The Startup Study


The “Great Transformation” is upon us, unfolding and expanding in remarkable and exciting ways that will revolutionize every aspect of business—innovation, market development, capital, global talent, and more. Indeed, nothing will be left untouched. Many of the coming disruptions will be driven—and accelerated—by a new and emerging class of entrepreneurs working right now in startup incubators, accelerators, and university entrepreneurship programs around the world. As such, there has never been a better time—or opportunity—to get to know them.

The Study

Join us in a groundbreaking five-year longitudinal study that follows these future leaders—a study that comprises a journey of strategic, if not existential, importance that will bring vital insights not only to the major trends shaping the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, but also shed light on their unconventional approaches and thinking with respect to:

  • Innovation, product development, and go-to-market strategies.
  • Challenges, competencies, and critical knowledge gaps.
  • Strengths, risks, and opportunities.
  • Capital, talent, partners, and other vital ecosystem components.
  • Missions, ideologies, worldviews, and demographics.
  • Failure modes, pivots, and key success factors.

Equally important, the Study delves into the entrepreneurial mindsets that are driving the exponential technologies they’re exploiting to transform our world over the next decade.

Follow these entrepreneurs from their early stages to growth while they work to balance a multi-trillion dollar wave of new investment in emerging technologies over the next decade against the radically disrupted jobs market that will attend it. Indeed, the new entrepreneurs are operating in an unprecedented milieu of massive opportunity, major economic impact, and regulatory uncertainty that will develop under their dynamic leadership and influence. The Startup Study reveals precisely what all business leaders need to know in order to successfully intersect and navigate the work of what will prove to be history’s most consequential generation of entrepreneurs.

Our Partners

The Startup Study Advisory Board with Expert Analysis and Commentary

Mark Cuban

Since the age of 12, Mark has been a natural businessman. Selling garbage bags door to door, the seed was planted early on for what would eventually become long-term success.

After graduating from Indiana University—where he briefly owned the most popular bar in town—Mark moved to Dallas. After a dispute with an employer who wanted him to clean instead of closing an important sale, Mark created MicroSolutions, a computer consulting service. He went on to later sell MicroSolutions in 1990 to CompuServe.

In 1995, Mark and long-time friend Todd Wagner came up with an internet-based solution to not being able to listen to Hoosiers Basketball games out in Texas. That solution was—streaming audio over the internet. In just four short years, (then Audionet) would be sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion dollars. Since his acquisition of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, he has overseen the Mavs competing in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2006—and becoming NBA World Champions in 2011. They are currently listed as one of Forbes’ most valuable franchises in sports. In addition to the Mavs, Mark is chairman and CEO of AXS tv, one of ABC’s “Sharks” on the hit show Shark Tank, and an investor in an ever-growing portfolio of businesses.

Naveen Jain

Naveen Jain is an entrepreneur driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges through innovation. He is the founder of several successful companies including Moon Express, Viome, Bluedot, TalentWise, Intelius, and InfoSpace.

Moon Express is the only company to have permission from the U.S. government to leave earth orbit and land on the moon with the goal to harvest planetary resources and to develop infrastructure to make humanity a multi-planetary society.

Viome is focused on disrupting healthcare with the goal of “making illness elective” by identifying microbial biomarkers that are predictive of chronic diseases and to adjust the microbial imbalance through personalized nutrition.

Naveen Jain a trustee of the board at the XPRIZE Foundation, where he is focused on using incentive prizes to find solution to many of the societal challenges. He recently launched a million-dollar Women Safety XPRIZE to empower the women around the world.

Naveen Jain is on the board of Singularity University, where he is focused on educating and inspiring leaders to address humanity’s grand challenges through innovative technologies.

Naveen Jain has been awarded many honors for his entrepreneurial successes and leadership skills, including “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Albert Einstein Technology Medal” for pioneers in technology, “Most Creative Person” by Fast Company,  “Humanitarian Innovation Award” at the United Nations, “Distinguished Global Thinker Award” by IILM, “Most Inspiring Entrepreneur” by Andaaz TV, “Most Admired Serial Entrepreneur” by Silicon India,  “Top 20 Entrepreneurs” and “Lifetime Achievement Award” for the leadership in the technology industry and support of other entrepreneurs by Red Herring.

Regina E. Dugan

Regina E. Dugan is an American business executive, engineer-artist, scientific coach, taskmaster, and product developer. She has designed and built world-class, international teams, and led hundred-million to multi-billion dollar efforts to deliver breakthrough products at Facebook, Google, Motorola, and as the 19th Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Dugan is known internationally for operational excellence, speed in execution, and motivational leadership. A recent FORTUNE article described her as one of the world’s leading experts on disruptive innovation, “the kind that unhinges old ways of operating, juices competition and creates new growth.” The NYTimes noted that Dugan is “credited with having a knack for inspiring, and indeed insisting on, creative thinking,” and for her unwavering approach to innovation that advances research and solves practical problems.

