Founder Bootcamp

“The Founder Bootcamp confronts entrepreneurs with some of the most important, yet least discussed aspects of starting a business. Questions concerning one’s fundamental values and aspirations around founding a company, such as maintain control vs. maximizing wealth, are discussed among fellow founders in an honest, playful forum. Professor Wasserman conducts the Bootcamp’s discussions masterfully – finding just the right mix of real world anecdotes, statistical insight, and personal stories. Each session is customized around the founders in attendance, making the sessions all the more engaging for everyone involved.” - Charles Ligety, founder-CEO of Very Engaging


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.


Noam Wasserman

Prof. Noam Wasserman is the founding director of Founder Central. Prof. Wasserman was an award-winning professor at Harvard Business School for 13 years before coming to USC to start and build Founder Central.

He is the author of a bestselling book, The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, that was a #1 Management bestseller and has now spent more than 4 years on Amazon's top-ten bestseller list for Strategy & Competition and related topics.

Noam developed an award-winning entrepreneurship course, Founder's Dilemmas. During its 7 years at Harvard Business School, the course was the highest-rated entrepreneurship course in the school, with Prof. Wasserman winning HBS's teaching award for its elective curriculum.

When Noam taught Founder’s Dilemmas as a visiting professor at Stanford Engineering, he received the highest teaching rating in the engineering school, and when he taught it at Columbia Business School, he likewise received a perfect teaching rating. The course was named one of the 10 best entrepreneurship courses in the country by Inc. magazine (the only "top course" that focused on people issues), won the Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy award from the Academy of Management, and (along with the book) won the Academy of Management's Impact on Practice award.

The course will form the core of the Founder Bootcamp.


Part 1: Pre-Founding, Founding Team Dilemmas

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

Part 2: Accelerating and Exiting: Investors and Successors

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

Timing and Location

April 18th, 2018
Cedars-Sinai Innovation Space (Directions will be emailed to you if you are admitted)

For more information, please email Prof. Noam Wasserman at

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