A VC Spotlight: Jeff Bussgang

A VC Spotlight: Jeff Bussgang



Jeff Bussgang is someone whom you might call an entrepreneurial expert. Before joining Flybridge Capital Partners as a general partner in 2003, he was an entrepreneur himself. He co-founded Upromise, which is a cashback organization for students to earn money for tuition and loan repayment. He also teaches a class on entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. If you’re still not convinced, he is also a published author, and his book, Mastering the VC Game, has received excellent reviews from The Boston Globe and Young Entrepreneur, to name just two.

Before his days at Upromise, Bussgang served as an executive at Open Market, which was a leader in Internet commerce software in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Boston Consulting Group also had Bussgang on its roster before he moved on to Open Market.

Bussgang has a bachelor’s in computer science from Harvard (magna cum laude) and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School (Baker Scholar, Ford Scholar).

Bussgang is also involved in his community, holding various board positions with The Alliance for Business Leadership, Facing History and Ourselves, Council for Innovation, Economic Development Council and the Readiness Finance Commission.

VC Firm:

General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners (founded in 2001)

Sector Focus:

Consumer, Internet commerce, marketing and financial services, software, SaaS, mobile start-ups

Previous Investments:

Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M for $95 million)
BzzAgent (acquired by Tesco for $60 million)
oneforty (acquired by Hubspot)
PanGo Networks (merged with InnerWireless)
Ready Financial (merged with AccountNow)
Transpera (acquired by Tremor Video)


Cartera Commerce
ZestFinance (board observer)

Blog, Twitter and Websites:


Expertise Areas:

Consumer Internet, financial services, mobile, SaaS

Memorable Quotes:

On what happens to the “other” founder: “The challenge for the other founder is that as a startup evolves from ‘the jungle’ (super early stages, chaotic organization, prior to achieving product-market fit) to the ‘dirt road’ (developing some organizational maturity and initial product market fit), senior functional executives often get hired from the outside to take over departments.  These executives naturally encroach on the other founder’s responsibilities.”

On B2B models: “Across our portfolio and in my own entrepreneurial experience, I have seen three main sales models work successfully in scaling B2B sales:  1) Enterprise; 2) Telephone; and 3) Developer-driven.”

On go to market strategies: “The magic in developing a go to market strategy is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

On productivity: “Those of us that are immersed in the innovation economy may find this hard to believe, but we are not, as a whole, actually more productive when we are in the midst of an innovation cycle boom.  New technologies take time to absorb, refine and make mainstream.  Computer software can be reprogrammed quickly.  Humans can’t.”

About the author: Emily Haile

Emily recently graduated from Tennessee Tech University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in public relations and digital media. She was a writer and photographer for the school’s student-run magazine, Eagle Eye, and newspaper, The Oracle. She was also the copy editor for both. She is currently a copy editing intern for AlleyWatch.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.