VENTURE CAPITAL UNLOCKED: SECRETS TO SV INVESTING

A 2-Week Course with 500 Startups and the Stanford
Center for Professional Development Jul 25 - August 5th, 2016

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course-schedule
The Insiders’ Guide to Silicon Valley Investing is a 2-week course covering the strategies, tools and tactics of tech investing. IGSVI is led by 500 Startups, the most active seed investor in Silicon Valley and in the world, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

As a participant, you will learn the ins and outs of angel and venture capital investing from world-renowned Stanford faculty and experienced 500 Startups staff, including how to develop your own data-backed investment thesis and framework.

The course program combines lectures, case studies, networking, and practice in the field, including visits to some of Silicon Valley’s top startup incubators and face-to-face meetings and analysis of over 30 companies currently raising capital.

The course schedule from our previous May 2015 IGSVI is below.

 

Monday, May 4, 2015 – Topic: Stakeholders

 

Start End Activity Session Description
8:30 9:00 Introductions and Overview of the Program In this first session we will get to know the teaching team from both Stanford and 500 Startups, describe the roadmap for the program, and get to know the participants.
9:00 10:20 The Silicon Valley Perspective and the Process of Innovation The session will help participants develop an understanding of the historical underpinnings of the Silicon Valley Culture, and how to play in it.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 VC Structure & Returns: History, failure rates, how are returns generated? In this session, participants will learn how different funds select investments to build a portfolio.  The portfolio is based on the fund focus, its size, and the segments it chooses to invest in. Through learning this, participants will gain an understanding of different VC investment theses, and will have a clear understanding of what could be expected in terms of returns and performance when making investments.
12:00 1:00 Lunch On Campus
1:00 2:20 Beyond traditional VC’s: Online funding and changes in Venture This session will look at how online funding platforms have changed the face of venture capital. Participants will learn how the critical functions of sourcing, deal analysis, and network-building have shifted with the rise of online funding.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 De-risking through multi-stage financing We will look at the timing of financing against key product development and go-to-market milestones. We will also learn how to assess portfolio companies’ execution strategy via milestone identification.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Early Stage Risk Management and portfolio management In this session, participants will learn the role that investors play in managing risk within their portfolios. The session will cover how and when investors should get involved in portfolio companies, and will look at case studies of current active 500 investments and when to double down..

 

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – Topic: Opportunity Assessment

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Opportunity Assessment Framework: The Keys to Deal Evaluation (Part I) In this session we will introduce a six component framework used to assess an investment opportunity, and will learn how the components are interrelated.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Opportunity Assessment Framework: The Keys to Deal Evaluation (Part II) We will continue the development of the opportunity assessment framework, and review a few examples of companies with different approaches to addressing each component. These two sessions give investors a structure for deal evaluation and a tool to thoroughly understand the entrepreneurs’ approach.
12:00 1:00 Lunch On Campus
1:00 2:20 Opportunity Assessment: 500 Startups Approach This session will give participants a detailed overview of the unique approach to seed investing that has enabled the relatively small team at 500 Startups to close over 1,000 investments in over a dozen countries around the world.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Mapping Investment Trends: Fintech, Digital Health, Internet of Things (IoT) We will review some key examples and associated trends in current “hot” areas and share tips for evaluating such deals.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Mapping Investment Trends: e-commerce, mobile, SaaS In this session, participants will take a closer look at trends and opportunities in the three specific verticals of e-commerce, mobile, and SaaS. Participants will hear from entrepreneurs in these sectors who will give a firsthand account of important historicals and what’s to come.
6:30 8:00 Dinner

 

 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – Topic: Portfolio and Due Diligence

