Entrepreneurship

eCornell

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eCornell

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Who should attend

  • Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their startup
  • People who have an original or disruptive idea
  • Novice investors

About the course

Have a great idea for a startup but don’t know where to begin?

This certificate program is designed to give both entrepreneurs and new investors the skills needed to evaluate the viability of business concepts and markets, navigate the pitching process, and ultimately gain an understanding of how to receive and invest from a variety of sources. This program will cover investments from equity investors, angel investors, venture capitalists, crowdfunders, economic development centers, and grants.

In this certificate program, you will learn how to find the right match for your opportunity or investment style, and what goes into delivering and assessing a successful business pitch. You will also explore how to protect your interests as the company is being structured, how to assign a fair valuation to the opportunity, and how to perform due diligence as the financing process moves from investor interest to actually closing the deal. Finally, you will examine the strategies for keeping entrepreneur/investor relations alive and healthy long after the deal has closed.

For the best experience in this program it is strongly recommended to take these courses in the order that they appear.

Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options

Every startup has an element of risk. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a new investor, you need to be able to articulate a business model and evaluate how it would fit with an investor type so you can identify good opportunities for investment.

In this course, you will complete a strategy framework that will help you assess the viability of a startup. By assessing and evaluating the total available market and served available market, you will conduct a target market estimate to project your product or service's potential market size. You will also create a milestone chart that helps you identify the human and capital resources necessary to launch a startup. Your compilation and review of this work will help you evaluate the specific type of investment your project needs.

Pitching Your Business Opportunity

In this course, you will learn how to navigate the process of pitching a startup investment opportunity in order to gain investor interest. Through opportunities to both build and evaluate a pitch, both entrepreneurs and investors will gain insight into each other's perspective. In this course, you will analyze a real-world pitch to see how closely it conforms to the recommended format for a great pitch. You will then select three potential investors online and explain why they would make a good fit with your own or a selected opportunity. Finally, you will build a partial pitch deck based on selected key concepts, and then partner with a peer from your cohort to deliver, evaluate, and strengthen those pitch deck slides. By the end of this course you will have the confidence you need to create or assess a startup pitch.

It is recommended to take Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options prior to this course or have equivalent experience.

Protecting Your Interests

In order to safeguard the opportunity or investment before the deal is closed, certain steps like incorporation, structuring future investment, and creating a term sheet serve as protection for the interests of both parties. These assets and processes lend structure to the deal.

In this course, you will recognize the tradeoffs, risks, and implications of different legal investment structures and determine the right time and circumstances for switching those structures. Working with a sample startup, you will identify both appropriate and inappropriate forms of incorporation for the opportunity. You will determine the most appropriate legal structures for both non-equity and equity investment scenarios. You will then identify which sources of investment should be sought at the different phases of the business cycle. Finally, you will list the documentation required at each business cycle phase to close the deal.

It is recommended to take Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options and Pitching Your Business Opportunity prior to this course or have equivalent experience.

Financial Planning, Valuation and Dilution

To evaluate an investment opportunity, savvy investors rely on a company's records of its ownership percentages, equity dilution, and the value of equity issued in each round of financing. These records are kept in a company's capitalization table, or cap table, which is a record of the different rounds of investment.

In this course, you will utilize and complete a cap table template to create and record a sample startup's financial records. Then, you will use the cap table to assess and analyze a series of financial outcomes based on a set of differing scenarios. Lastly, you will compute and evaluate approaches to valuation such as discounted cash flow and public market multiples based on estimates of future cash flow. This will position you to negotiate new rounds of financing and analyze the impact of new rounds on existing shareholders.

It is recommended to take Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options, Pitching Your Business Opportunity, and Protecting Your Interests or to have equivalent experience prior to this course.

Company Structure and Due Diligence

Before closing an investment deal, an entrepreneur needs to protect their interests, and an investor needs to verify the stability of the opportunity. This series of steps is called the due diligence process. In this course, you will create a due diligence project plan for your investment or opportunity that maps out how to get from term sheet to closing. This process includes key milestones, timeframes, a detailed understanding of key players' responsibilities, and consideration for the various types of due diligence. Then, you will compile a list of questions for the due diligence checklist, a key element of the process that outlines the questions that need to be answered and the documentation that is required to close the deal. Lastly, you will identify, review, and analyze the dozens of critical documents being exchanged that are needed to finalize the investment deal and retain for future use, protection, and reference. By completing these steps, you will be ready to determine if you should move forward or hold back on your deal.

It is recommended to take Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options; Pitching Your Business Opportunity; Protecting Your Interests; and Valuation, Dilution, and Financial Planning or to have equivalent experience prior to this course.

Post-Investment Best Practices

After closing a deal, it is essential that the founder maintain a strong affiliation with the investor. Continued mutual trust and communication can increase the company's chances for growth and success.

In this course, you will formulate a structure for you company that outlines the key parties and their responsibilities. You will also draft a board meeting agenda, investor update, and delegation matrix and list the characteristics of your incentive plan. Finally, you will project an index of the company records that are likely to be added one year after your investment date. By the end of this course you will have a detailed plan to help you successfully navigate your post-investment future.

It is recommended to take Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options; Pitching Your Business Opportunity; Protecting Your Interests; Valuation, Dilution, and Financial Planning; and Company Structure and Due Diligence or to have equivalent experience prior to this course.

KEY COURSE TAKEAWAYS

  • Assess the viability of your startup and project its potential market size
  • Evaluate investment opportunities
  • Find potential sources of funding for your business
  • Navigate the process of pitching and closing investors
  • Assign fair valuation to a startup
  • Protect your interests in the startup investment process
  • Determine if you should move forward or hold back on your deal
  • Navigate the post-investment landscape

Experts

Tom Schryver

Tom Schryver teaches entrepreneurship at Johnson, where he serves as the David J. BenDaniel Faculty Advisor for BR Ventures. An experienced entrepreneur and angel investor who has served as a startup founder and senior executive of high-growth companies, Tom has successfully structured new compan...

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Entrepreneurship at eCornell

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