01 Dec 2018

Ready, Set, Launch

Scaling entrepreneurial organizations


Photo by Russ Campbell

The bad news for aspiring entrepreneurs is that a huge majority of startups will never succeed—as many as three out of four will fail, according to some estimates. The reason is not because they can’t build the product they envisioned. Rather, it’s because they build the wrong product from the outset, then they waste important resources trying to sell it, says Professor Tom Eisenmann, faculty co-chair of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. “It takes a lot of time, time equals money, the money runs out, and the startup fails painfully,” he says.

Students in the MBA elective course Launching Technology Ventures explore an alternative path, one designed to sidestep many of the missteps: the lean startup methodology. The idea is to launch as quickly as possible with a minimum viable product (MVP). With only the barest minimum of features, MVP allows early customers to provide critical feedback about the features they do want—and reduces the possibility that the startup will waste time developing features no one wants. Based on this feedback, a startup can then decide to adjust or abandon a concept or, if it’s striking a chord with customers, they can speed to market with a product that they know will resonate.


Photo courtesy of Eric Grosse

“Starting a new company is the ultimate test of passion, determination, and persistence. Passion is an especially important energy source to get you through the rough and tumble early days when so much is at stake, such as honing the core concept and attracting a founding team, investors, press, and industry supporters. If you’re not really, really, really into your idea, no one else will be either.”
Eric Grosse (MBA 1995), serial entrepreneur, CEO and Co-Founder, Chairish


Photo by Ann Hermes

“I can join a team working on an exciting idea or I can identify a problem that needs solving and develop the solution myself. Ultimately, I want to take the plunge and start my own company.”
Jeremy Sasson (MBA 2018)

Startup Bootcamp

Photo by Stu Rosner

An intensive, immersive, weeklong program for first-year MBA students, Bootcamp uses a learning-bydoing approach to build skills required to succeed as an early stage entrepreneur. Topics include problem and solution finding, business model design and validation, marketing and sales, and seed finance.

“Lean start-ups don’t try to scale up the business until they have product market fit—a magical event—a solution that matches the problem,” Eisenmann says. “And after you have that solution, you can step on the gas pedal.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1995, Section A
follow @ericgrosse5
Class of MBA 2018, Section B

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