Who will benefit from this course?

Anyone who wants to evaluate a start-up for investment

  • Venture investors

    For experienced venture investors, hone your skills and improve your performace. For newer investors, quickly build your knowledge and skills.

  • Traditional investors

    Venture investments are very different from traditional investments. Learn to avoid the mistakes many new investors make when investing in start-ups.

  • Entrepreneurs

    Lack of understanding about venture capital can result in failed fundraising or in bad deals for start-ups Learn to think about start-ups like a VC.

What will I learn in this course?

Evaluate a real start-up investment opportunity

Venture capital investing is hard. Even top VCs have failure rates of more than 50% across their portfolios. The difference between success and failure can come down to the performance of 1 or 2 investments out of 30. Venture investors must know how to identify and evaluate potentially successful ventures in order to generate the high returns that characterize successful venture capital investing. In this course you will learn one of the key skills for successful VC investment: evaluating high-potential investment opportunities using the Expara approach. The course is hands-on, interactive and experiential and the learning can be applied immediately beyond the online classroom. If you have a start-up you would like to be evaluated for investment, we will do that with you in this course.

What will I get from this course?

The course is structured as an experiential learning simulation in which each participant will play the role of a venture capital investor identifying and evaluating for investment real-world start-up companies. Participants will be hands-on and will be equipped with a toolkit that they can immediately apply beyond the course. In addition to the start-ups featured in the course, we will evaluate together one real start-up of their choice for investment.

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

  • A custom investment recommendation of one start-up of your choice

  • 32 videos - 4 hours of viewing and 65 original articles for reading

  • Video presentations and slide decks of real start-ups

  • Interactive opportunity identification case-study with detailed feedback

  • 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

    • About Expara

    • Reading list for investors

  • 2

    Understanding Risk and Return

    • What is the relationship between risk and return?

    • Risk and return

    • Why fear risk?

    • Risk and return - Small versus scalable business

    • Reading: Risk and return

    • Reading - Two types of entrepreneurs

    • Reading - Fear and failure

  • 3

    Welcome to venture capital world

    • Welcome to venture capital world

  • 4

    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

  • 5

    Why VC now?

    • Why VC now

    • Why venture capital now

    • Reading - Is moores law over?

    • Reading - Amaras law

  • 6

    Why do start-ups raise investment

    • Why should startups raise investment

    • Why do startups raise money?

    • Reading - Why do start-ups raise money?

  • 7

    How do start-ups fund growth

    • How to fund growth

    • How to fund growth?

    • Fund growth with convertible debt and equity

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

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

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

  • 8

    How do VCs make money?

    • How do VCs make money?

    • What kind of company does VC invest in

  • 9

    Evaluating investments - which companies generate high returns?

    • What kind of companies generate high returns?

    • Which one is more scalable- product or service?

    • 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

  • 10

    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 - Product market fit or team

    • Reading - Three most important factors

    • Reading - Key elements of success

    • Download: Business plan outline and checklist

  • 11

    Investor and start up communication

    • Investor and start up communication

    • Communicating with investors

    • Reading - How to connect with investors

  • 12

    Assessing product market fit

    • Defining innovation

    • Innovation and value proposition questions to ask

    • 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)

    • Innovation and value proposition questions to ask

  • 13

    Identifying favorable markets

    • Choose a market favourable to start ups

    • Market life cycles and structures

  • 14

    Market identification and analysis

    • Market identification and analysis

    • Determining who your customers are

  • 15

    Sizing the market

    • Sizing the market

    • Top-down and bottom-up market sizing

    • Reading - Sizing the market for a start-up

    • Market identification and analysis questions to ask

  • 16

    Marketing strategy

    • CLV vs CAC

    • Market positioning

    • 4 Ps

    • Reading - What are unit economics?

    • Product differentiation

    • Marketing strategy questions to ask

  • 17

    Sustainable competitive advantage

    • Creating last mover advantage

    • Sustainable competitive advantage

    • Competing with large companies

    • How startups beat established companies?

    • Sustainable competitive advantage questions to ask

    • Reading - Why are you using Whatsapp?

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

    • Reading - First mover disadvantage last mover advantage

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

    • Reading - Market leaders dinosaurs small mammals and asteroids

  • 18

    Strategies to create advantage

    • Strategies to create advantage

    • First mover advantage & last mover advantage

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

  • 19

    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?

  • 20

    Case study: Opportunity identification

    • Case Study – Opportunity identification

    • List of presenting start-ups

    • Advantir Pitch

    • Anrich3D Pitch

    • EcoWorth Tech Pitch

    • Globish Pitch

    • Let's Plant Meat Pitch

    • Lumani Pitch

    • Perception Pitch

    • Portier Technologies Pitch

    • Sharent Pitch

    • System Stone Pitch

    • Voxy Pitch

    • Advantir Pitch Deck

    • Anrich 3D Pitch Deck

    • EcoWorth Tech Pitch Deck

    • Globish Pitch Deck

    • Let's Plant Meet Pitch Deck

    • Lumani Pitch Deck

    • Perception Pitch Deck

    • Portier Pitch Deck

    • Sharent Pitch Deck

    • System Stone Pitch Deck

    • Voxy Pitch Deck

  • 21

    Venture funding downloads

    • Venture funding downloads

  • 22

    Submission: Customized investment recommendation

    • Custom investment recommendation submission

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