2017 Honoree: Jeff Bussgang
Jeff Bussgang is co-founder and general partner at Flybridge Capital, an early-stage technology venture capital firm with more than $600 million under management. He is the author of two books and a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, where he teaches a class on tech entrepreneurship and started a micro-seed fund to invest in startups founded by recent Harvard graduates.
Mr. Bussgang is also a champion for immigrants and minorities. He co-founded Hack.Diversity, a private-public partnership designed to tackle the underrepresentation of highly skilled minority employees in Boston’s innovation ecosystem, and he co-founded and chairs The Alliance for Business Leadership, a progressive business group.
One of his proudest accomplishments is the creation of the Global Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR) program, which gives entrepreneurs access to the visas they need to build their businesses here in the U.S. The entrepreneurs are hired part-time by universities – who then sponsor their H-1B visa, exempt from the normal cap – and the founders mentor students while pursuing their start-up.
Mr. Bussgang developed Global EIR in partnership with the State Legislature, the Patrick and Baker administrations, and the University of Massachusetts. He then co-founded a non-profit to support its implementation across the country. To date, the Global EIR program has been launched in Silicon Valley, New York, Chicago, and Boulder, among other locations. As a result, dozens of entrepreneurs have founded companies in the U.S., employed thousands of people, and raised hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr. Bussgang says he was inspired to advocate for immigrant entrepreneurs because his father was one. Born in pre-war Poland, Bussgang’s father survived the Holocaust as a refugee and soldier, immigrating to the U.S. in the 1940s. He started his own technology company shortly after completing degrees at MIT and Harvard.
“He taught me to fight for social justice and cherish America’s democracy and values, knowing the dangers that can come when democracy fails,” he says.
For his ingenuity and his invaluable support for immigrant entrepreneurs, we are proud to honor him.