Founder Central

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people – cofounders, employees, investors, and board members – are vital to long-term success. Despite the significance of these decisions, founders often operate without the benefit of a roadmap to help guide what matters most and soonest: when specific decisions should be made, which options to consider, and what long-term consequences can be anticipated. It’s well-known that “people problems” represent the biggest reason (by far) for the high failure rate of high-potential startups. Less well-known are the ways in which founders can navigate or mitigate the negative impact of these problems, which can include founding team break-up, slowed startup growth, and founder replacement.

Founder Central’s mission is to create and disseminate knowledge about the most important early decisions faced by founders and the other people who help build startups. The goal: to build a research-driven roadmap that helps founders understand, through deep consideration of historical and current entrepreneurship, how to make more effective, more ethical decisions. We are committed to research and educational efforts that clarify how:

  • entrepreneurs learn from experience and generalize acquired knowledge to future ventures.
  • first-time entrepreneurs differ from serial entrepreneurs.
  • events in our social environment motivate social and economic decision-making.

Founder Central’s work is shared in several ways: through courses on campus at USC (Founder’s Dilemmas, Entrepreneurial Imagination), angel investors and founder bootcamps; and a national research symposium that brings together academics with shared interests.