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How to Build Successful Startups: Learn Lessons Straight from Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs

Monday, April 11, 2016 to Friday, June 3, 2016


Great companies, like great homes, can be built in many ways. Outstanding entrepreneurs, like outstanding architects, can learn much from the achievements of their predecessors. Designed for the budding entrepreneur, this course will introduce you to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors, and the varied ways in which they’ve constructed successful startups.

During the course, numerous guest speakers will assist us in addressing these and other key questions: How can you overcome the critical challenges founders face, such as assessing your own unique goals, skills, and capabilities; forming a complementary core team; creating a breakthrough product; and raising initial capital? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of companies, whether big or small, technology- or market-focused, a traditional for-profit startup or a novel social enterprise? Which development path would be best to get your company off to a strong start? Should you go it alone, apply to an incubator or accelerator, or begin pitching venture firms immediately? What are effective ways to raise growth capital from a variety of sources? With rapid growth, what new organizational, managerial, and competitive challenges might your company face? What are useful metrics for measuring a startup’s progress? And, if all goes well, what is the IPO process like? Finally, what vital technological, educational, cultural, and other resources does Silicon Valley offer startups today? 

Guest speakers tentatively include:

Neerav Berry, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Payplant 
Adam Cheyer, Co-Founder and Vice President of Engineering, Viv Labs 
Adam Draper, Managing Director, Boost VC 
Timothy Draper, Founder, Draper Associates and DFJ 
William H. Draper III, General Partner, Draper Richards LP, and Co-Chairman, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation 
Ambarish Malpani, Vice President of Engineering, Edmodo 
Ted McCluskey, Chief Medical Officer, Finance Technology Leverage 
Jessica McKellar, Director of Engineering, Dropbox 
Alan Mendelson, Partner, Latham & Watkins, LLP 
Jan Møller Mikkelsen, President and CEO, Ascendis Pharma A/S 
Daria Mochly-Rosen, The George D. Smith Professor of Translational Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine 
Camilla Olson, Founder and CEO, Savitude 
Cecily Anne O’Regan, Patent Attorney, Shartsis Friese 
George G.C. Parker, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Business 
Rob Reis, Founder and CEO, Higher Ground 
Elton Sherwin, President and Founder, Sherwin Advisors 
Glenn Winokur, CEO and Co-Founder, Synapse 

This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade. - See more at:


John Kelley, Co-founder and COO, OnRisk

John Kelley is the COO of OnRisk, which provides software services to the commercial insurance industry. Earlier, he founded 399 Innovation, which advises firms on invention and innovation strategy. He received a JD from Stanford, where he pursued an independent research track in artificial intelligence and law. Kelley also studied at Sorø Akadamiet in Denmark on an American Field Service Fellowship. 

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) William H. Draper III, The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs (ISBN 0230339948)
(Recommended) Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living (ISBN 1578516447)
(Recommended) Jessica Livingston, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days (ISBN 1430210788)
(Recommended) William F. Miller et al., The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ISBN 0804740631)


Fee applies.