Who will benefit from this course?

Anyone who wants to value a real start-up

  • Venture investors

    Valuation is the key determinant of return for venture investors. Make sure you are valuing your deals with full information.

  • Traditional investors

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

  • Entrepreneurs

    Lack of knowledge of valuation methods can result in failed fundraising or in bad deals for start-ups Learn to value your company like investors will do.

What will I learn in this course?

How to value a real start-up of your choice

Valuing any company is difficult, and valuing startup companies is even more difficult, so it is not surprising that entrepreneurs and investors struggle with valuation. In this course we will look at valuation methods for traditional companies to see what is causing the confusion and then learn about the three methods of valuing start-up companies that actually make sense, how these methods work with start-ups and why they work. We will learn about why valuation is the key to venture investor returns, how to avoid the most common valuation mistakes from both the investor and the start-up side and how to arrive at a reasonable and defensible valuation for any start-up company. The course is hands-on, interactive and experiential and the learning can be applied immediately beyond the online classroom.

What will I get from this course?

This course is not about passive learning. Participants will be hands-on and will be equipped with a toolkit that they can immediately apply beyond the course. Participants will receive a customized valuation of a start-up of their choice.

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

  • A custom valuation of one start-up of your choice

  • 47 videos - 10 hours of viewing and 32 original articles for reading

  • Pro-forma Valuation Excel Model for start-ups

  • Start-up evaluation checklist and term sheet template

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

  • Interactive valuation case-study exercise

  • 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

    • Overcoming the fear of failure

    • 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 startups raise investment?

    • Scalable or lifestyle business?

    • Why should startups raise investment?

    • Reading - Why do start-ups raise money?

  • 7

    How do startups fund growth?

    • How to fund growth?

    • Which form of funding is best?

    • How to fund growth

    • 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?

    • What kind of companies do VCs invest in?

    • How do VCs generate returns?

  • 9

    Evaluating investments - which 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 do VCs invest in?

    • Reading - Which scales better?

    • Reading - Good business vs good investment

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

  • 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 - Three most important factors

    • Reading - Product market fit or team

    • Reading - Key elements of success

  • 11

    Sizing the market

    • Sizing the market

    • Top-down and bottom-up market sizing

    • CLV vs CAC

    • Top-down market sizing example - Sesame milk

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

    • Bottom up market sizing

    • Reading - Sizing the market for a start-up

    • Reading - What are unit economics?

  • 12

    Evaluating the 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)

  • 13

    Financial models and projections

    • Pro-forma Financial Model

    • Create financial projections

    • Why forecast 5 years?

    • Starting with revenue forecast

    • 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

    • Reading - Why will financial forecasts always be wrong?

    • Financial model explained 1

    • 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 there so many unprofitable startups?

    • Reading - How is a model different from reality

  • 14


    • 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

    • VC method valuation explained

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

    • Reading - What drives VC fund returns

    • 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?

  • 15

    Exit strategy and ROI

    • Exit strategy and ROI

    • Exit strategy and ROI

    • ROI and dilution

    • Calculate investor's ROI including dilution

    • Reading - How do VCs make money

  • 16

    Case study: Financial modeling and valuation

    • Case Study – Financial modeling and valuation

  • 17

    Submission: Customized valuation review and evaluation

    • Custom valuation submission

  • 18

    Venture funding downloads

    • Venture funding downloads

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