harvard's Economics Department. 

Much of his research focuses on the structure and role of venture capital and private equity organizations.  (This research is collected in three books, The Venture Capital Cycle, The Money of Invention, and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.)  He also examines policies on innovation and how they impact firm strategies.  (That research is discussed in the books Innovation and Its Discontents, The Comingled Code, and the Architecture of Innovation.)  He co-directs the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program and serves as co-editor of their publication, Innovation Policy and the Economy. He founded and runs the Private Capital Research Institute, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging access to data and research about venture capital and private equity.

In the 1993-1994 academic year, he introduced an elective course for second-year MBAs.  Over the past two decades, “Venture Capital and Private Equity” has consistently been one of the largest elective courses at Harvard Business School.  (The course materials are collected in Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, now in its fifth edition, and the textbook Venture Capital, Private Equity, and the Financing of Entrepreneurship.)  He also teaches a doctoral course on entrepreneurship and chairs the Owners-Presidents-Managers Program and executive courses on private equity. 

Among other recognitions, he is the winner of the Swedish government’s 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Research Award.  He has recently been named one of the 100 most influential people in private equity over the past decade by Private Equity International magazine and one of the ten most influential academics in the institutional investing world by Asset International's Chief Investment Officer magazine.

Wall Street Journal

Hillary Canada


Antoine Drean

Although there’s plenty of reason to think that co-investments have underperformed returns from private equity funds in the past, there’s no reason why co-investments can’t be as lucrative – or perform even better than funds – in the future, provided investors exercise care.

DealBook (New York Times)

David Gelles

Private Equity and Venture Capital

Hillary Canada

Limited partners from sea to shining sea have been ramping up co-investment programs, lured by visions of fee-free profits.

But a new paper out from researchers at INSEAD and Harvard Business School indicates that while the returns from co-investments may outpace the performance of the public markets, they aren't necessarily outperforming fund investments....


Carmen Nobel

The vague rules regarding standard-essential patents have led to major legal battles in the smartphone industry:  Apple vs. Samsung and Google vs. Microsoft, for instance. Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole discuss potential ways to prevent future patent-related litigation. 

DealBook (New York Times)
USA Today

Scott Martin

Financial Times

Anne-Sylvaine Chassany

Canada’s public retirement funds are moving into dealmaking and taking on more risk

Benefits Canada
Harvard Gazette

Christina Pazzanese

Six years after its launch, the social networking giant Twitter plans to test public confidence in its future profitability through an initial public offering (IPO) on Nov. 6, with trading to begin the next day on the New York Stock Exchange.

In recent days, company representatives have been pitching money managers around the country in what is the most highly anticipated stock offering since Facebook’s in 2012. With opening shares set at $17–$20 each, Twitter could raise an estimated $1.4 billion, with a total value of nearly $11 billion, if available shares sell at the top of the price range. The privately held business claims 230 million active monthly users but has not yet turned a profit.


Chris Arnold

The health care law is partly funded by a tax on medical devices. Republicans and some Democrats from states with medical device companies want to repeal the tax. Leading Democrats say that's not happening if it's meant to scale back Obamacare. But the device tax could be an area of compromise later in a broader budget deal.

Harvard Business Review Blogs

How Corporate Venture Capital Helps Firms Explore New Territory

Bloomberg TV

Josh Lerner

Bloomberg's Cristina Alesci and Josh Lerner, professor at Harvard Business School, discuss the ongoing battle for Dell and why it has turned into a matter of valuation. They speak on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance."

HBS Working Knowledge

Michael Blanding

Crowdfunding promises to democratize funding of startups. But is that necessarily a good thing? Entrepreneurial finance experts Josh Lerner, Ramana Nanda, and Michael J. Roberts on the promises and problems with the newest method for funding small businesses.

Bloomberg TV

Josh Lerner, Harvard University Professor, discusses the importance of Michael Dell to Dell and the company’s looming deadline. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)


Kara Miller and Kinne Chapin

How can we fund innovation? Josh Lerner, author of “The Architecture of Innovation: The Economics of Creative Organizations” and a professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, shares his insights.

