• Startup College

    Guidelines for teaching "startups" at university

  • Goals

    The purpose of this course is to build, launch, and get customers for a businesses within one semester

    Build a team

    With a balance of skills
    Teams should be able to fully execute a minimum viable product without significant outside assistance.  Ideally the teams members have known each other before applying to the class.  

    Launch the MVP

     Minimum Viable Product
    The MVP requires a clear spec. By the midterm, every team should have a product launched and able to acquire customers. Remember that if you aren't embarrassed by your MVP you launched too late.

    Get Customers

    Users = Progress
    Start with friends and colleagues.  Focus on selling your first 10 customers one at a time.  Remember that startup succeed by having unusually good customer service (because the product almost always breaks). 

    Limit Lectures

    Teams learn when they face a challenge
    Unfortunately it is hard to "teach" startups.  Teams acquire new knowledge when the confront problems.  Learning from peers and from online resources is almost always preferred to learning from lecture. 

    No Focus on Investors

    Build, launch, grow, and then pitch
    Investors wake up everyday looking for growing businesses to invest in.  Create an MVP that doesn't require upfront investment, launch, and get customers (at least your first 10).  Then you have much more leverage when trying to raise money.


    Teams should apply together
    Because of the high expectations of the class, teams should be formed as quickly as possible and should come to the class with an idea.  Ideas should be judged on the ability of the team to build and launch an MVP - not the potential for being the next Google.
  • Syllabus

    Example syllabus for 14 week course with shopping period

  • Sample Application

    This is modeled after the YC application only simpler

  • Resources

    Online reading/tools to get your through the course