Jeffrey Bussgang - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Jeffrey Bussgang

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Entrepreneurial Management

General Partner, 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.

Jeffrey J. Bussgang is a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at the Harvard Business School as well as Co-Founder and 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 (a class focusing on product-market fit startups) and oversees the Rock Venture Partners program (a year-long seminar for aspiring venture capitalists).

Jeff currently represents Flybridge Capital Partners on the boards of BlueTarp FinancialDataXu, Fam, Jibo, Open EnglishSavingStar and is a board observer at Codecademy and ZestFinance.  Jeff was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M), BzzAgent (acquired by Tesco), Cartera (acquired by Rakuten), TARIS Biomedical (acquired by Allergan), and Transpera (acquired by Tremor Video: TRMR).

Prior to Flybridge, 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 2017, Jeff authored a book for startup joiners, Entering StartUpLand:  An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job. 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 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.

  1. Entering StartUpLand: An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang

    Many professionals aspire to work for startups. Executives from large companies view them as models to help them adapt to today's dynamic innovation economy, while freshly minted MBAs see magic in founding something new. Yes, startups look magical, but they can also be chaotic and inaccessible. Many books are written for those who aspire to be founders, but a company only has one or two of those. What's needed is something that deconstructs the typical startup organization for the thousands of employees who join a fledgling company and do the day-to-day work required to grow it into something of value. Entering StartUpLand is a practical, step-by-step guide that provides an insider's analysis of various startup roles and responsibilities—including product management, marketing, growth, and sales—to help you figure out if you want to join a startup and what to expect if you do. You'll gain insight into how successful startups operate and learn to assess which ones you might want to join—or emulate. Inside this book you'll find 1) a tour of typical startup roles to help you determine which one might be the best fit for you, 2) profiles of startup executives across many different functions who share their stories and describe their responsibilities, and 3) a methodology to identify and evaluate startups and position yourself to find the opportunity that's right for you. Entering StartUpLand will guide you as you seek your ideal entry point into this popular, cutting-edge organizational paradigm.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Managerial Roles; Job Search;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J. Entering StartUpLand: An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2017.  View Details
  2. Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang

    An essential, insider's guide to the secrets of the world of venture capital, written by one of the few people who have played on both sides of this high-stakes game. In it, you will find detailed insights, colorful stories, and practical advice gathered from entrepreneur-turned-VC Jeffrey Bussgang's 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.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Venture Capital; Initial Public Offering; Personal Development and Career;

Journal Articles
  1. Are You Suited for a Start-up?

    Jeffrey Bussgang

    Relative to established organizations, start-ups can be hard to figure out. What are the jobs to be done? The best entry points? How can you tell whether a company has potential for success and is the right fit for you? The author advises that you first assess whether you’re suited for a young, entrepreneurial organization. Start-up joiners need to do three things well: manage uncertainty, push the limits, and think like an owner. He then outlines four steps for choosing the right company: Pick a domain (find a field you’re passionate about); pick a city (preferably in an entrepreneurial hub); pick a stage (“jungle,” “dirt road,” or “highway”); and pick a winner (do due diligence on the founding team, the market, and the business model). Once you’ve made those choices, you’ll need to sell yourself, and Bussgang suggests how: Identify key players at the companies you’re interested in and find ways to connect with them. When you meet, articulate how you can contribute; engage your interviewers about their work; and offer expertise, advice, or contacts with no expectation of reciprocity. Suddenly you’ll be perceived as someone who is already adding value.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Personal Characteristics; Job Search;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey. "Are You Suited for a Start-up?" Harvard Business Review 95, no. 6 (November–December 2017): 150–153.  View Details
  2. Ruling the Net

    D. L. Spar and Jeffrey J. Bussgang

    The Internet promises a radical new world of business. But for many companies, it has yet to deliver. Although doing business in cyberspace may be novel and exhilarating, it can also be frustrating, confusing, and even unprofitable. Debora Spar and Jeffrey Bussgang argue that the problems companies face have little to do with a lack of technology or imagination. Their problems stem instead from a lack of rules. The authors explain why the informal rules that have developed on the Internet since the 1960s are no longer sufficient. Businesses thinking of allowing millions of dollars of transactions to occur on the wide-open Net need specific assurances. They require clear definitions of property rights, a safe and useful means of exchange, and a way to locate and punish violators of on-line rules.

