The Wharton Scale School workshop series in San Francisco guides entrepreneurs making the transition from a successful startup to a large enterprise. Hear from experts who share solutions to critical challenges faced by rapidly growing companies.

What You'll Learn

Scale School is your guide as you move beyond initial product-market fit to the creation of a large enterprise of tremendous value, giving you the opportunity to:

Gain insights from cutting-edge Wharton research as well as from experienced leaders who have effectively scaled their organizations.

Apply key principles in small group working sessions.
Ask questions of the experts about the challenges you face in scaling your own organization.

Gain The Business Skills To Scale
Ideas are essential to innovation, but it takes real business skills to transform a great idea into a sustainable business. That’s why Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship launched this initiative in partnership with Wharton Lifelong Learning in March 2016.

Hosted at Wharton San Francisco, these workshops feature expert Wharton faculty, alumni entrepreneurs, and Bay Area industry executives who share their insights about how to address common challenges like finding new customers, growing your workforce, managing supply chains, and navigating complex regulations as you scale your business.
Scale-0040.jpg

Scale School

Scaling in an Ecosystem: Strategies and Tradeoffs

DATE: November 1, 2022
LOCATION: Wharton San Francisco
TIME: 5:30-8:00p PT

No enterprise is an island. Rather, every enterprise is embedded in an ecosystem of partners to create and deliver value. How should enterprise leaders think about scaling up a new initiative when growth is not only a function of the enterprise-level capabilities but also a function of the broader ecosystem of partners and their capabilities? In this session, Professor Rahul Kapoor and panelists….. will discuss the thinking behind scaling technology initiatives in an ecosystem as well as how leaders can navigate through some of the key strategic tradeoffs in their ecosystems.

David W. Hauck Professor at the Wharton School 
Professor of Management
Chairperson, Management Department

Perspectives on Start-Up Acquisitions

The past few decades have shown a dramatic rise in start-up acquisitions, which have become the dominant channel through which ventures successfully exit. But how effective are start-up acquisitions (1) for big companies as a source of new innovation and talent and (2) for the careers of acquired founders and employees?

In this session, J. Daniel Kim, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School, and panelists, Gary Johnson WG'08 Founder & Managing Partner, Kokua Ventures, former Head of Strategy, Business & Corporate Development, Pinterest and Rich Riley, W'96, Co-CEO, Origin Materials, former CEO, Shazamand will discuss the post-acquisition reality from the perspectives of both established companies (“acquirers”) and start-ups (“targets”). They will also share actionable observations and lessons that both parties may want to consider in the future.
0:00 / 0:00
Video Companion

Past Scale School Events

To Change, Pivot or Persist
Entrepreneurs and investors love to talk about pivots that saved or elevated young firms, but hero stories about turning hay into gold don’t offer an accurate or instructive picture of how entrepreneurs wrestle with choices about whether or not to change. In this session, Professor Jacqueline (Jax) Kirtley and panelists Jeff Fluhr, ENG’96, W’96, General Partner at Craft Ventures, and Andy Friedman, WG’95, Managing Partner at Pin High Capital LLC, and Founder and former CEO of SkinnyPop Popcorn, will discuss the thinking behind their own pivot decisions as well as how recent world events have led to choices to change, adapt, or persist.

Date: September 14, 2021

Moderator:

  • Jacqueline (Jax) Kirtley, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Panelists:

  • Jeff Fluhr, ENG’96, W’96, General Partner, Craft Ventures
  • Andy Friedman, WG’95, Managing Partner, Pin High Capital LLC, Founder and Former CEO of SkinnyPop Popcorn

Perspective On Investing In Scale
Most enterprises need significant investment to scale. What strategic considerations should ventures give to this stage of financing? How can enterprises best demonstrate their readiness and potential for growth to not only attract the desired amount of funding but also the right kind of investor relationships? In this session, Professor David Hsu and panelists, Eurie Kim, WG’09, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures and Ravi Viswanathan, ENG’90, WG’98, Founder and Managing Partner at NewView Capital will discuss the criteria and thinking behind decisions to invest in scale as well as how their perspectives may or may not evolve in the near or distant future.

Date: September 14, 2021

Moderator:

  •  David Hsu, Richard A. Sapp Professor, Professor of Management

Panelists:

  • Eurie Kim (WG’09), General Partner, Forerunner Ventures
  • Ravi Viswanathan (ENG’90, WG’98), Founder & Managing Partner, NewView Capital

Making Bold Decisions In Challenging Times
While many enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat through the pandemic, some leaders have made bold strategic decisions to scale during these profoundly uncertain times. How should founders weigh the risks, particularly when even more factors are out of their control? In this session, Professor Mike Useem and panelists Amy Errett, WG’88, CEO and Co-Founder at Madison Reed and Partner at True Ventures, Chad Robins, WG’02, CEO and Co-Founder at Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation, and Davis Smith, G’11, WG’11, CEO and Founder at Cotopaxi will discuss the challenges business leaders and their firms have faced when deciding to scale as well as the opportunities they continue to eye for the future.

Date: February 3, 2021

Moderator:

  • Mike Useem, William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management; Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management; Editor, Wharton Leadership Digest

Panelists:

  • Amy Errett (WG’88), CEO and Co-Founder, Madison Reed; Partner, True Venture
  • Chad Robins (WG’02), CEO and Co-Founder, Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation
  • Davis Smith (WG’11), CEO & Founder, Cotopaxi

Balancing Growth & Profitability Through Uncertainty
How should founders and managers balance growth and profitability? When is the right time to prioritize growth and how is that answer different in these uncertain times? In this session, we will discuss the key challenges firms face when trying to scale: balancing the need to grow with long term profitability. We will explore this question from the point of view of the operation manager as well as the investor.

Date: September 9, 2020

Moderator:

  • Gad Allon, Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Director, Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Panelists:

  • Joseph Ansanelli (W’92), CEO, Gladly & Partner, Greylock
  • Cate Khan (WG’05), Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Verishop
  • Ted Schlein (C’86, PAR’20), General Partner, Kleiner Perkins

Get The Inside Track