Research Activities

CompStudy - Unique Founder Dataset

The core of the initiative’s initial research effort is the “CompStudy” dataset collected over the last 15 years by Prof. Wasserman. The dataset includes more than 15,000 founders and 30,000 total startup executives, making it the largest dataset of its kind.

CompStudy has become the standard source of startup compensation data across the U.S., used by boards and CEOs to make decisions about founder and senior-executive compensation across the high-technology and life-sciences industries.  The data also formed the quantitative backbone of Prof. Wasserman’s book.

The research activities also include case-writing projects and other field/qualitative efforts to document, analyze, and understand founders and the early decisions they make as they build their startups.


LinkedIn + CompStudy Dataset

In collaboration with professors from four USC departments, Founder Central signed an agreement with LinkedIn to merge LinkedIn’s data with Founder Central’s CompStudy dataset of more than 20,000 founders.  Founder Central’s Andrew Marder is working with Professor Wasserman to merge the data so we can study questions about the best career paths for founders and early hires, about how founders build their social networks and coalesce their teams, and other questions.


Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Founder Central has begun discussions with Technion, the premiere science and technology research university in Israel (and among the world’s top-10), to collaborate on an initial research survey of 100 entrepreneurs/founders in Israel. The survey will be based on Prof. Wasserman’s well-established CompStudy survey, with modifications for the Israeli market. Funded by the Technion, the resulting data will be jointly owned by Founder Central and the Technion.


Making History: Entrepreneurship in the Past, Present and Future

The Founder Central team continues to develop the entrepreneurial history course, Making History: Entrepreneurship in the Past, Present and Future, which will introduce students to the major waves of change that open and foreclose entrepreneurial opportunities, the thinkers and doers that have helped shape the entrepreneurial engine of the market economy, and the actionable ways in which founders can apply historical knowledge and thinking to their startups.