Founder's Journey provides relevant content about the *people* side of building a venture. Entrepreneurs, leaders, employees, investors, or advisors working in entrepreneurial environments can benefit from this content.

Today, information about entrepreneurship is widely accessible online. Still, 75% of all startups fail, for various reasons. In 2018, HBS Dean Nitin Nohria asked Shikhar Ghosh to develop and lead a new online platform that hosted content to help entrepreneurs succeed. A serial entrepreneur, investor, and advisor to hundreds of founders, Shikhar has unique observations and practical expertise. For years, he taught the popular elective course “Founder’s Journey,” which he revamped and revised from the cornerstone elective course the “Founder’s Dilemma”

The course explores common challenges and situations that most entrepreneurs encounter while growing a venture, creating value, scaling, and eventually exiting the business, such as how do you assemble, motivate, and lead a team through a series of unknown circumstances? How do you balance big ambitions with limited resources? Building on the premise of the course, this site dive into what happened behind-the-scenes at successful companies as well as companies that are struggling or those that failed. “Founder’s Journey” provides entrepreneurs with helpful frameworks and tactics to apply while building their businesses. We share practical tools for addressing the interpersonal situations that most entrepreneurs face. 

Shikhar recruited a small team to create content and operate a pilot project, “HBS Accelerate” (2018-2020). We quickly discovered that a deep need exists for well-structured entrepreneurial content from a trusted source. Entrepreneurs seeking advice are flooded with content options and opinions. But, too often, readily available content is unstructured, anecdotal, contradictory, and unproven. The need for reliable, trusted information is particularly acute in areas that do not have a well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystem. This site combines select material from “HBS Accelerate” and the course “Founder’s Journey” project to make some of HBS’s intellectual assets available and accessible to those who need them. It offers insights, relevant tips, and reflections from founders, investors, educators, and operators.

We hope to share HBS’s deep knowledge and expertise in entrepreneurship beyond the HBS audience.


Shikhar Ghosh | Founder’s Journey Fall 2020

Professor of Management Practice, TEM,  Course Head, Founder’s Journey, and Co-Chair of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship

Shikhar Ghosh is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, business advisor, and educator. As Professor of Management Practice and Faculty Co-Chair of the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship he advises hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs and established businesses. He has founded or served as CEO of eight tech-based companies, including Open Market, which pioneered the first commercial infrastructure for enabling secure commerce on the Internet. Named one of the “Best Entrepreneurs in the US,” by Businessweek and one of the “Masters of the Internet Universe” by Fortune, Ghosh has led some most innovative tech-based companies in the US.

Having repeatedly witnessed common mistakes most startups make, he saw a widespread need for well-structured and reliable content to help prepare entrepreneurs for real-life situations. He reconceptualized the course “Founders’ Dilemmas” into the “Founder’s Journey” to better prepare aspiring entrepreneurs facing ongoing uncertainty with limited resources.

Professor Ghosh has expertise in all facets of the entrepreneurial process: starting companies with technical teams, providing and raising capital with venture capitalists, buying and selling companies, or taking them public and closing down unsuccessful companies. Now, as a core faculty member of HBS’s The Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, Ghosh shares his expertise with emerging entrepreneurs. In addition to teaching at HBS, Ghosh has delivered keynotes at numerous conferences on innovation, entrepreneurship, digital media, and the future of the Internet. He has served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MTLC) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), two leading entrepreneurial organizations.


woman standing in front of a large glass window

Marilyn Morgan Westner  

HBS Research Associate
Co-Founder and Head of Content Creation & Learning Design, HBS Accelerate Team

Marilyn Morgan Westner is a learning designer, writer, and educator with a passion for academic startups. She worked with Shikhar Ghosh to conceptualize, create, and iterate the content produced for HBS Accelerate, an online entrepreneurship project that HBS operated from 2018-2020.



Matt Fischer

Matt Fischer

Co-Founder and Head of Product, HBS Accelerate Team

Matt Fischer (HBS MBA, Class of 2017) is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup advisor. He brainstormed, tested, and refined HBS Accelerate from an idea into a platform. Now Managing Partner at EF Capital and COO at ConstructTech, he continues to serve as Consultant for New Business at HBS.


Dave Anderson

Head of  Product, HBS Accelerate

Dave Anderson (HBS MBA, Class of 2019) is an engineer, entrepreneur, and investor passionate about technology. He joined the HBS Accelerate team in its second year and was instrumental in shaping and refining the platform into a viable site. Dave is currently on the investment team at Toyota AI Ventures where he invests in Seed to Series A companies in AI and robotics.




Susan Backus 

HBS Senior Faculty Support Specialist

Susan Backus is a Senior Faculty Support Specialist in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. She has provided invaluable assistance to Founder’s Journey since Shikhar Ghosh reconceptualized the course from Founders’ Dilemmas to the Founder’s Journey. She also assists professors Shikhar Ghosh, Josh Krieger, Ray Kluender, Christopher Stanton.