• 11 Lessons

    0.1 Innovative Entrepreneurship 101

    (Live Webinar Recorded June 10, 2023) Silicon Valley is the most innovative and economically productive region in the history of the world. This success is not a fluke, but a replicable machine. We have pioneered systematic tools to unleash creativity and enable the rapid creation of wealth. The tools of innovative entrepreneurship can be taught and applied across all business sectors and geographies. Indeed, the only way to stimulate rapid economic growth, break poverty, solve seemingly intractable problems, and create opportunities for all is to teach these tools to everyone. Innovative entrepreneurship, far from being a tool of inequality, is the most potent tool of substantive political and economic equality and opportunity available to us. A small handful of investors consistently find and nurture most of the “unicorns.” We have developed a “how to” blueprint of simple, direct, and powerful tools which can apply to businesses in all sectors, even though they are not generally taught or well known. This program gives an overview of those core principles of innovative entrepreneurship.
  • 1 Lesson

    0.2 Common Startup Mistakes

    This Special Free Course covers five common startup mistakes. David reviews frequent mistakes from over 20 years in Silicon Valley. (Mistake No. 1 should be not watching this course!) 50 minutes total. Free site registration required.

  • 17 Lessons

    1.101 Secrets of Innovative Companies

    This course explores the business realities of startups and tactics startups use to survive and grow. The course begins by discussing the business realities of…
  • 7 Lessons

    1.102 Creating Lean

    How to use Lean Startup methodology to define and create a product and business model. This course covers developing the idea, analyzing underserved market needs,…
  • 7 Lessons

    1.103 Design and Data

    This course will cover Design Thinking to create products and solutions which are human-centered, as well as tools for rapid ideation and testing. The course…
  • 7 Lessons

    1.104 Agile, Pivots, and Lean

    This course will cover the Agile software development methods of Scrum and Kanban, which focus on rapid, collaborative, cross-functional, and customer-centered design. It will then…
  • 7 Lessons

    2.101 Copyright and Trademark

    This course will cover the basics of copyright and trademark, then cover specific topics relevant to startup companies, including fair use, why software is licensed,…
  • 7 Lessons

    2.102 Patents

    This course covers the basics of patents. Why do patents matter and what are the basic requirements of receiving a patent? What is really meant by a patent needing to be novel and non-obvious? What do patents look like and what information do they contain? What are the steps to get a patent? How can you speed up or slow down the patent process for strategic benefit? What are some advanced offensive and defensive patent tactics to create offensive patents and protect yourself against competitors' patents? What are some practical issues startups face regarding patents, including employee claims, software patents, and patent trolls?

  • 8 Lessons

    2.103 Driving Innovation Through IP Strategy

    This course covers how to use a comprehensive, strategic patent program to drive innovation. What are the realities of patent litigation you need to know to create a defensive strategy? What questions will help you identify critical future opportunities for your business, including opportunities in adjacent markets and potential future pivots? How do you make it difficult for competitors to copy your innovations? What are some ways you can drive significant value for your company without litigating or licensing your patents? Are there tactics and processes that will help you be more creative as you think about your opportunities?
  • 8 Lessons

    3.101 Set Up Step By Step

    Although most entrepreneurs put little thought into the company’s formation, it is an important foundation. The choice of form of company (corporation, LLC, etc.) and jurisdiction (Delaware, Cayman Islands, etc.) allows entrepreneurs to optimize, among other things, governance and taxation. The course discusses some common formation mistakes, what factors entrepreneurs should consider when choosing an entity and location, and a number of practical factors most entrepreneurs ignore. The class then reviews step by step major issues in corporate and LLC formation.
  • 7 Lessons

    3.102 Common Stock and Options

    This course covers common (or ordinary) stock ownership, focusing on restricted stock and stock options. What is a normal vesting schedule and are there creative ways to handle vesting? What are some common pitfalls to avoid in issuing stock to founders and key employees? What tax issues dictate the ways you should use stock as a form of reward for key contributors (and not as an inadvertent form of punishment)? How do you administer a stock plan and set up a fair compensation system? What are the most common restrictions on stock ownership and which ones make sense for your business?
  • 8 Lessons

    3.103 Founders and Early Talent

    You will need many people to contribute to the early success of your new venture. In addition to founders, you will have advisors, consultants, and early employees. How do you correctly identify and compensate founders? How do you avoid common pitfalls in negotiating agreements with early employees and consultants? What should an invention assignment agreement contain and who needs to sign one? What terms should a founder’s agreement contain that will protect both the founder and the company?  
  • 8 Lessons

