iStartup is a twelve week course-plus-simulation designed to provide you with not only the basic tools and vocabulary of new ventures, but also a sense of what it feels like to start, fund, and manage such a venture. If the iStartup course were a cocktail, the recipe would be: one part Entrepreneurship 101 and one part Amazing Race.
Required Books, Articles and Case Studies:
Wassermann, N. (2012). Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Touve, D (2012). STRTP: Startup principles, practices, and paradoxes. Available (for free) in the Notes section of this site.
The details for required articles for the course are listed in the Schedule. All of these articles are available through the electronic resources of the W&L Library.
A set of case studies (the so-called “casepack”) can be purchased, in PDF format, directly from Harvard Business Publishing via this URL: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/access/16816324
Supplemental Books and Readings:
Shane, S.A. (2008). The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Supplemental readings are listed in the Schedule.
More about the course…
The readings have been chosen to introduce you to a range of terms and tools that can be applied towards the management of a startup venture. Furthermore, these readings may challenge any assumptions you have about who an entrepreneur is and what it is that we entrepreneurs do.
The lectures and case discussions are designed to go beyond the readings and provide additional substance to spark critical inquiry around not only the arguments and the approaches presented in the readings, but also the issues faced by startup ventures. During these lectures and discussions I will do my best to help you creatively and critically apply—rather than regurgitate—what you have learned during this course and others at W&L.
The garage involves times when we meet together either to interact with guest speakers, or to work on the components of group projects.
The simulation is designed to actively engage you in the challenges of the course through the development of workable solutions in a startup context (aka, learning by doing). As part of this simulation, each team will find itself acting as both founders of a startup venture and funders of such ventures. This simulation will involve a series of communications, negotiations, milestones, and decision moments that mirror those you might face in a live venture.
The assignments are designed to provide students with the chance to exercise what they (hopefully) learn in class, through the development of three key deliverable types: (a) presentations made to relevant stakeholders (e.g., investors, partners, grantmakers, etc.), (b) agreement memos through which you describe the details of and explain the reasoning behind agreements you have made as part of the simulation, and (c) briefs through which you individually pitch your own startup ideas.
The learning objectives of this course are as follows:
- You should become familiar with a set of concepts and analytical methods common to the discipline of entrepreneurship;
- You should gain experience applying these concepts and employing these analytical methods learned in the class to the challenges faced by startup ventures;
- You should gain experience explaining your ideas and justifying your decision-making in a coherent and persuasive manner, both in writing and face-to-face presentations;
- You should gain experience converting your ideas into actions, actions that have consequences, consequences that may be anticipated or unanticipated yet require your reasoned and timely reaction;
- You might actually have fun!