Joe Dwyer is an investor, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He is a partner at Digital Intent, a firm that leverages creative technology to evolve existing companies, as well as a partner at Founder Equity Fund, which employs a novel approach to early-stage venture investing.
Joe has been creating and growing new digital businesses for 25 years. Established in 1994, Joe's first company helped clients such as Bain & Company, Albertson's and Exodus Computing conceive and build new digital products. He has since founded or led multiple high-growth companies including The Virtual Market, LoanSurfer, TouchPoint Solutions, ArtistData and Brill Street.
Joe continues to support the Chicago entrepreneurial community as a mentor for Techstars, a Charter Member of TIE and a lecturer for the Founder Institute, among other activities.
Joe holds an MBA with Distinction from the Kellogg School of Management, and a law degree Cum Laude from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he was awarded the Order of the Coif. Joe also has an undergraduate degree in international relations from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Joe has been programming and creating digital products for longer than he cares to admit. His latest exploration is into high-performance distributed real-time systems based on Node.js, Mongo, and Meteor.
**This course was formerly known as MORS 952-A/MORS 952-B**
Most venture capitalists will agree that the key determinant of success in an early stage company is the management team. In an environment where formal business plans are of little help and ideation continues around the development of the right business model, management teams must be innovative, resourceful and adaptive. People, not plans, define outcomes. But attracting, coordinating, and encouraging the right co-founders and employees is incredibly tricky, even when you're not faced with scarce resources and deep uncertainty.
This five-week course explores the factors that define high-functioning teams, and offers frameworks and approaches to assembling, motivating, and coordinating effective teams in highly fluid and challenging contexts. Topics include the psychology of teams, legal aspects of team building, and how to divide responsibility, compensation, and equity among the founders.
Culture is key to sustainable success in the face of evolving needs, crises, and opportunities. We leverage a powerful intent-driven framework designed to define and grow corporate cultures to create lasting value. The goal is a repeatable methodology for achieving a "flow state" of innovation bringing together founders, employees, customers, and investors to achieve extraordinary outcomes.
New Venture Discovery is designed to help students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture beginning with the identification of a problem in the market that is worth solving. The class teaches students tools and techniques to translate these problems into viable business concepts, with an emphasis on enabling an aspiring entrepreneur to get as far as possible, with as little as possible, as FAST as possible.
Student teams begin the quarter with nothing more than a series of hypotheses about a new venture, then design and execute a series of in-market experiments that either validate these assumptions, or force them to iterate aspects of their business model in real time. The objective of the course to guide students toward the achievement of "product-market fit" as a crucial first step in in the creation of a startup. From here, students can evolve their businesses by enrolling in the "Develop" and "Launch" courses that serve as the continuation of the new ventures curriculum.
New Venture Discovery course material ranges from customer discovery and design thinking, to rapid prototyping (of both offers and business models), bootstrapping methods and communicating/selling the vision for a new venture. The course format is a blend of lecture, fieldwork, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, outside speakers and expert mentoring.
**This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter**