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“You want to start a high-tech company? You are going to learn how to do it - by doing it.”

- Mike Lyons, course instructor.

Welcome to MS&E 273: Technology Venture Formation

Are you wondering what it takes to build the next SalesForce, Amazon, Genentech, or Apple Inc.?

In this course, Stanford students interested in technology-driven start-ups have the opportunity to learn and practice fundamental entrepreneurial skills:

  • Assessing the business opportunity of a technology concept or product
  • Building an execution plan around the opportunity
  • Presenting the proposed tech startup to top-tier professional investors in a partner meeting-style setting

This approach, now in its fourth decade of delivery, has provided real-world training for hundreds of actual startups.

In ten weeks, this course emulates the actual startup process up to and including fund raising.

The teaching team, mentors, and lecturers include serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and domain experts in finance, corporate governance, IP and trending technology.

The course focuses on creating technology products and services with an innovation that can produce sustainable differentiation in selected markets. Proposed businesses must have potential venture-scale which means the endeavor could be fundable by venture capital investors.

The course is organized around two Gate presentations - coaching sessions with Silicon Valley experts, and a Final Pitch to a panel of partners from top VC firms:

Gate I - Teams, self-assembled from the cohort of participants, synthesize a proposed business opportunity, learn the difference between business models and the whole company, use an opportunity assessment framework to evaluate their ideas and product-market fit, and prosecute a customer development program mostly outside of class.

Gate II - Teams develop a product build strategy, a go-to-market strategy, and a financing strategy. Pre-built sophisticated financial models are provided to each team so that they can build the appropriate financial structure for their company and evaluate financing requirements.

Final Pitch - Teams develop an understanding of the venture capital business model, how venture funds actually work, company ownership structures, and maintaining alignment of interests between entrepreneurs and investors.

For more information, read the full syllabus.

The class must be taken for credit and auditors are not permitted as this is a team project course requiring significant time commitments. The course is open to undergrads, graduate students, and SCPD honors coop students.

This is an intensive course, but there are no prerequisites other than a passion for creating new ventures and the ability to put in the required time.

Apply Now

Due April 2, 2021

This is a competitive class and requires an application from each student. Last year, there were 76 applications for 48 spots.

For questions, please visit our FAQ page