    3.104 Best Governance Pratices

    Although corporations are owned by stockholders, boards of directors make most of the major decisions, set the strategic direction of the company, and protect the interests of the stakeholders. Founders should build strong, independent boards to maximize the company’s chance of success and minimize risk. This course discusses creating a board, board meetings, board management, and common friction points between CEOs and their boards. The course also covers fiduciary duties, the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, the business judgment rule, “piercing the corporate veil,” indemnification, and D&O insurance. Every person who is a director of a company must be familiar with every concept in this course.
  • 6 Lessons

    4.101 Fundamentals of Startup Investing

    This course covers a number of fundamentals which drive best practices for investing in startups, including the fundamental theorem of startup investing, the structure and motivations of investors, what drives investment decisions, why deals are structured and priced the way they are, the need for transactional efficiency, why the demands of venture investing drive certain behaviors, and working with investors.
  • 8 Lessons

    4.102 Preparing for Fundraising

    Many companies make amateur mistakes which prevent them from successfully raising funds on the terms they want. Before you decide to raise funds, are you ready? How much are you raising and why? Do you have a credible plan and team to reach a next significant milestone? Have you identified the correct investors to approach? What is the process to raise funds and do you have the right materials? What is the diligence process and how can you prepare for it? What common fundraising mistakes should you avoid?
  • 7 Lessons

    4.103 Angels and Early Investors

    This course covers a number of topics relevant to early stage investments in startups from both the investor and company perspective. What are best practices for angel investors? What are the pros and cons of a convertible note financing versus a SAFE financing? What common issues do early stage investors face in later rounds and how can they protect themselves without hurting the company? What are common problems companies have managing early investors and what mistakes from early fundraising often haunt companies later?
  • 7 Lessons

    4.104 Venture Terms: Economics

    This course covers the fundamental economic terms in venture capital financings. What is preferred stock and why is it used? What are the fundamental economic terms of a deal, including the pre-money valuation and the raise? Who bears dilution from convertible notes and options? What is liquidation preference and the difference between non-participating, participating, and capped participating preferred? What are some “forced economic” terms in deals that companies should avoid? What terms do investors require in order to maintain their ownership in down rounds and future financings, including pro rata rights and anti-dilution? COURSE RELEASED NOVEMBER 9, 2020
  • 7 Lessons

    4.105 Venture Terms: Control and Protections

    This course covers non-economic terms in standard venture capital term sheets. What are the various definitive agreements that are part of a venture financing? How is a post-financing board of directors constituted? What protective provisions and veto rights do investors negotiate for their appointed directors and for themselves as shareholders? How do term sheets address founder compensation, stock vesting, and stock transfers? What is meant by drag along and co-sale? What are standard terms for representations and warranties, information rights, counsel fee reimbursement, and registration rights?
  • 8 Lessons

    4.106 Creating Cap Tables

    In this class, I show you how to create a capitalization table from scratch through a Series B financing using Excel and showing you all the formulas. How do you set up an initial capitalization at formation of the company with founders? How do you compute share price, purchased shares, and ownership from pre-money valuation and invested capital? How does one compute the option pool? How do convertible notes become equity? What are some examples of recapitalizations and cram downs and other issues that frequently come up in financings?
  • 9 Lessons

    4.107 Diligence and Disclosures

    Diligence is one of the most important parts of the financing process, and also one of the most ignored. It helps investors understand risk and set terms. It helps entrepreneurs fix issues. It affords an opportunity for companies and investors to reflect on all available information to set priorities and strategies. Diligence also protects executives and directors from later claims of liability for failure to disclose all relevant information. What are the securities fraud implications of the disclosure process? How does diligence work? What are representations and warranties and disclosure schedules? What is a diligence memo? How does an investor create a strategic roadmap from diligence?
  • 7 Lessons

    4.108 Strategic Investment and Venture Debt

    Many alternatives to traditional angel and venture capital financing exist. This course explores two of the most common: strategic investment and venture debt. What is a strategic investment? What are some of the risks from such investment and how can startups protect themselves? What opportunities do startups often miss with strategic partners? Should a startup take on venture debt? How is venture debt typically structured? What are some common pitfalls to avoid? COURSE RELEASED JANUARY 5, 2021
  • 7 Lessons

    4.109 How Venture Funds Work

    How are venture capital funds structured and why should entrepreneurs care? What are the various fees charged by funds, including management fees? What is carried interest? How does decision making work in a venture fund? Who are common limited partner investors? What do funds have to report to their limited partner investors? What does a venture capital fund term sheet look like? What are some common issues facing venture funds?
  • 7 Lessons

    4.110 Down Rounds

    Despite the best efforts of entrepreneurs, past financing deals often impede future company investment. In the case of a down round, new investors demand that the company reset and renegotiate its capital structure because the company’s disappointing performance justifies a valuation lower than the last round’s. What are some common down round structures? What are some of the common considerations that have to be balanced in a down round? How does a pay to play structure work? What are some alternatives to pay to play, including exchange mechanisms? What do term sheets and cap tables look like in down rounds? What other terms do investors often require in down rounds? What are steps boards can take to comply with their fiduciary duties?
  • 6 Lessons

