Who will benefit from this program?

Not just an on-line course but a full on-line accelerator program for groups who want to create a customized schedule

  • Entrepreneurs

    Individual entrepreneurs or teams at the beginning of their start-up journey who want to develop their product-market fit, business plan and financial plan.

  • Early-stage start-ups

    Start-ups raising their first or second round of funding who want to improve their investor materials, accelerate their growth and pitch to investors.

  • Growth-stage start-ups

    Later-stage start-ups that want to further accelerate their growth, increase their fund-raising success and broaden their investor network.

What will I learn in this program?

You will learn how to increase the velocity of growth of your start-up

Participants will proceed through a 14-week structured program in which they will develop their business plan, financial model, and investor pitch deck. Topics covered in the structured workshop program include product/market fit, value proposition, market identification and analysis, marketing strategy, sustainable competitive advantage, business model, financing and fundraising strategy, and understanding venture capital. Modes of learning include on-line videos and articles, interactive assignments and exercises, and live mentorship sessions. Graduates of the program will have a chance to pitch to a panel of investors and to be introduced to Expara's global investor network, will be reviewed for investment by Expara's accelerator fund.

What will I get from this program?

Participants will receive the same full set of benefits as participants in our highly successful face-to-face accelerator programs which we have been conducting since 2007. In addition to the structured learning, they will receive personalized mentorship, a start-up toolkit, access to our global network, and more.

  • 14 hours of live interactive sessions with Expara CEO Douglas Abrams

  • 94 videos - 17.5 hours of viewing and 74 original articles for reading

  • Live presentation to a panel of venture investors

  • Business plan development and written feedback - 2 rounds

  • Pitch deck and financial model development and feedback - 1 round each

  • Expara's award-winning VC-Start-up negotiation exercise

  • Access to Expara's network of more than 2,000 venture investors

  • Pro-forma Valuation Excel Model for start-ups

  • Start-up evaluation checklist and term sheet template

  • Expara Academy Certificate of Course Completion

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • A message from the instructor

    • About the instructor

    • Connecting to my network

    • READ FIRST: How to complete the course

    • Course schedule

    • Course submissions and milestones

    • About Expara

    • Reading: Can entrepreneurship be taught?

    • Reading list for entrepreneurs

  • 2

    Understanding risk and return

    • What is the relationship between risk and return?

    • Risk and return

    • Reading: Risk and return

  • 3

    Welcome to start-up world

    • What is an entreprenur?

    • What is a scalable business?

    • Why become an entrepreneur?

    • Starting up in a downturn

    • What is an entrepreneur?

    • Reading - Two types of entrepreneurs

    • What is a scalable business?

    • How to build a scalable business?

    • Why become an entrepreneur?

    • Obstacles to entrepreneurship

    • Reading - What makes a successful entrepreneur?

    • Reading - Should I work first or just start a company?

    • Reading - Why entrepreneurship

    • Reading - How important is luck in entrepreneurial success?

    • Reading: Is an economic crisis a good time to start or pivot a business?

  • 4

    This could be you

    • This could be you

    • This could be you

  • 5

    Let's fail

    • Let's fail

    • Overcoming the fear of failure

    • Reading - Innovation from failure at 3M

    • Reading - Fear and failure

    • Reading - Why is failing good for entrepreneurs

  • 6

    Success from failure

    • Success from failure

    • Success from failure

    • Reading - Success from failure

    • Reading - What percentage of start-ups really fail?

    • Reading - Why do so many start-ups fail?

    • Reading - Why is it good that so many start-ups fail

    • Reading - Do difficult things

  • 7

    Why do start-ups raise investment?

    • Scalable or lifestyle business?

    • Why should startups raise investment

    • Reading - Why do start-ups raise money?

  • 8

    How do start-ups fund growth?

    • How to fund growth?

    • Which form of funding is best?

    • How do start-ups fund growth?

    • Reading - What is the best form of funding for a start up

    • Reading - Only a moron starts a business with a loan

    • Reading - What is the difference between debt and equity?

  • 9

    Why do investors invest in VC?

    • Highest returning asset class

    • VC is the highest returning asset class

    • VC improves portfolio diversification

    • Reading - Why do investors invest in VC funds?

    • Reading - Top VC fund managers can consistently outperform

  • 10

    Why VC now?

    • Why VC now

    • Why venture capital now

    • Reading - Is moores law over?

    • Reading - Amaras law

  • 11

    How do VCs make money?

    • What kind of companies do VCs invest in?

    • How do VCs generate returns?

  • 12

    What kind of companies generate high returns?

    • Which one is more scalable- product or service?

    • What sectors do VCs invest?

    • What kind of companies generate high returns?

    • Reading - What is the optimal time to enter a market?