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Investment Thesis Creation for Early Stage Funds In this session, investors will learn how to create an investment thesis, which can be viewed as a set of filters to help organize the investment strategy, and guide decisions about what not to invest in, and what to consider investing in.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Due Diligence: Checklist for evaluating early warning signs When evaluating possible investments, it is important to understand the classic problems that often characterize early stage companies. In this session on due diligence investors will learn how to discover these problems early in the investment process, and avoid them.
12:00 1:00 Lunch On Campus
1:00 2:20 Understanding Ownership: Cap tables and term sheets The session will cover the some key investment terms that every investor should know. We will discuss the pros and cons of convertible notes with caps versus priced rounds, and learn about managing ownership over time.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Sourcing and Networking In this session, participants will learn the 500 approach to sourcing and network-building. Participants will understand the strategy and techniques that have enabled 500 Startups in short span of time to become a globally recognized brand generating consistent dealflow.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Preparation for Preview Day: Matching Opportunities to your investment thesis Participants will be given instructions that will help them try out the investment thesis they have started to develop against deals they will see at “preview day”. Through this exercise they will start to refine their thesis against reality.

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015 – Topic: Networking Meetup and Preview Day

 

Start End Activity Session Description
10:00 12:00 Networking Meetup with LPs and Mentors: Generating Deal Flow at 500 Startups This is a meet-and-greet session designed to facilitate “off-the-record” conversation and relationship-building between participants and current active mentors and LPs in the 500 network.
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:20 Preview Day at 500 Startups: An Early Look at Pitches and Final Prep 500 Startups Preview Day is a limited-attendance, invite-only event for accredited investors to get an early look at the companies in the current 500 Accelerator Batch. Preview Day is smaller and more intimate than Demo Day, and is a chance to kick off early conversations between founders and potential investors.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Preview Day at 500 Startups: An Early Look at Pitches and Final Prep 500 Startups Preview Day is a limited-attendance, invite-only event for accredited investors to get an early look at the companies in the current 500 Accelerator Batch. Preview Day is smaller and more intimate than Demo Day, and is a chance to kick off early conversations between founders and potential investors.
4:00 5:00 Drinks and Networking

 

 

Friday, May 8, 2015 – Topic: Deep Dive Review of Preview Day

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Group Exercise: Pairing preview day with your investment thesis (Part 1) In this session, we will spend time reviewing the notes and “preview day” experiences of participants. Focus will be placed on participants’ evaluation of real companies against their investment theses. Participants will present their findings and receive feedback from their peers and from faculty.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Group Exercise: Pairing preview day with your investment thesis (Part 2) In this session, we will continue spending time reviewing the notes and “preview day” experiences of participants. Focus will be placed on participants’ evaluation of real companies against their investment theses. Participants will present their findings and receive feedback from their peers and from faculty.
12:00 1:00 Lunch On Campus
1:00 2:20 Roundtable Discussion of Group Exercise Following participant presentations of “preview day”, the faculty and participants will collectively summarize the experience and tease out the fundamental lessons learned.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Head to StartX
2:40 4:00 Understanding the StartX model and Reviewing Some Current Companies Participants will get the opportunity to visit StartX.  StartX is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the development of Stanford’s top entrepreneurs through experiential education.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Reception/Happy Hour Participants will get further opportunities to meet at network with peers, Stanford faculty teaching this program, and the 500 Startups team.

 

 

Monday, May 11, 2015 – Topic: Accelerator

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Grow Your Own: How (and Why) We Run the 500 Startups Accelerator + Seed Fund In this session, we will share the strategy and methodology behind the 500 Startups Accelerator program and behind our Seed Fund, which together have funded over 1,000 companies to date. We will share an overview of our investment thesis and suite of portfolio services that enable a small team to support our large portfolio of companies at scale.
10:20 11:00 Coffee Break and Networking: Fireside Chat with a Portfolio Company In this session, participants will meet a company that has been through the 500 Accelerator and how they exited.
11:00 12:00 Building Global Presence with 500 Startups as launchpad This session will look at how 500 Startups has become the only seed stage investor in the world to scale its global operations to cover over a dozen country markets in regions around the world.
12:00 1:30 Lunch + Transit
1:30 5:00 Field trip: visiting few other accelerators This series of sessions will take participants to the headquarters of another leading accelerator in the area.