    4.111 Other Funding Sources, Securities, and Bad Deals

    What other sources of funding exist for entrepreneurs? This course covers the pros and cons of self-financing, SBA loans, other forms of debt, accelerators, and crowdfunding. What securities exemptions do U.S. issuers commonly rely upon? This course covers Reg D, Section 4(2), Reg S, Rule 701, and Regulation Crowdfunding, with practical guidance for entrepreneurs and funds. Next, how can a company renegotiate a bad deal with an early stage investor? The course discusses various options, including repurchases, capital restructuring, resetting valuations, spinouts, and management carveouts. The course also cautions entrepreneurs not to undermine fair deals later. Finally, the course covers using broker-dealers and investment bankers for early stage fundraising.
  • 8 Lessons

    4.112 How Not to Raise Money

    The final course in Part Two: Financing a Startup covers dozens of errors in fundraising, from bad advice, amateur mistakes, stupid entrepreneur tricks, and other surefire ways to drive away potential investors. I only wish that the stories were not true. Most of the lessons should be straightforward for those who have watched the courses, but grab some popcorn and enjoy listening to the failures of others.
  • 6 Lessons

    5.101 Contracts for Entrepreneurs I: The Basics

    This course covers a number of important topics that entrepreneurs should understand about legal matters and contracts. Why is your legal function crucial to your success and how can you effectively work with your attorney and law firm? Why do contracts matter and what exactly is a contract? How do you think through the issues in a contract for clarity and precision? What are some tips for successful drafting? What are some common issues in all contracts to ensure you achieve the outcome you desire? What are common terms to almost all contracts? (COURSE RELEASED MARCH 2, 2021)
  • 6 Lessons

    5.102 Contracts for Entrepreneurs II: Startup Issues

    This course addresses many issues that face startups in contracts. What is a license? What rights should you give and receive in a license, what factors affect the field of use and scope of the license, and what are some common terms around exclusive licenses? What are common issues related to payments and royalties, including timing, computation, net or gross sales definitions, and audit rights? Who owns intellectual property created when two companies work together? How can you protect your IP from claims of joint ownership and contamination? What are common issues in software contracts for startups? What is open source software and is it a good or a bad thing for a startup to use? How do you understand and allocate risks in contracts? (Course released March 9, 2021)
  • 6 Lessons

    5.103 Trade Secrets and NDAs

    This course examines trade secret law and non-disclosure agreements in detail. Trade secret law helps protect your innovations cheaply and efficiently, but has severe limitations. NDAs are among the most common and important forms of contracts that most startups will sign. What can be protected as a trade secret? What are common pitfalls about relying upon trade secrets? What does trade secret litigation involve? Can I enforce trade secret claims against my ex-employees? Why have NDAs? Are certain types of NDAs important for different kinds of transactions? What is a typical definition of confidentiality? What are other common terms? What are some common disputes in negotiating NDAs? Are there any pitfalls startup companies should avoid in NDAs? What clauses should a company insert in an NDA for a potential M&A? The course reviews actual NDA terms in detail. (Course released March 16, 2021)
  • 6 Lessons

    5.104 Litigation for Entrepreneurs I

    Litigation is a fact of life for most entrepreneurs. Either you must sue to protect and vindicate your rights and interests or you must defend yourself. This course covers the reality of litigation from the perspective of an entrepreneur. What do you need to understand about the reality of litigation and the business, financial, and emotional toll it takes? How do you plan for litigation and what are best strategies? What do you need to know about complaints, answers, summary judgments, and other motions? What is discovery and do you cope with the burdens?
  • 6 Lessons

    5.105 Litigation for Entrepreneurs II

    Litigation is a fact of life for most entrepreneurs. Either you must sue to protect and vindicate your rights and interests or you must defend yourself. What do you need to know about depositions and testifying under oath? How do motions work, including summary judgment motions? What should you expect during mediation and settlement discussions? What should a settlement agreement contain? How do you respond to litigation as a company, including board management, document preservation, protecting the attorney-client privilege, and avoiding pitfalls, like extortion.
  • 6 Lessons

    5.106 Doing Business Globally

    What are some common issues companies should consider when doing business internationally? Have you considered your business, tax, and intellectual property strategy? Do you have the right internal and external expertise, realistic expectations, and a plan? What are common business structures to use in foreign markets? What intellectual property issues are most important to consider internationally? What is the ITC and should it form part of your global IP enforcement strategy? What are common labor and HR issues in foreign markets? What trade and regulatory issues should you consider before exporting or importing technology?