Most recently, Dugan served as VP of Engineering at Facebook, where she led Building 8, the team responsible for developing and shipping breakthrough products. In less than 2 years, Dugan assembled a world-class product development and shipping organization with six projects ranging from brain-computer interfaces to advanced haptics, and multiple product development activities. Building 8 combined ambitious research with rapid product development, technologies that blend physical and digital, and aggressive, fixed timelines to deliver consumer electronic products to market at scale.

From 2012 to 2016, Dugan led ATAP (the Advanced Technology and Projects team) at Google; served as a member of the senior leadership team at Google-owned Motorola Mobility. She led diverse product development efforts including modular electronics, novel authentication methods, and new forms of storytelling. ATAP shipped several products including the first-ever, 360-degree, interactive augmented reality short films. Dugan was executive producer for 9 shorts, winning 4 Annies, an Oscar nomination, and an Emmy.

Dugan served as the Director of DARPA from 2009 through 2012. With an annual budget of $3B, the Director is charged with execution of the Department’s most cutting-edge projects. During her tenure, the Agency advanced diverse products from synthetic biology to hypersonic vehicles. Recognized for her “roll-up-the-sleeves” fieldwork, Dugan has cleared landmines in Bosnia and Africa and, as Director, visited Afghanistan 5 times to catalyze the Agency’s first operational deployment since the Vietnam War. For ‘outstanding heroism during war’, the Agency received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, typically reserved for combat units. She was the first woman to lead the Agency.

Dugan is an experienced public speaker at events ranging from Code Conferences D9 and D11, World Maker Faire, PopTech, SXSW, FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit, the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, and the Washington Post summit on U.S. Competitiveness to TED where her 2012 talk was one of the top 10 trending Twitter topics worldwide.

Byron Reese

There are the people who hope the future will be better, then there are the people who reason the future will be better, Byron is the second variety. Both a futurist and optimist, Byron believes we are approaching a Fourth Age for humanity that promises to be infinitely better than anything we have seen before.

Byron’s newest book, “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity” has just been released by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. He is also the author of the award-winning “Infinite Progress: How Technology and the Internet Will End Ignorance, Disease, Hunger, Poverty, and War.”

In addition, Byron is the CEO and Publisher of Gigaom, one of the world’s leading technology research companies, produces and hosts  Gigaom’s podcasts Voices in AI and The AI Minute. and regularly contributes to Gigaom Publisher’s Corner. Byron leads the company in their mission to help business leaders understand the implications of emerging technologies and their impacts on business, media, and society.

Having served across a wide range of senior management roles, from CEO, to VP of Marketing, to Chief Innovation Officer at Demand Media, Byron possesses a diverse body of patented work, and enjoys talking about the intersection of technology, history and the future to both technical and non-technical audiences around the world. Byron brings his experience as a technologist, his passion for history, and his proven business acumen to illuminate how today’s technology can solve many of our biggest global challenges. As a lifelong entrepreneur with multiple IPOs and successful exits under his belt, Byron also frequently speaks to business audiences on how to excel in the world of tomorrow, and how to deploy technology successfully.

He states: “Technology multiplies human ability. That’s its trick. It magnifies us. We can move more bricks with a fork lift than we can on our back. Technological advancement is not to be feared, rather it should be welcomed, for by enhancing human ability, we enhance our productivity and therefore our standard of living. This is the entire reason why we live so much more lavish and prosperous lives than did our great grandparents. An hour of our time is vastly more productive than was an hour of theirs.”

Bloomberg Businessweek credits Byron with having “quietly pioneered a new breed of media company.” The Financial Times of London reported that he “is typical of the new wave of internet entrepreneurs out to turn the economics of the media industry on its head.”

Byron and his work have been featured in hundreds of news outlets, including New York Times, Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, NPR, and the LA Times Magazine.

Specialties: Entrepreneurship, executive leadership, product conception and creation, and an optimistic can-do, scrappy, “anything is possible” attitude. As a public speaker, Byron has addressed hundreds of corporations and professional organizations on almost every continent and reports that he is open to traveling to Antarctica to round it all out.

Peter S. Cohan

Peter Cohan is a teacher, management consultant, angel investor, blogger, and author. He is a Lecturer of Strategy at Babson College where he teaches undergraduate and MBA courses on strategy and entrepreneurship. He teaches Foundations of Entrepreneurial Management, Strategic Decision Making, Strategic Problem Solving, Strategy and the CEO, and Startup Strategy Offshore Electives to Hong Kong/Singapore, Israel, Spain/Portugal, and Paris. His strategy consulting practice has conducted over 150 projects for global technology companies seeking to identify, evaluate, and profit from growth opportunities. He has invested in seven startups—three of which were acquired for over $2 billion.

He most recently invested in San Francisco-based SoFi which was valued in March 2017 at $4.3 billion. He writes the Startup Economy column for Forbes and The Hungry Start-Up column for Inc. He is the author of 12 books including Hungry Start-Up Strategy: Creating New Ventures with Limited Resources and Unlimited Vision (2012) and Disciplined Growth Strategies: Insights from the Growth Trajectories of Successful and Unsuccessful Companies (2017).

His most recent book, Startup Cities, explains the success and failure of cities in nurturing startups, and provides advice on how to boost regional startup activity. Prof. Cohan earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Swarthmore College, did graduate work in Computer Science at MIT, and holds an MBA from The Wharton School.

