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.
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 (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 (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 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.