    Keywords: Information Services; Online Technology;


    Spar, D. L., and Jeffrey J. Bussgang. "Ruling the Net." Harvard Business Review 74, no. 3 (May–June 1996): 125–133.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. Giving Birth to Ovia Health

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Julia Kelley

    In late 2016, Paris Wallace, the CEO of Ovia Health, and the rest of the company’s co-founders faced a difficult decision about the best way to grow Ovia Health’s revenue. Founded in 2012, Ovia Health specialized in mobile and web applications in the women’s health space. After building a strong user base with its original app (Ovia Fertility, which helped women conceive by tracking ovulation and other factors), the young company launched a second app, Ovia Pregnancy, which helped women have a healthy pregnancy by tracking various health metrics. Ovia Health’s apps were free to use, and most of the company’s revenue came from charging advertisers to host ads on its native advertising platform. Wallace believed that the family benefits market was a promising growth area, but he was not sure of the best way to enter the market. Recently, a top health benefits provider had offered Ovia Health a multi-million-dollar contract, but Wallace wondered whether Ovia Health could create a better family benefits solution by turning down the contract and selling directly to employers’ HR departments. Participants will need to examine how Ovia Health evolved its strategy over time and decide which growth opportunity was the better choice.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Julia Kelley. "Giving Birth to Ovia Health." Harvard Business School Case 818-004, January 2018. (Revised February 2018.)  View Details
  2. ZappRx

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Olivia Hull

    In October 2015, ZappRx founder Zoe Barry is deciding between two business models for her health technology start-up. Her product, a software application that aims to expedite the prescription fulfillment process for patients with rare diseases, has attracted interest from specialty drug manufacturers who wish to build an exclusive platform for patients taking their medications. But Barry, against the advice of her management team, is considering an alternative business model, which would open the platform up to all manufacturers in a given disease area. Instead of financing product development through individual contracts, the comprehensive platform would be free to doctors and pharma alike and financed via an aggressive fundraising strategy and through the sale of the prescription data collected on the app. Barry is willing to take the risk, but her management team is staunchly opposed. Which path should ZappRx take? The case is a window into the early go-to-market and business model decisions that an entrepreneur must make, in this case in the face of pushback from her own management team. The case also provides a detailed picture of the specialty pharmaceutical industry and challenges students to think about target customer identification and talent management in a start-up environment.

    Keywords: Speciality Drugs; Hub Services; business model; Pivot; Speciality Prescriptions; Health Care and Treatment; Customization and Personalization; Online Technology; Business Model; Decision Choices and Conditions; Pharmaceutical Industry; Massachusetts;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Olivia Hull. "ZappRx." Harvard Business School Case 818-001, January 2018. (Revised March 2018.)  View Details
  3. Continuous Software Development: Agile’s Successor

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang, Samuel Clemens and Olivia Hull

    In recent years, the twin software development methodologies of continuous delivery and continuous deployment have risen to prominence in the start-up world and beyond. These methods have enabled technology companies large and small to accelerate their product development pipelines and reshape their relationships with customers. Drawing on academic research and interviews with practitioners, this note explores the evolution of iterative approaches to software development, describes the mechanics of continuous development, and assesses the business benefits and challenges of rapid software testing and release.