Carl J. Schramm, Ph.D., J.D.

Carl Schramm, the man described by The Economist as “The Evangelist of Entrepreneurship,” is an internationally recognized leader in entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth. He served for a decade as president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Under his leadership, the Kauffman Foundation grew into a global institution, becoming the largest private funder of economic research related to growth and innovation.

In 2007 Schramm, in partnership with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, created Global Entrepreneurship Week, now observed in 170 countries. Dr. Schramm’s academic career began at Johns Hopkins, where he founded the nation’s first research center on healthcare finance. He has founded or co-founded five companies, including HCIA and Greenspring Advisors. Schramm also has served in major corporate roles including EVP of Fortis (now Assurant) and CEO of Fortis Healthcare. He has advised major corporations including Apple, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Hospital Corporation of America and numerous venture capital funds.

He currently serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mars, Inc. From 2009 to 2012 he served as a member of the Singapore Prime Minister’s Research, Innovation, and Enterprise Council.  He chaired the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy Advisory Committee and was a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a trustee of the Templeton World Charity Foundation; a founding member of the Board of the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Council, a U.N. recognized NGO; and is a member of the National Academies of Sciences’ Government- University-Industry Research Roundtable. He also serves on the advisory board of the Tusher Center for Intellectual Property at UC Berkeley. He has authored, coauthored, or edited several books including Better Capitalism; Good Capitalism/Bad Capitalism; Inside Real Innovation; The Entrepreneurial Imperative; and Controlling Healthcare Costs. Burn The Business Plan, was published in January 2018 by Simon & Schuster. His 2010 essay in Foreign Affairs initiated the field of expeditionary economics.

Schramm is a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia and has served as a visiting scientist at MIT. He was the inaugural Arthur & Carlyse Ciocca Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UC Davis in the academic years 2013 and 2014. Professor Schramm holds a Ph.D. in economics from Wisconsin where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow and a New York State Regents Graduate Fellow and earned his law degree at Georgetown. He held two consecutive Career Scientist Awards from NIH and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Medicine. He holds five honorary degrees and the University of Rochester’s George Eastman Medal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Michael Grabham

Mike Grabham by nature is a fearless leader and a naturally curious human. He is deeply involved in the Seattle startup ecosystem and is Chapter Director of Startup Grind in Seattle and Bellevue. He won the award of Chapter Director of the Year in 2016 chosen from 350+ chapters around the world in Startup Grind.

He is a six-time founder and is in relentless pursuit of knowing the customers better than any competitor. He recently invented a new product called Package Guard, to help stop package theft.  He is a “make it happen” person that drives growth, builds memorable products, memorable teams and believes you can have fun and get things done at the same time.  Yes you can do both! He has raised millions of dollars from angel investors over the past 20 years, sold two companies and failed. He is constantly learning from others, having conducted more than 100 interviews with great leaders at Startup Grind and Start IT Seattle on King 5 TV evening magazine.

He loves helping smart people change industries, studying consumer behaviors and searching for the perfect glass of wine. He and his wonderful wife started a nonprofit Survive the Streets 19 years ago, which helps the homeless in Seattle by providing a pop-up retail store each year on Thanksgiving Day. He received his MBA from Seattle University and has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics. His favorite quote is from Seneca (because he was a very smart guy), “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Be prepared, damn it.” Not sure he said that last part.

Jessica JackleyJessica Jackley

Jessica is an entrepreneur, investor, and speaker. Her work over the last decade has focused on financial inclusion, the sharing economy, and social justice. She is best known as a cofounder of Kiva, the world’s first p2p microlending website. Kiva lets internet users lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs, providing them affordable capital to start or expand a small business. Since its founding in October 2005 Kiva has facilitated over $1B in loans worldwide.

Jessica teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. She is a Venture Partner with SparkLabs Global Ventures, as well as an investor and advisor with the Collaborative Fund. She also recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, focusing on projects related to corporate citizenship, the sharing economy, and happiness. She continues to provide expertise in these areas as an independent consultant on social impact initiatives and more.

Earlier in her career, Jessica was a Cofounder and CEO of ProFounder, a pioneering crowdfunding platform for U.S. entrepreneurs. The company joined forces with GOOD Inc. in 2010 to create new tools and experiences for their community of creators. Jessica formerly served as a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, and also taught Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change at Drew University.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2011 World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, and serves as an active board member or advisor for several nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity. She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business , a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bucknell University, and honorary PhDs from Centenary College and Quinnipiac University. Jessica lives in Los Angeles with her husband, author Reza Aslan, and their three young sons. Her first book, CLAY WATER BRICK: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least was published in June 2015 (Penguin Random House). Photo credit: Shayan Hathaway

The Annual Book

Each year of the five-year Study will be produced and published in a formal, comprehensive review of the findings, complete withThe Startup Study Book detailed survey results, insightful case studies, incisive commentary by our team of expert advisers, and valuable information about the essential resources that are co-evolving along with the fast-developing ecosystem.

If you’d like to join The Startup Study as a participant, strategic partner, or sponsor, contact John Schroeter at: john (at)

The Startup Study Media Kit

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