Want a peek behind the scenes and hear the real story from people who have been there? Leading entrepreneurs candidly discuss the issues they faced, mistakes they made, and insights they gained while building their businesses. Want to dive deeper into theoretical and tactical issues? HBS faculty share deeper reflections and snippets of wisdom about specific topics.

Case Study

Running a Hardware Startup: Hind Hobeika on Staying Motivated Through Failure & Cultural Isolation

Hind Hobeika shares her insights on the founder's journey, including her decision to launch Instabeat as a solo-founder and staying motivated after manufacturing challenges caused her to miss delivering on a crowdfunding campaign. She reflects on manufacturing hurdles and other obstacles hardware startups face, as well as the difficulty navigating cultural differences and social isolation that she experienced as a young founder-CEO.

1:05:37 min view
Businessman, seated, discussing his decision to close his startup and start an investment firm.
Case Study

Sunil Nagaraj on “Failing Well” & Investing in Early-Stage Deep-Tech Ventures

Entrepreneur and investor Sunil Nagaraj reviews how and why he decided to close his first venture and "fail well," despite some encouraging signals. Learn the factors that influenced Nagaraj's decision of whether to remain afloat or close and the steps he took to exit, and his transition to investing. Now the founder and Managing Partner at Ubiquity Ventures, a seed-stage institutional venture capital firm, Nagaraj shares the criteria he uses for investing in "nerdy and early"—early-stage deep-tech—ventures. 

42:25 min view
Case Study

CEO Dulcie Madden on Navigating Cash Flow Shortages & Adversity while Raising Your Family & Team

How do you handle the more extreme lows on the founder's journey, that you couldn't predict, like an unexpected acquisition offer or being sued by a large manufacturer? Entrepreneur Dulcie Madden shares lessons she's learned growing her hardware startup, Rest Devices. Madden's story is compelling and unique. But her insights on founding team dynamics, marrying your business partner, being CEO while raising a family, leading a company through legal problems and cash flow shortages are useful to any entrepreneur.

36:13 min view
Two businessmen seated in chairs discussing unique challenges technical hardware startups face
Case Study

Rescale’s Joris Poort on Sales, Fundraising, Market Testing, Team-Building and Culture at Technical Hardware Startups

Rescale's Joris Poort shares the insights he gained starting and scaling a technical hardware startup, including identifying key metrics for SaaS businesses. He discusses the challenges that fundraising, B2B sales, and product testing pose for hardware startups and he reviews how the role of CEO evolves and the importance of establishing culture as you scale.

45:22 min view
Case Study

The Race to $1 Billion—How Rent the Runway Became a Unicorn

Rent the Runway co-founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss reflect on what they learned scaling their startup into a unicorn. Learn what they discovered about the importance of understanding market conditions, developing and testing your MVP, and unit economics when launching and scaling their venture.

15:41 min view
Two people, seated in chairs, discussing meditation for entrepreneurs
Case Study

Matthew Bellows on Mindfulness & Meditation for Entrepreneurs

Can regular meditation strengthen leadership abilities, enhance decision-making, and increase innovation? In an informal conversation with Shikhar Ghosh, serial entrepreneur Matthew Bellows discusses how mindfulness can benefit entrepreneurs at any stage. Bellows has spent decades building and scaling three startups while cultivating a meditation practice.

39:11 min view
Case Study

Sunil Nagaraj on Starting, Pivoting & Exiting

Sunil Nagaraj reflects on leadership lessons he learned while starting his first venture, Triangulate. He shares his insights on starting a venture, choosing a co-founder, formalizing a founders' agreement, changing directions, and exiting.

40:00 min view
Case Study

Sanchali Pal’s Journey Founding & Growing a Mission-Driven Startup

Sanchali Pal, co-founder and CEO of Joro—a technology platform that enables users to track their carbon footprints on their smartphones and make choices that positively impact climate change— engages in an informal discussion with Shikhar Ghosh about her decision to found and build a social impact startup. She shares insights she gained on raising capital and adapting to the constantly evolving role of CEO at a growing early-stage company.

29:48 min view
Case Study

Sunil Nagaraj on the Mindsets of Entrepreneurs & Investors

Sunil Nagaraj, founding partner of Ubiquity Ventures and co-founder of Triangulate, reviews the key differences between the mindsets of entrepreneurs and investors. And he shares tips to help founders better understand their investors' mindsets and help them succeed.

14:24 min view
Two people seated in chairs, discussing the challenges CEOs of rapidly scaling startups face
Case Study

Careem’s Mudassir Sheikha on Co-Founders, Establishing Culture & Balancing Family at a Rapidly Scaling Startup

Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO at Careem, reflects on leadership lessons he learned while scaling Careem into a unicorn almost overnight. Learn how having a company-wide culture helped Careem thrive during the chaos of meteoric growth and why Sheikha believes that disseminating culture and hiring the right people is one of the most important jobs the CEO can do while scaling.

53:46 min view