External Education: Bootcamps and Events

The goal of Founder Central’s external-education activities is to help startups with great ideas anticipate and avoid the pitfalls that could prevent their ideas from impacting the world.


To bring the Founder’s Dilemmas lessons to the people who can most benefit from them, Founder Central will conduct intensive bootcamps for key players in building startups. Bootcamps will feature interactive talks, experiential exercises, panel discussions with experienced founders and investors, and appearances by case protagonists in person or via video.

Founder Bootcamps

What characteristics increase the likelihood that a founding team will be effective and stable?

How can I anticipate and avoid the pitfalls that tend to sink high-potential startups?

What leads to a founder being replaced as CEO of his or her startup?

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people – cofounders, employees, investors, and board members – are vital to the founders' and startups' long-term success. Yet these decisions are often made without the benefit of a roadmap of the most important early decisions, when these decisions should be made, which options to consider, and the likely long-term consequences of those decisions.

As a result, preventable people problems are the biggest reason (by far) for the high failure rate of high-potential startups. Without a solid roadmap, founders are at an increased risk of making poor people decisions and thus increasing the chances that the founding team will splinter, growth will be harmed, or the founder will be replaced as CEO. In contrast, with a solid roadmap, founding teams can increase their stability and achieve better growth.

The Founder Bootcamp provides this roadmap for founders and potential founders.


Part 1: Pre-Founding, Founding Team Dilemmas

> Preparing Yourself to Found
> Relationship Dilemmas
> Roles and Decision Making Dilemmas
> Rewards Dilemmas

Lunch: Venture Capital & Founder Panel

Part 2: Accelerating and Exiting: Investors and Successors

> Financing Dilemmas
> Time Permitting: Founding and Building a Board of Directors
> Founder-CEO Succession
> Tradeoffs: The Throne vs. the Kingdom

We are not currently accepting applications for Founder Bootcamp.

Angel Bootcamps

Founder Central Angel Bootcamps are targeted at investors and advisors who help fund and guide startups. This bootcamp is presented annually in conjunction with Techstars LA. It covers the evaluation of founders and founding teams (taught by Prof. Wasserman) and the legal and financial issues faced by angel investors (taught by Techstars experts).

We are not currently accepting applications for Angel Bootcamp.



Founder Central hosts an annual Symposium exploring different facets of entrepreneurship teaching and research. In 2019, a group of faculty with expertise and interest in Entrepreneurial History convened at the Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. In 2018, a symposium focused on Founder’s Dilemmas was held at the Academy of Management meeting in Chicago, to exchange ideas on materials for the classroom experience, lessons learned about how to tackle entrepreneurship teaching challenges, favorite experiential exercises, recent research on founders that pertains to the classroom, and other relevant topics.


Founder Central Forums

As valuable as the one-day Founder Central Bootcamp is for founders, they yearn for lasting connectivity to the Founder Central community. Thus was born Founder Central Forums – in-person peer groups for Founder Bootcamp alums.

Our primary goal with the Forums is to foster casual, welcoming groups where founders can share advice, seek feedback, and receive support within (and beyond) the context of the lessons learned during our Founder Bootcamps. These groups may also facilitate expanded networks for recruiting, fundraising, and business development, but this is really about community.

For more information, please email Dr. Elissa Grossman at