    Keywords: continuous improvement; continuous development; continuous delivery; continuous integration; product development processes; product development; computer programming; Agile; waterfall; software applications; software engineering; Software; Technology; Technological Innovation; Customer Focus and Relationships; Entrepreneurship; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Quality; Product Marketing; Product; Infrastructure; Computer Industry; Technology Industry; Information Technology Industry; Web Services Industry; Massachusetts; Boston;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., Samuel Clemens, and Olivia Hull. "Continuous Software Development: Agile’s Successor." Harvard Business School Background Note 818-055, January 2018.  View Details
  4. Delivering the Goods at Shippo

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang, Jeffrey F. Rayport and Olivia Hull

    Laura Behrens Wu, CEO of software start-up Shippo, prepares her pitch for a Series A funding round following a successful seed round. Customer adoption of Shippo’s e-commerce dashboard application, which allows small and medium retailers to compare delivery rates between shipping providers and print package labels, has been steady in the nine months since it went live. But traction with the firm’s developer friendly product, an API that allows large enterprise customers to automate their shipping needs, had initially been slow until one customer single handedly tripled the API label volume in late August. Now in November 2014, with nine months of runway remaining, Behrens Wu must decide where to direct the company’s limited resources. Should Shippo stay focused on the app while raising the next round of funding, pivot to an API-focused strategy, or pursue both products?

    Keywords: application program interface; API; API strategy; customer cohorts; churn; retention; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Business Startups; Transition; Customer Focus and Relationships; Technological Innovation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Valuation; Shipping Industry; Technology Industry; Retail Industry; San Francisco; California; United States;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., Jeffrey F. Rayport, and Olivia Hull. "Delivering the Goods at Shippo." Harvard Business School Case 817-065, January 2017. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  5. Classtivity: Payal's Pirouette

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Olivia Hull

    A few months after launching a new fitness technology product, the small staff of New York startup Classtivity gathers on a Saturday in April 2013 to take stock. With one successful pivot under its belt, Classtivity is finally generating revenue and enthusiasm among customers. But cofounder and CEO Payal Kadakia has some doubts. There are signs that customers love the offering, but studios are less enthusiastic. Efforts to get customers to return to the studios after their monthly packs expire have largely failed. Kadakia must decide, preserve the product or pivot to a new business model?

    Keywords: product pivot; boutique fitness; fitness industry; market sizing; consumer technology; bundling; subscription model; two-sided marketplace; ClassPass; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Business Startups; Transition; Customer Focus and Relationships; Technological Innovation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Customer Value and Value Chain; Marketing Strategy; Failure; Business Strategy; Technology Industry; Health Industry; New York (city, NY);


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Olivia Hull. "Classtivity: Payal's Pirouette." Harvard Business School Case 817-002, January 2017. (Revised June 2017.)  View Details
  6. Bootstrapping at Lightricks

    Robert White, Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Christine Snively

    By August 2015, two-year-old mobile imaging software startup Lightricks had developed and released two best-selling paid mobile apps, grown to a team of 30, earned a revenue run rate of nearly $10 million, and achieved modest profitability. The bootstrapped company had explored raising funds, met with venture capital firms, and was presented with a term sheet. The cofounders believed the financing would allow them to scale up quicker, but they also worried about losing control of their company.

    Keywords: technology; internet; Business Startup; mobile technology; hardware; Online Advertising; Mobile Technology; Business Startups; Online Advertising; Technology Industry; Israel;


    White, Robert, Jeffrey J. Bussgang, and Christine Snively. "Bootstrapping at Lightricks." Harvard Business School Case 817-051, October 2016. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  7. Mattermark

    Jeffrey Bussgang and Annelena Lobb

    Mattermark, a software-as-a-service company that sold software allowing companies to access financial information about privately-held companies and startups, was at a turning point. CEO Danielle Morrill had to allocate investment funding from a Series A round. She needed to build up sales and marketing; she also wanted to invest in her product, which was already popular in the VC market but was increasingly gaining traction in other markets. Sales and marketing had struggled, meanwhile, after a failed hire of a head of sales from another company. Morrill had to clearly prioritize her financial and strategic decisions.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Software; Business Startups; Marketing; Strategy; Technology Industry; United States;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey, and Annelena Lobb. "Mattermark." Harvard Business School Case 816-073, February 2016. (Revised February 2017.)  View Details
  8. Jibo: A Social Robot for the Home

