Lean Startup Co. was born from the global movement launched by Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup and The Startup Way. We pioneered and continue to lead the way in education on innovation, modern management and the Lean Startup methodology for the Government, Enterprise, and Nonprofit sectors.

Our expert faculty coach your organization through implementing new practices that, when supported by accountability and strong leadership, will lead to cultural transformation.


Mission Statement

“Equipping teams to systematically vet, shape and de-risk new business ideas.”

Imagine if entrepreneurship was a core function of every organization; we could solve some of the world’s biggest problems. We teach organizations everywhere in this  fast-changing world how to innovate with customer-centric, data-driven metrics for success. We help you build products that matter, products that people want and need.

Welcome to our community and thanks for learning about what we do. We hope you’ll check out our library of online media,  join us for a live event and let us know how we can help you bring the entrepreneurial spirit to your organization.


Eric Ries
Founder & Author

Eric is the creator of the Lean Startup methodology, practiced by individuals and companies around the world. He is the author of New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup, The Startup Way, and The Leaders Guide (funded by one of the top Kickstarter book campaigns of all time). He has founded a number of startups, including LTSE, where he is currently Executive Chair and Chairman of the Board, and IMVU, where he served as CTO. He has also advised on business and product strategy for startups, venture capital firms, and large companies across many industries.

Ben Hafele
CEO & Managing Director

Ben is the Managing Director of Lean Startup Co. His focus is on bringing the latest Lean Startup practices to organizations looking for a sustainable way to manage the pressure to grow. His relationships with both current customers and prospects are based on high energy, humor, and impactful interaction that ensures leaders and teams achieve the change they want. Prior to joining Lean Startup Co., Ben built the lean innovation program at Caterpillar. He has worked with over 400 startup, innovation, and product development teams spanning five continents. Ben holds a BS in Statistics and Mathematics from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics. 

Lori Watson

Texas-born and raised, Lori has spent her career creating efficient and effective business systems for real estate, construction, and professional services companies. She fills multiple roles at Lean Startup Co., including leading Operations, Human Resources, and Accounting. Her long track record of successfully evaluating organizational needs, reviewing options, and selecting the best services, all with an eye toward maximizing an organization’s resources, makes her a masterful problem solver in all of these areas. She is exacting in her ability to manage complex transactions, not least among them her love of helping the kids in the local FFA raise and show their livestock projects. 

Lori holds an associate degree in Accounting and Business Management.

Jonathan Bertfield
Senior Director

Jonathan has deep experience in building innovation systems within large corporations. He works with organizations that are well-established and looking to make the leap to an even more successful future. His philosophy is rooted in applying the basic principles of Lean Startup within each organization’s individual context and culture to achieve the best possible outcome. 

He has held roles at Pearson, where he helped build the company’s innovation practice, as well as Sesame Street, where he helped build the education business. He has advised companies including Nissan, MasterCard, CitiBank, Marriott, Microsoft, Cargill, Legal Zoom, Disney, Vanguard, and USAA. He has also worked with the US Dept of Defense, the US Department of Health & Human Services , the US Air Force and the UK Ministry of Defense.

Born in Manchester, England, Jonathan has lived around the globe including in Israel, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, New York. Currently living in Athens, Greece, he holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. 

Marilyn Gorman

Marilyn has worked with organizations around the world to build internal capabilities and systems for accelerating growth. A catalyst for change, she helps leaders and teams identify what’s blocking progress, then guides them through transformation designed to achieve results. Making the transition from thinking about probabilities to possibilities is always at the forefront of her work. At Lean Startup Co. she has advised leaders at Shell, within the UK and US Departments of Defense, IKEA, Parker Life, Tetrapak, Zappos, Vertex, and Waters Corporation.  

Marilyn’s past positions include Global Leader for Executive Development at GE, and Chief Learning Officer for the largest financial services organization in Australia. She holds an M.Ed from Sydney University, an MBA from Macquarie University, and a graduate diploma in Executive and Professional Coaching. A resident of upstate New York, Marilyn is a dual citizen of the US and Australia.

Hisham Ibrahim

Hisham was born in Cairo and spent his formative years there and in Kuwait before coming to the United States for college. After earning a BS in Engineering and an MS in Computer Science from the University of California San Diego, he went on to work at Oracle, Paypal, and later Intuit. He has consulted with the City of San Jose on the issue of homelessness; Roche; Ericssson; The International Monetary Fund; the Department of Health and Human Services, and Tetrapak. 

Hisham’s passion is working with companies that make a positive impact on people’s lives by helping them discover true customer problems and how to solve them. His ability to bring diverse personalities and perspectives together around a cohesive vision drives change and energizes teams, guiding them to focus on a more successful future. He is also a huge soccer fan and counts the privilege of hanging out with the Brazilian soccer team in California before they won the World Cup among his all-time honors.

Adam Berk

Adam has more than twenty years of experience with Lean Startup. He enjoys working with teams from the earliest days through customer discovery and on to building real world tests to challenge assumptions and bring clarity to the work to be done. 

Adam has also trained Lean Startup coaches and run workshops in corporate environments. He has served as a mentor in startup programs like Google’s AI for Social Good Accelerator, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator and He has also worked with Pearson, The Build Institute in Detroit, Bunker Labs, 150 Startups (Alberta), KauffmanLabs, TechPeaks, Bizdom, Numa Paris, StartupIstanbul, Startup Chile, TurkishWIN, FastForward Ramallah, AOL, ESPN, NewsCorp, AMEX, and several TechStars cohorts.

A current Michigan resident, Adam is the co-author of Startup Program Design: A Practical Guide for Creating Accelerators and Incubators at Any Organization. He holds a BA in Economics from Emory University.  


Chris Guest
Chief Marketing Officer at Bryte

Chris is the Chief Marketing & Growth Officer at Bryte, working at the intersection of Lean, Growth, Brand Marketing and Category Design.

Cindy Alvarez
Director of UX at PowerPoint, Video & Graphics

Cindy Alvarez is the author of Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy and Director of UX at PowerPoint, Video & Graphics.

Dan Martell
Founder & CEO of Saas Academy

Dan Martell is the Founder & CEO of Saas Academy and the co-founder of Clarity, a marketplace that connects entrepreneurs to get great business advice.

Hiten Shah
Quick Sprout

Hiten Shah started three SaaS companies, Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout. Two are self-funded & the other is venture backed. Hiten enjoys helping others think.

Hugh Molotsi

Hugh Molotsi advises and invests in startups and is an active practitioner and teacher of Lean Startup Methodologies.

Laura Becker

Laura Becker is a B2B Sales Consultant with an entrepreneurial mindset, always working at the intersection of Sales, Marketing and Customer Success.

Laura Klein
UX Manager at Indeed

Laura fell in love with technology when she saw her first user research session in 1995. Since then, she’s worked as an engineer, UX designer, and product manager at both startups and large companies in Silicon Valley.

Manuel Rosso
COO at FloSports

Manuel Rosso has been practicing Lean Startup principles since 2006 when he worked with Eric Ries and the rest of the IMVU team as VP of Product and Marketing.

Zach Nies
Managing Director at Techstars

Zach Nies is Managing Director at Techstars for the Boulder program and a member of the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder.