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University of Colorado Boulder

Forming, Funding, and Launching a Technology Startup Company

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


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This course starts with a close look at entrepreneurial finance, revenue models, and sources of startup funding. Learners will build a revenue model, create a Financial Plan for a new startup idea, and prepare an investor presentation for raising capital. Business legal structures are reviewed and some of the key legal considerations and pitfalls for startups are examined. Intellectual Property (IP) is presented as a business strategy for creating value and building competitive advantage. The role of ethics in a startup environment is explored in the context of an entrepreneurial mindset. The value of building a learning organization is presented. Startup growth strategies for building technology companies and exit options for technology entrepreneurs are reviewed. Learners will complete a business plan for a new product or service idea. Forming, Funding, and Launching a Startup Company can be taken for academic credit as part of CU Boulder’s Master of Engineering in Engineering Management (ME-EM) degree offered on the Coursera platform. The ME-EM is designed to help engineers, scientists, and technical professionals move into leadership and management roles in the engineering and technical sectors. With performance-based admissions and no application process, the ME-EM is ideal for individuals with a broad range of undergraduate education and/or professional experience. Learn more about the ME-EM program at


  • Revenue Model & Pro Forma Income Statement
    • This section introduces revenue models and pro forma income statements. Alternative revenue models are discussed, and the detailed analysis of a simple unit revenue model is provided. A spreadsheet tool for building a proforma income statements is reviewed and provided as a resource. Learners will use the tool to complete assignments. Cashflow and breakeven are also reviewed.
  • Startup Funding Sources
    • Key funding concepts and considerations for startups are introduced and potential sources of funding are identified. Debt and equity financing options are compared in addition to angel and venture capital investors. Important factors related to startup valuation, capitalization tables, and the due diligence process are also presented. Alternative funding options including government grants and crowdfunding websites are introduced.
  • Integrating & Presenting the Business Plan
    • This section introduces the final components to the business plan including the Executive Summary, Company Overview, Risk Analysis, and the Financial Plan. Topics covered include managing, distributing, and presenting the business plan.
  • Company Formation & Legal Considerations
    • Options for the legal structure of a new business are presented along with some of the pros and cons of each. The different types of intellectual property are reviewed with emphasis placed on the value they bring to the firm. Legal issues related to hiring employees are examined along with some of the common legal challenges faced by startups.
  • Launching & Growing a Startup
    • The role and impact of entrepreneurial ethics in the formation and growth of technology startups is reviewed. The importance of a company culture that promotes ethical decision making and actions is emphasized. The value of building a learning organization from the beginning is discussed and several common growth and exit strategies are presented.

Taught by

John E. Thomas


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