It’s all very well having a great idea, but whatever business you make out of it is unlikely to stand on its own two feet without some kind of financial backing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of entrepreneurs don’t have a spare $10 million or so lying around to chuck at whatever whimsical ideas they might have. That means starting a business is hard, very hard, because it means convincing someone to put THEIR money where YOUR mouth is.
For startups in the tech space, the solution to this problem (hopefully) lies in one of the hundreds of venture capital firms out there that are willing to make big bets on your ideas. Venture funding breathes life into startups, giving them the financial kick up the ass they need to get off the ground. But securing that kind of capital still isn’t easy. It’s difficult to sell your idea to an investor when you’re one of dozens of startups beating down his door, and in order to do so you’ll need an advantage. One of the biggest advantages comes from having a deep understanding of the venture funding process itself, knowing how to connect with potential investors, single out the right VC for you, and negotiate a satisfactory deal.
Entrepreneurs aren’t born with this knowledge, but luckily there are plenty of ways to learn it. One great resource that’s caught our eye is this new online course from the Kauffman Fellows Academy, taught by experienced venture capitalists Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, who are the cofounders and managing directors of the Foundry Group, an early stage VC firm located in Boulder, Colorado. The course lasts for seven weeks, with a commitment of just four to six hours per week, and aims to help students land the best possible venture capital deal for their startup upon completion.
Their course “reveals the secrets behind how venture financings really work,” providing students with insider knowledge on how negotiations proceed from the initial “sounding out” phase all the way through to signing on the dotted line. It’s more than just an online classroom, though, because students are also given the opportunity to engage with Feld and Mendelson themselves in a series of live video chats, and later to network with dozens of entrepreneurs and financiers from around the world.
As well as the course, we’d also like to mention a second great resource called The Startup Owner’s Manual by Bob Dorf, aka the entrepreneur’s bible, which is one of the best-selling small business and entrepreneurial titles on Amazon.