Stanford Center for Professional Development

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About the course

Venture Capital Unlocked is a two-week crash course on investing strategies, tools and tactics for investors who want to learn how Silicon Valley really works.

In this course, you’ll work closely with Stanford University faculty and 500 Startups leadership to hone your investment theses and invest like 500 Startups, one of the most active seed investors in the world.

What to Expect

The program provides answers to key questions for angels and VCs so they can make successful investment decisions.

Learn how to successfully engage the various stakeholders of the venture capital ecosystem

Learn how to assess investment opportunities against a personal or organizational investment philosophy

Learn how to manage your portfolio of investments

Learn the importance of due diligence in the investment process

Network with some of Silicon Valley’s most successful investors alongside angels and VCs from around the world

Our Approach

We didn’t get to 2,000 deals in eight years by just sitting there, and neither will you! The Venture Capital Unlocked program uses a project-based learning approach in which participants continually refine their investment theses with the help of 500 partners and Stanford University Faculty.

  • Learn directly from startup founders and experienced investors on what they look for in the fundraising process
  • Receive feedback from experienced investors on your startup investment areas and interests
  • Screen pitches at our invite-only investor events, including a “Sneak Preview Day” with hundreds of other Silicon Valley angel investors and venture capitalists
  • Put the concepts into practice by conducting selection, evaluation and follow-on analysis using your own data-backed thesis with 40+ real companies currently raising capital

Benefits of the Program

Program participants walk away with the skills and strategies for building high-yield portfolios, and new connections and context for generating future deal flow. In this program, you will:

  • Learn the playbook for angel and venture capital investing from world-renowned Stanford faculty and 500 Startups staff
  • Create connections to other investor classmates, to the 500 global network of entrepreneurs and investors, and to other relevant investor and tech leaders.
  • Gain insights and tools to focus investment in your own area of interest
  • Earn a Certificate of Completion from the Stanford Center for Professional Development.
  • Build your deal flow through selection, evaluation, and follow-on analysis using your own data-backed investment thesis

Who should attend

Angel investors, VCs, and fund managers looking to hone their investment strategy and drive the next innovation ecosystem.

We accept qualified candidates on a rolling basis and space is limited, so we encourage you to apply early.

Trust the experts

Christine Tsai

Christine Tsai is a Founding Partner at 500 Startups, a global venture capital fund and startup accelerator. Since its inception in 2010, she helped grow 500 to ~$200M under management, 1300+ portfolio investments (including companies like Credit Karma, Twilio, ipsy, Udemy, MakerBot, Wildfire, Vi...


Bedy Yang

Bedy Yang is Managing Partner at 500 Startups. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups is a global, early stage tech VC fund that manages +$350M AuM in +1,800 investments around the world. In addition to being the most active global seed investor, 500 Startups runs a series of ecosystem-dev...


Pedram Mokrian

My expertise lies at the intersection of how new technologies (connected devices, mobile, software systems), analytics (big data stack), and new business models (consumer marketplaces, product driven services) can disrupt large incumbent markets such as energy, manufacturing, logistics, education...


Michael Lepech

Michael Lepech is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Mike’s research focuses on the integration of sustainability indicators into engineering design, ranging from materials design, st...


Mike Lyons

Mr. Lyons currently serves as Chairman of CypherPath, a converged infrastructure virtualization company and a board observer and former Chairman of Shadow Networks, Inc. a cyber security company; both are based on technology developed through a tech transfer partnership with Pacific Northwest Nat...


Trevor Loy

Trevor Loy is a Lecturer in the Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University, where he co-teaches a graduate-level course titled “Entrepreneurial Management and Finance.” Trevor is also the Managing Partner and Founder of Flywheel Ventures. He has over 20 years of inv...


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VC Unlocked @ Stanford University

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