 

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – Topic: Angel Investor Meetup and Demo Day

 

Start End Activity Session Description
10:00 12:00 Angel Investor Meetup This session is a chance to meet and greet current active angel investors that are part of the 500 network. Participants can expect casual and “off-the-record” conversations and Q&A.
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:20 500 Demo Day Demo Day is a special, invite-only 500 Startups event for accredited investors. Companies in the current 500 Accelerator Batch pitch and present on stage and are available for networking and follow-up conversations afterward.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 500 Demo Day Demo Day is a special, invite-only 500 Startups event for accredited investors. Companies in the current 500 Accelerator Batch pitch and present on stage and are available for networking and follow-up conversations afterward.
4:00 6:00 Drinks

 

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – Topic: Customer Development (Behind the Scenes with founders and angels)

 

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Bring me an angel In this session, current active angel investors will share their perspectives on the biggest opportunities and challenges that participants should watch for when diving into angel investing.   
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Founder perspective: the rollercoaster In this session, we will hear from current 500 founders on their experience raising angel and seed investments while steering their companies through critical early growth phases. Participants can expect to walk away with better empathy and insights to enable more meaningful relationship building with founders.  
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:20 Speed Networking with founders In this series of sessions, participants will meet and get to know current founders through structured networking conversation. Participants will practice asking the right questions and listening for key founder details in rapid-fire format.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Speed Networking with founders In this series of sessions, participants will meet and get to know current founders through structured networking conversation. Participants will practice asking the right questions and listening for key founder details in rapid-fire format.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Speed Networking with founders In this series of sessions, participants will meet and get to know current founders through structured networking conversation. Participants will practice asking the right questions and listening for key founder details in rapid-fire format.

 

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015 – Topic: Helping Companies Grow and Exit

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Investing in Our Investments: How We Help Companies Grow with 500 Distribution (Growth Marketing) This session presents an overview of the 500 Startups Distribution Program, a unique suite of portfolio services covering startup growth provided by an in-house team of growth marketing experts. We’ll look at the specific methodologies used by “500 DISTRO” to help Accelerator and non-Accelerator portfolio companies understand and operationalize their customer growth, and we’ll also examine how this program impacts the 500 Startups portfolio performance.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Exit Strategy: A Look at M&A This session will cover mergers and acquisitions as an exit strategy for startups and their investors, including environmental context and individual company success factors. We will look at case studies of past M&A exits from the 500 Startups portfolio.
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:20 Field Trip: What others do to help companies grow In this series of sessions, we will look at a selection of portfolio support services offered by other leading funds.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Field Trip: What others do to help companies grow In this series of sessions, we will look at a selection of portfolio support services offered by other leading funds.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Field Trip: What others do to help companies grow In this series of sessions, we will look at a selection of portfolio support services offered by other funds.
6:30 8:00 Closing Dinner

 

Friday, May 15, 2015 – Topic: Lessons Learned

 

Start End Activity Session Description
9:00 10:20 Group Exercise: Pairing demo day with your investment thesis In this session, we will spend time reviewing the notes and “demo day” experiences of participants. As before, focus will be placed on participants’ evaluation of real companies against their investment theses. Participants will present their findings and receive feedback from their peers and from faculty.
10:20 10:40 Coffee Break and Networking
10:40 12:00 Group Exercise, cont: Pairing demo day with your investment thesis In this session, we will continue spending time reviewing the notes and “demo day” experiences of participants. As before, focus will be placed on participants’ evaluation of real companies against their investment theses. Participants will present their findings and receive feedback from their peers and from faculty.
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:20 Roundtable Discussion: Open Questions Following participant presentations of “demo day”, the faculty and participants will collectively summarize the experience and tease out the fundamental lessons learned.
2:20 2:40 Coffee Break and Networking
2:40 4:00 Shark Tank: Early Stage Company Investor Presentation As the participants move from introductions (preview day), to demos, to investment meetings, this session will allow the participants to experience the structure and content of a real VC investor presentation.  Participants will receive a complete VC investor presentation from founders of a real company, and be able to ask questions and conduct an investor meeting with them. Faculty will provide guidance on running an investor meeting.
4:00 4:20 Coffee Break and Networking
4:20 5:40 Wrap Up and Graduation This final session will summarize the program content and provide a strong launch pad from which investors can confidently proceed forward with investment decisions.  A short graduation ceremony will conclude the program.


Note: All sessions are subject to change.

The next IGSVI course is coming November 2015.
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