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Christine Snively

    In January 2015, Jibo Inc. had completed a raise of $25.3 million in Series A financing after a successful 2014 crowdfunding campaign for preorders of Jibo, the first social robot for the home. Over 4,800 Jibo units were preordered, generating $2.6 million in sales. On one snowy morning in January, CEO Steve Chambers met with co-founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Cynthia Breazeal and newly hired VP of Consumer & Development Relations Lynda Smith to prepare for their first meeting with the board. The team planned to discuss Jibo's business development strategy and considered how best to engage with the developer community to expand Jibo's portfolio of capabilities. How could the team best attract third-party developers to create Jibo Skills (apps) for this new platform that would not ship until 2016? Should the team develop a full set of Jibo Skills in-house? The team also hoped to establish partnerships with large content providers. How could they convince potential partners that Jibo was a worthwhile investment?

    Keywords: business development; Entrepreneurship; Software; Hardware; Business Startups; Technology Industry;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Christine Snively. "Jibo: A Social Robot for the Home." Harvard Business School Case 816-003, December 2015. (Revised May 2016.)  View Details
  9. Codecademy: Monetizing a Movement?

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Lisa Mazzanti

    This is a Teaching Plan for the case on Codecademy, an open-platform, online community for learning computer programming, launched in 2011. By 2014, the company had raised a total of $12.5 million in funding and was, on many fronts, an overwhelming success. However, there were still no revenues. The founders decided it was time to experiment with different monetization strategies before deciding on a way forward. Although they wanted to avoid being prematurely pressured into decisions that went against their open-platform philosophy, they also knew that in order to fulfill their mission to democratize education, they had to eventually build a revenue-generating business. But what business model should they pursue, and what monetization experiments should they run?

    Keywords: Business Model; Online Technology; Open Source Distribution; Social Entrepreneurship; Education;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Lisa Mazzanti. "Codecademy: Monetizing a Movement?" Harvard Business School Teaching Plan 815-117, April 2015.  View Details
  10. Codecademy: Monetizing a Movement?

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Lisa C. Mazzanti

    Codecademy, an open-platform, online community for learning computer programming, launched in 2011. By 2014, the company had raised a total of $12.5 million in funding and was, on many fronts, an overwhelming success. However, there were still no revenues. The founders decided it was time to experiment with different monetization strategies before deciding on a way forward. Although they wanted to avoid being prematurely pressured into decisions that went against their open-platform philosophy, they also knew that in order to fulfill their mission to democratize education, they had to eventually build a revenue-generating business. But what business model should they pursue and what monetization experiments should they run?

    Keywords: entrepreneurial management; startup management; technology; computer programming; coding; online education; monetization; online communities; marketplaces; Online Technology; Education; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy; Technology Industry; Education Industry;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Lisa C. Mazzanti. "Codecademy: Monetizing a Movement?" Harvard Business School Case 815-093, December 2014. (Revised October 2015.)  View Details
  11. Growth Hacking at Bazaart (B)

    Jeffrey Bussgang and Matthew G. Preble

    "Growth Hacking at Bazaart (B)" provides a brief update of what has transpired at Bazaart since the timing of "Growth Hacking at Bazaart (A)".

