Course overview – Venture Deals

I full-heartedly recommend the Venture Deals course taught by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, supported by KauffmanFellows and TechStars.

I took the course back in spring 2021 but check for upcoming sessions here.

The course introduces the world of venture capitalists (VCs), and shows what it takes startups to raise money and what’s the price they pay. Assignments are very practical, especially for founders actively looking for investors.

Approximate plan:

  • 1 – networking. What I liked is that many experienced VCs and founders took part in the course as well;
  • 2 – pithing your startup (we took PTFlab). It was nice to perform peer-review and see what ideas others come up with;
  • 3 – creating a capitalization table
  • 4 – liquidation preference. Just like captables, it’s about the financial side of the deal. But it’s useful to know not only for would-be CFOs. For instance, you start realizing that there’s a problem if a strat-up raises $300k with $500k liquidation preferences, as was the case for Eventbrite;
  • 5-6 – mock-negotiations between entrepreneurs and VCs
  • 7 – pitching your startup to potential acquirers

The course is taught by VC Kauffman Fellows, authors of the book Venture Deals. They describe many things from both perspectives – those of VCs and entrepreneurs which is very insightful.

Overall, taking the course was a great return on time investment (5-6 h./week), in terms of knowledge acquired.

One of the drawbacks though is the abundance of legal stuff. It’s clear one of the authors used to be a lawyer. But this doesn’t spoil the overall positive picture.