New York Times

Jeff Sommer

Bloomberg TV

Harvard Business School Professor Josh Lerner discusses the deal for Dell. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves."

Pensions & Investments

Arleen Jacobius


Businesses fail when markets shift, customers move on, or — worst case scenario — companies lose their creative edge. 

No model is perfect, but Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner says innovation is the best predictor of a company's success. It safeguards against inevitable ebbs and flows, and may lead to new discoveries and revenue streams. But how do you cultivate innovation? What's the difference between companies that can see around the next corner - like Apple - and those that can't - like Motorola? Today, we find out.

New York Times

Steve Lohr

Financial Times

Geoffrey Owen

DealBook (New York Times)

Steve Lohr

Harvard Business Review

Find the right innovation model... Innovation is a much-used buzzword these days, but when it comes to creating and implementing a new idea, many companies miss the mark--plans backfire, consumer preferences shift, or tried-and-true practices fail to work in a new context. So is innovation just a low-odds crapshoot? In "The Architecture of Innovation," Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner--one of the foremost experts on how innovation works--says innovation can be understood and managed. The key to success? Incentives. Fortunately, new research has shed light on the role incentives can play in promoting new ideas, but these findings have been absent from innovation literature--until now. By using the principles of organizational economics, Lerner explains how companies can set the right incentives and time horizons for investments and create a robust innovation infrastructure in the process. Drawing from years of experience studying and advising companies, venture capital firms, and an assortment of governments around the globe, Lerner looks to corporate labs and start-ups, and argues that the best elements of both can be found in hybrid models for innovation. While doing so, he uses a wide range of industry-rich examples to show how these models work and how you can put them into practice in your own organization. Practical and thought-provoking, "The Architecture of Innovation" is the missing blueprint for any company looking to strengthen its innovation competence.

New York Times

Steve Lohr

Jason Kelly, Anne-Sylvaine Chassany & Sabrina Willmer

Harvard Business Review

Josh Lerner and William Sahlman

New enterprises don’t exist in a vacuum: They rise or fall depending on myriad contextual factors, all of them interrelated, and all of them affected by government policy. U.S. lawmakers must carefully consider the effects of interventions in at least 12 areas, ranging from capital markets to tax treatment to intellectual property to health care. Their decisions could shore up—or further weaken—what has long been America’s greatest economic asset.

Wall Street Journal

As private equity attracts scrutiny from regulators and takes center stage in the presidential campaign, nebulous claims about the industry will likely gain traction and remain unchallenged given the dearth of academic research on the asset class.  

Josh Lerner, a professor at the Harvard Business School and president of the Private Capital Research Institute, a nascent organization that compiles industry data for use in academic studies, won’t be able to produce research that can combat misinformation in this election cycle, but is establishing the infrastructure that could lead to a deeper understanding of private equity.  

Financial Times

Richard Waters and April Dembosky

DealBook (New York Times)

Controversy swirls around private equity as attacks on Mitt Romney and the entire industry mount. Amid the name-calling, little in the way of evidence has been cited. So let’s take a look at some of the best research on this issue.

Washington Post

Thomas Heath

New York Times

David Brooks

Harvard Business Review

As global competition intensifies, it's more important than ever that companies figure out how to innovate if they are going to maintain their edge, or maintain their existence at all. Six Harvard Business School faculty share insights on the best ways to develop creative workers.

Wall Street Journal

Ben Roony

Why do some entrepreneurs hit gold, while others hit dirt? Is there a pattern to success, and if so, what is it?

Business Insider has analyzed a paper by the Harvard Business School [PDF] on ”Performance Persistence in Entrepreneurship” and boiled it down to ten questions to try to discover the alchemist’s stone of entrepreneurship.

Financial Times

Andrew Hill

Wall Street Journal
New York Times

Steve Lohr
New York Times

Claire Cain Miller

New York Times

Anne Eisenberg

Business Insider

Scott Shane


Maureen Farrell

New York Times

Julie Creswell