    Keywords: Growth hacking; customer acquisition; startup marketing; startup nation; Business Startups; Social Marketing; Marketing; Growth and Development; Customers; Fashion Industry; Technology Industry; Israel;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey, and Matthew G. Preble. "Growth Hacking at Bazaart (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 815-077, December 2014. (Revised May 2015.)  View Details
  12. Growth Hacking at Bazaart (A)

    Jeffrey Bussgang and Matthew G. Preble

    The four founding members of Bazaart—a young Israeli company whose sole product was its eponymous mobile application (app) which allowed users to create collages from photographs and other images—face an important strategic decision in June 2014. Since its founding roughly two years earlier, the company had raised very little money from outside investors. Gili Golander, one of the founders and Bazaart's chief marketing officer, utilized a number of "growth hacking" techniques to generate downloads and build awareness at minimal cost. These techniques had proven successful and helped the firm reach 1 million downloads by June 2014.

    However the four founders debated whether to stay focused on growing Bazaart's user base and worry about driving revenue later, or try and monetize the app (by introducing in-app purchases, native advertising, or moving to a subscription model) and bring in some much needed revenue. Would growth hacking alone be enough to grow the company or should it utilize (and pay for) more traditional marketing? What approach would make the company more attractive to investors?

    Keywords: Growth hacking; customer acquisition; startup marketing; Startup; startup nation; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy; Customers; Marketing; Social Marketing; Fashion Industry; Technology Industry; Israel;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey, and Matthew G. Preble. "Growth Hacking at Bazaart (A)." Harvard Business School Case 815-001, December 2014. (Revised May 2015.)  View Details
  13. Yahoo: Both Sides of the Stamped Deal

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Lisa C. Mazzanti

    In 2012, Marissa Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo!, a tech giant with a tumultuous past. When Mayer tries to reinvigorate the company, she hires Jacqueline Reses, who has a private equity background, to head both human resources and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As part of Mayer's turnaround strategy, Reses looks to build a mobile technology product development team by executing an "acquisition-hire" (i.e., "acqui-hire") to acquire New York City-based start-up Stamped, a mobile application company launched by former Google employees, Robby Stein and Bart Stein. Without an M&A team that is fully staffed and before new acquisition processes have been formalized, Reses must decide whether acquiring Stamped is a wise strategy. The case also considers the perspective of Robby and Bart and explores if selling Stamped to Yahoo! and transitioning the Stamped team into Yahoo!'s mobile product development team is the right exit strategy for their start-up.

    Keywords: mobile app; acquisition-hire; human resources; entrepreneurship; exit strategy; start-up; Mobile Technology; Mergers and Acquisitions; Human Resources; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Product Development; Technology Industry; Sunnyvale; New York (city, NY);


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Lisa C. Mazzanti. "Yahoo: Both Sides of the Stamped Deal." Harvard Business School Case 814-051, January 2014. (Revised May 2015.)  View Details
  14. Raising Startup Capital

    Jeffrey Bussgang

    Entrepreneurs typically focus their full energies on business-building. But raising capital is a core part of building a valuable business. Developing expertise in raising capital is more than a necessary evil, it is a competitive weapon. Master it and you will be in a better position to make your company a massive success. But how do you finance a new venture? In this note, I will try to help answer this question by addressing the following topics:
    • Types of funding. The two major types of startup capital are equity funding and debt funding although there are a few hybrid flavors as well.
    • Sources of funding. These include venture capital firms, angel investors, crowd-funding, and accelerators/incubators.
    • What investors look for. Each source has a different funding process and set of criteria which you need to understand before seeking funding from that source.
    • The mechanics of equity funding. Seeking and securing funding involves setting amounts, agreeing to terms, and defining relationships.

    Keywords: fund raising; venture capital; venture capital term sheet; venture creation/development; venture investing; venture philanthropy; entrepreneurial finance; entrepreneurial management; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act; Non-equity financing; Convertible notes; convertible debt; debt financing; Raising Capital; National Venture Capital Association; venture capital firm compensation; crowdfunding; crowd-funding; Startup; start-up; startup management; Startups; angel investors; angels; accelerator; Venture Capital; Financing and Loans; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Financial Services Industry; United States;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey. "Raising Startup Capital." Harvard Business School Background Note 814-089, February 2014.  View Details
  15. Open English

