Jeff Bussgang, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and educator at Harvard Business School, offers advice on how to stand out to an investor, how to know when you need venture capital funding, and what to watch out for when negotiating your deal.
Before I became a VC I used to be an entrepreneur. I cofounded a company called Upromise whose mission was to help families save money for college. We raised over $100 million and we helped family save $35 billion dollars towards college tuition. Before that, I was an executive at an internet commerce company called Open Market. We went public in the mid 90s and had a peak market capitalization of over $2 billion. Both of the companies that I was involved with were backed by venture capitalists, some of the best in the world, and I learned a tremendous amount from them. When I became a VC myself, I wanted to provide a lot of those lessons, the lessons that I learned as a startup entrepreneur, to new entrepreneurs and help them avoid the mistakes that I made, and there were many.
I’m Jeff Bussgang, General Partner at Flybridge Capital.
In addition to my work at Flybridge Capital, I also teach a class at Harvard Business School called “Launching Technology Ventures.” In my class are students who either want to start their own companies or join the next hot startup, and I try to help them with the practical tools on how to launch their technology ventures. The reason I love startups is I love working with people and seeing them grow. I love taking early ideas from the very beginning and seeing them become massive market opportunities and massively disruptive forces in an industry.
All the resources you could imagine are at your disposal to help accelerate what you’re trying to do.