    • Reading - What do VCs invest in?

    • Reading - Which scales better?

    • Reading - Good business vs good investment

  • 13

    How do VCs evaluate start-ups?

    • The investor’s decision tree

    • The investor’s decision tree

    • Key elements for success

    • Key elements for success

    • Reading - Three most important factors

    • Reading - Product market fit or team

    • Reading - Key elements of success

  • 14

    Communicating with investors

    • Communicating with investors

    • Communicating with investors

    • Reading - How to connect with investors

  • 15

    Innovation and value proposition

    • Innovation and value proposition

    • Defining innovation

    • Innovation and value proposition questions to ask

    • Innovation and value proposition questions

    • Why invest in innovators

    • Reading - Innovation and value proposition

    • Reading - Innovators, imitators and idiots

    • Reading - Is Grab an innovator or an imitator?

    • Reading - Pain and demand (How does pain drive demand)

  • 16

    Business model innovation

    • Business model innovation

    • Business model innovations

    • Reading - What is the Gillette business model

    • Reading - Disruptive business models

  • 17

    Identifying favorable markets

    • Identifying favorable markets for start-ups

    • Market life cycles and structures

  • 18

    Sizing the market

    • Sizing the market

    • Top-down and bottom-up market sizing

    • Reading - Sizing the market for a start-up

  • 19

    Market identification and analysis

    • Market identification and analysis

    • Market identification and analysis

    • Market identification and analysis questions

    • Who is your customer?

  • 20

    Marketing strategy

    • What are the elements of marketing strategy?

    • Product differentiation

    • Market positioning

    • Market positioning

    • Elements of the 4Ps

    • 4 Ps

    • Choose the right segment to enter the market

    • Developing a tagline

    • Marketing strategy questions

  • 21

    Value innovation

    • Value innovation

    • Blue ocean strategy

  • 22

    Customer segmentation and analysis

    • Customer analysis

    • Customer segmentation analysis

  • 23

    Sales and distribution

    • Sales and distribution

    • Sales and distribution

    • Reading - What are unit economics?

    • Customer, sales and distribution questions

  • 24

    Submission: Business plan draft 1

    • Business plan draft 1 submission

  • 25

    Sustainable competitive advantage

    • Sustainable competitive advantage

    • First mover advantage & last mover advantage

    • How startups beat established companies?

    • Sustainable Competitive Advantage (Market Leaders, Dinosaurs, and Small Mammals)

    • Reading - First mover disadvantage last mover advantage

    • First mover disadvantage; last mover advantage

    • Reading - Why are you using Whatsapp?

    • Reading - Why are there only two ride sharing companies in each market?

    • Competing with large companies

    • Competing with large companies

    • Reading - Market leaders dinosaurs small mammals and asteroids

    • Reading - SCA case study: who was the first mover in personal computers

    • Sustainable competitive advantage questions

  • 26

    IP strategy

    • IP strategy

    • IP strategy

    • Reading - Is it possible for someone to steal your start-up idea?

    • Reading - What are the elements of an IP strategy for start-ups?

  • 27

    Legal issues

    • Forms of organization

    • Key legal agreements

    • Capital and legal structure of a firm

    • 5 key agreements in venture capital deals

    • Reading - Key agreements in VC investment

  • 28

    Financial plan

    • In the financial section of the business plan

    • Why do we need a financial plan?

    • Financial projections - financial section of the business plan (2)

    • Valuation - financial section of the business plan (3)

  • 29

    Submission: Business plan draft 2

    • Business plan draft submission 2

  • 30

    Business model

    • Business Model - The financial section of the business plan (1)

    • Key revenue model issues

    • Business model - how will you make money?

    • Reading - What is a business model?

  • 31

    Financial model

    • Pro-forma Financial Model

    • Create financial projections

    • Why forecast 5 years?

    • Starting with revenue forecast

    • Top-down market sizing example - Plant-based meat

    • Top-down market sizing example - Sesame milk

    • Bottom up market sizing

    • Introduction to Revenue forecast in Excel

    • Why is the top-down forecast different from bottom-up forecast?

    • Mistakes startup CEOs make

    • Financial model explained 1

    • Reading - Why will financial forecasts always be wrong?

    • Financial model explained 2

    • Financial model explained 3

    • Balance sheet

    • Income statement 1

    • Income statements 2

    • Cash flow budget

    • DCF valuation model

    • Financials and DCF Valuation

    • Weighted average cost of capital

    • Valuation in financial modelling

    • Dilution schedule and investor ROI

    • Reading - Why are so many startups not profitable?

    • Reading - How is a model different from reality

  • 32


    • Why do most valuation methods fail for start-ups?

    • Why do most valuation methods fail for start-ups?

    • Reading - Why do traditional valuation methods fail?