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Lisa Mazzanti

    Open English, a Miami-based startup offering online English language learning services, had more than 30,000 active students across Latin America in 2012. The company had just closed a $43 million financing round in order to rapidly scale its service to the next level. Nicolette Moreno, Co-founder and Vice President of Product Development, felt that a substantial portion of the new funding was needed to rework Open English's platform to enable the additional growth. She was concerned that the company's learning platform (LP)—the core set of software systems used to deliver online lessons—was beginning to show its age. Although one path would be to shore up the LP's capacity incrementally to allow the company to sustain its momentum with minimal disruption, Nicolette felt it was just a matter of time before they had to tackle a complete rewrite of the platform. Although daunting to undertake, a rewrite would allow the company to grow beyond the current LP's capabilities and position them for future success. Nicolette needed to give the board a full sense of what she saw—was now really the right time for a complete rewrite of the LP? What were the risks? And how should she approach the effort?

    Keywords: technology strategy; product management; Startup; entrepreneurship; online learning; Technology Platform; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Technology Industry; Miami; Venezuela;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Lisa Mazzanti. "Open English." Harvard Business School Case 814-020, January 2014. (Revised May 2015.)  View Details
  16. Plastiq

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang, Gaurav Jain, Liroy Haddad, Luke Langford and Matt Noble

    The young CEO of a venture-backed startup needs to figure out his go to market strategy and the right profile for his first key sales hires. Should he develop partnerships with channels that would provide leverage or build out a direct sales force? And should the sales team be led by an experienced senior sales executive or a scrappy, mid-level sales manager?

    Keywords: payments; Sales; channels; Credit Cards; Credit Cards; Market Platforms; Selection and Staffing; Cost vs Benefits; Salesforce Management; Marketing Channels; Business Startups; Business Strategy;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., Gaurav Jain, Liroy Haddad, Luke Langford, and Matt Noble. "Plastiq." Harvard Business School Case 813-125, December 2012. (Revised December 2014.)  View Details
  17. BabbaCo

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Gaurav Jain

    Having just raised a Series B financing, the case protagonist is faced with a tough decision: should she "step on the gas" and scale the customer base, or continue focusing on fine-tuning the product and business model. The case describes the various marketing channels employed by the BabbaCo team (Search, Email, Social Media, Deal Sites, Affiliates, etc.), including the strategy and effectiveness for each. Readers can use this knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing efforts to date and determine whether they think the company is ready to scale those efforts or whether it is premature to do so.

    Keywords: subscription; marketing; scaling; product-market fit; online marketing; Customers; Decisions; Expansion; Marketing Channels; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Gaurav Jain. "BabbaCo." Harvard Business School Case 813-107, December 2012. (Revised April 2016.)  View Details
  18. The Business Development Manager

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang, Thomas R. Eisenmann, Sarah Dillard, Katharine Nevins and Puja Ramani

    Describes the role of business development (BD) managers in technology companies, detailing: 1) BD managers' key responsibilities at each step in the process of creating a partnership agreement; 2) how the nature of the BD function evolves as a technology startup matures; and 3) the attributes of effective BD managers.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; partnerships; High technology products; Technology; Business or Company Management; Partners and Partnerships; Management Skills; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy; Technology Industry;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., Thomas R. Eisenmann, Sarah Dillard, Katharine Nevins, and Puja Ramani. "The Business Development Manager." Harvard Business School Background Note 812-107, December 2011. (Revised March 2013.) (request a courtesy copy.)  View Details
  19. The Product Manager

    Jeffrey Bussgang, Thomas Eisenmann and Robert Go

    Describes the role of product manager (PM) in technology companies, detailing 1) PMs' responsibilities; 2) different ways to organize the product management function; 3) how PMs interact with other functions within technology companies (e.g., engineering, product marketing); 4) how the nature of the PM role varies depending on context (e.g., early- vs. late-stage startups, business- vs. engineering-driven cultures); and 5) the attributes of effective PMs.

