Essential Business MOOCs In August


New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs


School: University of Maryland

Platform: Coursera

Registration Link: New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs

Start Date: August 3, 2015 (4 Weeks Long)

Workload: 3-5 Hours Per Week

Instructor: Michael Pratt

Credentials: A serial entrepreneur, Pratt has spent over 35 years in startup ownership, executive leadership, and finance. During his career, he has launched eleven startups and raised over $100 million dollars in capital. Aside from teaching at the University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurship program, he also serves as managing Partner of Select Venture Partners, an early stage investment management firm. Prior to this venture, he co-founded and operated SpydrSafe Mobile Security, a platform that was recently acquired by Okta. Another of his firms, Trust Digital, was purchased by McAfee. He holds an MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Graded: This course does not offer a Statement of Accomplishment. By completing this course, students can count it towards a Signature Track.

Description: This course covers investment from “idea to exit,” teaching students the language, process, and intricacies of generating funding for new ventures. Early on, the course reviews basics like balance, income, and cash flow statements, along with sharing the criteria used by investors to evaluate opportunities. From there, students learn how to identify investors and determine the best time for pursuing capital. In addition, the course will cover how to pinpoint their company’s worth and establish investment tools like stocks. As a final project, students will create a pitch for their company, along with learning strategies for closing funding deals. The course will consist of weekly video lectures and assignments, with performance evaluated through quizzes.

Review: “The instructor looks like a serious old fella. He just basically read from the PPTs he has written. So it’s actually perfectly OK to look at the PPTs directly anyways. The content looks more like a series of advice from an experienced startup guy than a coherent lecture series. It’s actually decently valuable. Although he might not be your top-notch startup guru(somebody like Peter Thiel, for example), he at least was not talking total nonsense and you could benefit quite a bit from going through the whole course, especially considering similar resources for free are rare. Also, the reading list he gave is generally sound and good.” For additional reviews, click here.

Additional Note: Pratt suggests that students complete Coursera’s “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship” before enrolling in this course.

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