Welcome to Startup Secrets!

This series is designed as a consistent set of frameworks and case studies for entrepreneurs and innovators to think through the key steps that could accelerate their success in starting a business. There are 11 units that cover some of the key areas of starting and building a business.

Each unit has workshops, case studies, and related articles. The workshops cover all the key information about the unit. They generally include an overview, a 1-2 hour video, and the slides that go along with the video. The case studies illustrate the concepts applied in the real world. Finally, the related articles dive more deeply into key concepts from the unit.

Startup Secrets Course Units

The units have been arranged in the following order:

While you can jump into any unit at any time, there is a logic behind the order of the units presented in the grid above from top right to bottom left. The logic is that you may want an overview of the Roadmap to Success before you begin your entrepreneurial journey. But you probably don’t even have a company to start without an idea and how to turn it into a Compelling Value Proposition. Then, as you turn your  Value Proposition into a product it can be incredibly helpful to think ahead on how to Turn Products into Companies. As you get going, defining your Vision, Mission and Culture become critical to Hiring an A+ team. Next, thinking about your Business Model and Go-To-Market strategy and tactics become key to figuring out a business that can be differentiated and sustainable. And then, being able to put it all together in the Perfect Pitch that you can use to raise money is usually vital and leads to needing to understand your Funding Strategy to go the Distance.

Finally, the last workshops in the series are a chance to think about whether You’ve Got What it Takes to be an entrepreneur and how to get the Mentorship and that is so often critical to a rewarding experience.

To give you a sense of what you can get out of the Startup Secrets workshops at Harvard innovation lab, perhaps take a look at the following video from one of our wrap up session that provides a good summary of the types of topics and case studies covered in the sessions:


There are two ways to stay engaged with Startup Secrets and the surrounding community. The first is by subscribing to our Newsletter, which is a regular curation of the most relevant startup articles from across the web, delivered straight to your inbox. The second is by commenting on and share the content you interact with! We actively read the comments and look to them when creating new workshops, cases and articles.


We’re partnering with sponsors like Underscore VC to create some great public events around the content on this site. We’ll be sure to publicize them as they are scheduled, so check back!


If you have any feedback on future content that you’d like to see created, please visit our feedback page! We actively engage with the ideas there and aim to make content that our users really want.

  • Thanks for this platform guys. I just hope the community develops so that through collaboration we can grow the learning culture.

    • mjskok

      @franzpouchet:disqus thanks for the encouragement – we are indeed working on how to make this more of a learning community. email ca@underscore.vc if you’d like to offer input

      • @mjskok I think that there are diferrent challenges for those of us who are from developing nations. From sophistication levels to the general infrastructure. The creativity levels need to adapt to the environment in a bespoke manner. Maybe our context could serve as a branch off of this masterpiece.

  • Hello. You’ve just stumbled on a goldmine.

  • Sonja Nasehi

    This series reached me all the way to Sweden and helped me sort out a mess in my head that was fueled by a sense of urgency to just get things moving with my startup. The different frameworks helped me focus and extract more value out of my ideas. It’s truly an unfair advantage that I’m happy to have gotten the opportunity to take part of. Thank you!

  • Tibor Zahorecz

    @mjskok I am really grateful as you shared your knowledge base. We are activly use the value propositions and go to market advices in our software sec firms. Thanks! Rgds tibor

  • Noor Al Kayyali

    Thank you so much for this. I enjoyed every second and learned a lot! All the way from Jordan:)

  • Hector Fernandez

    Thank you MJ Skok. Greetings from Lima – Perú.