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Carl Byers

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

This course aims to develop students into people who are competent at creating new ventures and effective at using the related language of finance. Meeting once per week for in-depth sessions about both finance/accounting and entrepreneurship, students learn the tools and concepts behind building, assessing, and communicating about new ventures. Entrepreneurs create novel services, products, and organizations in the hopes of delivering value-both financial and social-to the world. Foundational to such work is an understanding of the language of finance and the process of developing new ventures, both of which are explained in the first half of this course. While learning terminology and concepts, students work on a self-defined new venture (whether real or hypothetical) and build a robust business model and financial plan. From this starting point, students in the second half of this course take their ideas to the next stage of development by engaging in work "outside the building" to refine their business model hypotheses and their financial assumptions. They also learn in depth key financial concepts related to entrepreneurship, with a particular emphasis on the types of financing transactions that are needed to fund innovation and growth. Five different “term sheets” will be analyzed to reveal key terms, constraints, and deal dynamics related to different financing structures (including structures related to for-profit and not-for-profit ventures). By practicing the work entrepreneurs must do in early stages of launching a new organization, from "customer development" to doing deals, students will aim to improve the ideas, strategies, and tactics related to their plans and thereby increase the odds of success. The students engage in three simulations directly related to the process of creating new ventures, including: a design-thinking workshop to aid in the development of ideas; a working capital management simulation to emphasize the importance of key balance sheet levers; and a start-up financing simulation to demonstrate what it is like to do deals under time pressure and in the absence of perfect information. These interactive sessions are designed to reveal key issues and challenges, so that students can reflect on lessons learned and embed those insights into an enhanced operating plan. The course culminates in a financial pitch document that conveys the goals and operating model of the new organization, the key learnings from “customer discovery” work in the real world, and the financing strategy / structure proposed to enable the new venture.

Due to a heavy overlap in curriculum, students who have completed MLD-829M: Fundamentals of Entrepreneurial Finance generally may not take MLD-840 for credit. In exceptional cases, students who have taken MLD-829M may be admitted into MLD-840 with the instructor's explicit permission. Additional work would be required in such cases, to make up for overlaps in the curriculum. MLD-829M is recommended as a complement to MLD-830 and MLD-831, and may be taken concurrently with MLD-831.