Master Class Founders’ Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

12 May 2015

This two-day class examines the early, often difficult, decisions that have important long-term consequences for founders and their ventures. 

Potential consequences include losing control of the venture, dissolving the founding team due to tensions between founders, and imperiling the venture’s financial gains despite the hard work and innovative ideas that were invested.

The Master Class will focus on “people” issues (i.e., the key challenges faced when deciding when and how to involve other people) and emphasize high-potential ventures, mostly in high-tech industries.

The first day will focus on the core decisions that go into Building the Team: Cofounders and Hires – Should I be a solo founder, or should I try to attract co-founders? If I attract co-founders, who should they be (e.g., friends, family, former colleagues, or strangers?); how should we split the roles and decision making; and, how should we split the equity?

On the second day, the class will focus on Accelerating and Exiting: Investors and Successors – What are the tradeoffs involved in attracting outside money and talent? How will my decisions affect my ability to keep control of my venture and also build its value? How should my motivations for becoming a founder affect the choices I make?

Who should attend?

This Climate-KIC Master Class is open to stage 2 and stage 3 start-ups who are following the Climate-KIC Acceleration Programme.The Master Class will focus on gearing participants with the essential knowledge, skills and tools to successfully build a team and attracting outside money and talent.


Please register individually for this Master class. You can register here.

Tuition Fee

Climate-KIC start-ups have free access to this Master Class. Travel costs will be reimbursed by Climate-KIC up to 200 euros per person. All participants have to pay and arrange their own accommodation. Please note that there is a 500 euro no-show fine for this Master Class. Please read the full Code of conduct.

For companies not following the Climate-KIC Acceleration Programme, the tuition fee for this Master Class is 1500 euros per person. Please wait with arranging your travels should until you have received your official confirmation of participation per email.


The event will take place in London, UK. Detailed information about the venue, hotels and route description will be provided upon confirmation of your participation.

Led by Noam Wasserman

Noam Wasserman is a professor at Harvard Business School.  For more than a decade, his research has focused on founders’ early decisions that can make or break the startup and its team. His book, The Founders’ Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, was an Amazon #1 bestseller in New Business Enterprises and in Management, and was named one of the top 5 Business Books of the Year by the Academy of Management.  At HBS, he developed and teaches an MBA elective, “Founders’ Dilemmas,” for which he was awarded the HBS Faculty Teaching Award.  In 2011, the course was named one of the top entrepreneurship courses in the country by Inc. magazine.


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