    • Company valuation methods

    • Comparables

    • Methods of valuation - comparables

    • Discounted cash flow valuation

    • Methods of valuation - discounted cash flow

    • VC method

    • Methods of valuation - VC method

    • Valuation methods

    • Pre-money and post-money valuation

    • VC method valuation explained

    • Where do the numbers in VC method valuation come from?

    • Reading - What drives VC fund returns

    • VC return distribution

    • Key valuation issues

    • Reading - Epidemic of overvaluation

    • Reading - Why don't startups pay dividends?

    • Reading - What is cost of capital and why is it important?

  • 33

    Exit strategy and ROI

    • Exit strategy and ROI

    • ROI and dilution

    • Calculate investor's ROI including dilution

    • Exit strategy and ROI

    • What two numbers do investors need to calculate their ROI

    • What is an exit strategy

    • Why every start-up needs an exit strategy

    • What is the best exit strategy

    • Calculating exit valuation

    • Never sell less than 100 percent

    • Reading - How do VCs make money

  • 34

    Submission: Financial plan draft

    • Financial plan draft submission

    • Submit summary of your financial plan (word or PDF file)

  • 35

    Fundraising process

    • Why is the multistep fundraising process so important?

    • The fundraising journey of startups

    • Funding required - The financial section of the business plan (4)

    • Equity offered - financial section of the business plan(5)

    • Use of Proceeds, Exit Strategy and ROI - financial section of the business plan(6)

    • How should founders split equity?

    • Fundraising process

    • No part-time founders

    • Reading - VC funding process enables funding of innovation

    • VC investment process

    • Reading - Smart money or dumb money

    • How much funding to raise?

    • Reading - What are burn rate and runway?

    • Reading - How much to raise?

    • How much equity to give up?

    • Reading - How much equity to give up?

    • Reading - How should founders split equity?

    • Reading - Choose your investor as carefully as you choose a spouse

    • Reading - Angel or VC or CVC which is best

    • How to use funds raised?

    • Reading - Who are venture investors?

    • Reading - Is dilution a good thing or a bad thing?

    • Reading - Use of funds - do founders salaries drive growth?

    • Reading - What is FF and F?

    • Reading - What is OM and how much of it do you need?

    • Reading - The best and worst times to raise money

    • Reading - Why not give up the minimum equity

  • 36

    Key deal terms and term sheets

    • Economic terms in term sheets: Part I

    • Economic terms in term sheets: Part II

    • Control terms in term sheets

    • An example of how liquidation preference works

    • What is founder vesting

    • What is a clean cap table?

    • Convertible debt vs equity

    • Safe notes

    • Key elements of the deal

    • Reading - Key terms in VC term sheets

    • Reading - Liquidation preference as valuation insurance

    • Cap tables

    • Reading: The 7 deadly sins of messy cap tables

    • Reading - What is founder vesting?

    • Download: Term sheet template and term sheet alternatives

    • Reading: How do VCs control startups after investment

    • Reading: Corporate structuring issues for VC investors

    • Reading: What forms of funding are used by VCs

    • Reading: What are convertible and SAFE notes and should we use them

    • Reading: Reserve matters and protective provisions

    • Reading: Retaining BOD control

    • Reading: What are reps and warranties

    • Reading: What is a drag-along clause

    • Reading: MFN and Pay to Play

    • Reading: What is redemption

    • Reading: What is anti-dilution protection

    • Reading: What are ROFRs and ROFOs and when are they bad

  • 37

    Investor presentation materials

    • Investor presentation materials

    • Investor pitch deck

  • 38

    Investor presentations

    • First impressions

    • You can't judge a book by its cover: Part II

    • You can't judge a book by its cover: Part II (Susan Boyle singing)

    • You can't judge a book by its cover: Part III

    • You can’t judge a book by its cover

    • Getting past gatekeepers

    • How to get past gatekeepers?

    • How to stand out?

    • Effective presentation delivery

    • What causes presentation choking?

    • Presentation tips

    • Reading - What is a gatekeeper and why are they important

    • Reading - How to get to gatekeepers

    • Reading - Understanding gatekeepers incentives

    • Reading - Getting past gatekeepers

  • 39

    Handling Q&A

    • Q&A is the most important part

    • A sample VC pitch (a lot like love video)

    • Handling Q&A

    • Difficult questions

    • Responding to difficult questions

  • 40

    Submission: Presentation slides draft

    • Presentation slide draft submission

  • 41

    VC-Start-up negotiations

    • VC-start-up negotiations

    • VC startup negotiations

    • VC - startup negotiation game

    • Contact Information

  • 42

    Submission: Final submissions

    • Business plan final submission

    • Financial plan final submission

    • Presentation slide final submission

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