26 Jan 2018

Harvard Business School Announces RISE Program to Help Alumni Entrepreneurs Scale Ventures


BOSTON—Most new ventures fail. Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship aims to change that outcome for the better for its alumni entrepreneurs with the launch this week of its Rise Program. The Rock Center Rise Program will help HBS graduates in New York City accelerate the growth of their new enterprises.

Among other benefits, the program will help entrepreneurs navigate through the challenges of building culture, hiring employees, developing leadership skills, managing boards, raising funds, optimizing sales and marketing channels, and growing from a handful of employees to hundreds. Participants in the program must have raised a minimum of $1 million in funding, and their company must be revenue generating.

“There is considerable anecdotal evidence regarding how to scale, but resulting advice does not apply across all companies equally,” said Professor Thomas Eisenmann, Faculty Chair of the Rock Center. “In the RISE program, HBS faculty members, alongside seasoned entrepreneurs, will convey best practices and frameworks to help entrepreneurs address startup challenges that can make or break a company. The program has been developed to leverage extensive faculty research on what it takes to successfully scale an enterprise.”

Added Jodi Gernon, Director of the Rock Center, “RISE will provide a focused approach for founders to learn from faculty and peers, discuss issues around scaling, and be inspired. Each session will consist of curated content led by our faculty and successful alumni entrepreneurs and investors. At the end of each session, the Rock Center will host a roundtable discussion, where founders can candidly discuss their challenges or offer guidance and advice to peers. With this program, founders will be better equipped to handle the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship.”

The first RISE cohort includes the following HBS alumni founders:

Borrowell helps consumers make decisions about credit.
Founder: Andrew Graham (MBA 2008).

Gamer Sensei is an esports/video-game coaching and mastery platform. .
Founders: Rohan Gopaldas (MBA 2011) and William Collis,(MBA 2011).

IVY is a lifelong-learning community uniting rising leaders through transformative experiences. .
Founder: Beri Meric (MBA 2010).

Orchard Mile is a direct-to-consumer brand marketplace that represents the online and often offline presence of 130 best-in-class brands, with a major focus on personalization. .
Founder: Jennie Baik (MBA 2008).

Rubicon MD is a platform that allows primary care providers to access econsults or clinical advice from top medical specialists in over 130 different specialties within 24 hours to improve patient care. .
Founders: Gil Addo (MBA 2011) and Carlos Reines (MBA 2014).

Show Score is like Rotten Tomatoes for theater—lists of all the shows, reviews, and prices in one website. .
Founder: Tom Melcher (MBA 1989) .

The Plunge is a wedding planner tool for grooms.
Founder: Alex Dulac (MBA 2007).

Trendalytics provides predictive analytics for consumer products.
Founder: Karen Moon (MBA 2008).

Walden Local is New England's leading direct-to-consumer brand of locally raised 100 percent grass-fed beef and other pasture-raised meats.
Founders: Charley Cummings (MBA 2011) and Philip Giampietro (MBA 2011).


Jim Aisner


The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was created through the generosity of prominent venture capitalist Arthur Rock (MBA 1951), who donated $25 million to Harvard Business School in 2003 to support the entrepreneurship faculty and their research, fellowships for MBA and doctoral students, symposia and conferences, and outreach efforts to extend the impact of the School's extensive work in this field. HBS offered the country's first business school course in entrepreneurship in 1947; today, more than 50 percent of our alumni, 10 to 15 years after graduation, describe themselves as entrepreneurs, creating ventures in a quest to change the world. The Rock Center also works closely with the HBS California Research Center in Silicon Valley on entrepreneurship-related research and course development efforts.


Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and HBX, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.