    Keywords: Product Marketing; Product Development; Product Design;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey, Thomas Eisenmann, and Robert Go. "The Product Manager." Harvard Business School Background Note 812-105, December 2011. (Revised January 2015.) (request a courtesy copy.)  View Details
  20. foursquare

    Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Thomas R. Eisenmann, Jeffrey J. Bussgang and David Chen

    Co-founders of foursquare are deciding how to respond to competitive threats and scale up the organization. Foursquare was a location-based online service that allowed users to "check in" to a location using an application on a smartphone. Foursquare kept track of a user's check-ins, shared them with users' friends, and unlocked "Specials" that gave users discounts at nearby locations. Within a year and a half of its founding the company had 45 employees and over 5 million users and was valued in excess of $100 million. However, many competitors, including Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, developed competitive services requiring foursquare to respond.      

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Online Technology; Mobile Technology; Competitive Advantage; Web Services Industry; United States;


    Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Thomas R. Eisenmann, Jeffrey J. Bussgang, and David Chen. "foursquare." Harvard Business School Case 711-418, January 2010. (Revised March 2013.)  View Details
  21. Curt Schilling's Next Pitch

    Noam T. Wasserman, Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Rachel Gordon

    As his major-league pitching career was starting to wind down in 2006, baseball all-star Curt Schilling decided to become an entrepreneur. Looking to focus his tenacity and his passion for online role-playing games on a new challenge, he founded an online gaming venture, which later became known as 38 Studios. During the venture's first two years, he built a team of 70 people, including an executive team of business and industry veterans and learned key lessons about the challenges faced by industry-changing entrepreneurs. Wanting to self-fund the venture initially, and later finding it hard to raise outside money, he put a substantial percentage of his net worth on the line to build 38 Studios. Now he is facing a critical acquisition decision that could either double his problems or help solve them.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Business Startups; Decision Choices and Conditions; Entrepreneurship; Financing and Loans; Leadership; Personal Development and Career; Groups and Teams; Video Game Industry;


    Wasserman, Noam T., Jeffrey J. Bussgang, and Rachel Gordon. "Curt Schilling's Next Pitch." Harvard Business School Case 810-053, December 2009. (Revised June 2011.)  View Details
  22. Predictive Biosciences

    Thomas R. Eisenmann, Jeffrey J. Bussgang and David Kiron

    A small cancer diagnostics start-up is deciding whether to acquire a laboratory to make and sell its bladder cancer test or build its own manufacturing and sales team.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Factories, Labs, and Plants; Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Health Testing and Trials; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Development; Biotechnology Industry;


    Eisenmann, Thomas R., Jeffrey J. Bussgang, and David Kiron. "Predictive Biosciences." Harvard Business School Case 811-015, January 2011. (Revised March 2011.)  View Details
Book Chapters
  1. Entrepreneurship Reading: Partnering with Venture Capitalists

    Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Michael J. Roberts

    This reading takes a deep look at the venture capital (VC) industry in the United States. VCs have a unique perspective on opportunity evaluation, deal structure, new venture support, and exit strategy. Their work at all stages of the entrepreneurial life cycle offers many lessons to company founders, even those whose ventures are not backed by VCs. This Reading follows the chronological cycle of VC activity from the entrepreneur's vantage point: deal evaluation, deal pricing, structure and terms, working with VCs once the deal has been signed, and exit. The topics of deal pricing, structure, and terms are treated in particular depth through a detailed examination of a "term sheet"—the contract that sets out the terms of the VC financing. The reading also includes three interactive illustrations: "How Investor Expectations and Target Returns Drive Company Ownership," "A Payoff Curve," and "Sell or Hold?"

    Keywords: venture capital; entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Entrepreneurship;


    Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Michael J. Roberts. "Entrepreneurship Reading: Partnering with Venture Capitalists." Core Curriculum Readings Series. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing 8240, 2015.  View Details