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Target audience

This course is tailored for aspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders, and business students eager to navigate the complex landscape of startup fundraising effectively. It's designed for those preparing for their seed round, interested in understanding the nuances of engaging with investors, or looking to master post-fundraising growth strategies. This course offers critical insights for anyone poised to elevate their startup.

Why this course is important

Startup fundraising represents a pivotal phase in the entrepreneurial journey, often determining the path to success or failure. This course unravels the complexities of the fundraising process, equipping you with the knowledge to confidently approach investors, deliver compelling pitches, and secure the necessary capital to drive your startup's growth. Beyond raising funds, you'll learn to align fundraising efforts with your long-term vision and market potential, laying the groundwork for sustained success and innovation.

General overview of the course

"Fundamentals of Startup Fundraising" delivers an exhaustive exploration of securing startup financing, from initial seed to substantial scale-up phases. It spans the entire fundraising journey—timing and methods for raising funds, understanding venture financing, engaging with investors, concluding deals, and managing growth post-fundraising. Through practical advice, real-world examples, and insights from industry insiders, participants will deeply understand what it takes to secure funding and propel their startups forward.


1) Harvard Alumni Association recognized certificate
2) Recommendation letter from the president of Harvard Alumni entrepreneurs 
3) Influential & well-recognized speakers (e.g., Alan Patricof, Jim Mckelvey, etc.) 
4) A set of pragmatic content by Beta after incubating 200 companies every year 
5) A rich Silicon-Valley-based investor network and global founders network

Learning Objectives


Comprehend the basics of venture financing and various fundraising strategies.


Navigate the legal and logistical aspects of closing fundraising deals effectively.


Identify the optimal timing for fundraising, considering your startup's stage and market opportunities.


Implement strategies for growth and investor relations following fundraising.


Master the skills of engaging with and presenting to investors, customizing your approach for different scenarios.

Guest Speaker

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John West

  • LinkedIn

Entrepreneur, Investor, Advisor

John West is an accomplished Entrepreneur, Investor, and Advisor with a wealth of experience in the startup ecosystem. With a premium account and over 500 connections on LinkedIn, John is highly regarded within the industry.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Passionate and committed to entrepreneurship, John has demonstrated his expertise through various ventures and advisory roles.

Currently, John serves as a self-employed Entrepreneur, Investor, and Advisor, a role he has held since May 2023. Prior to this, he was the Board Member and Chief Strategy Officer at Eleven Sports Media, a global sports and entertainment network, which was later sold to DAZN in 2023. Before Eleven Sports Media, John founded and chaired Team Whistle, a company that merged with Eleven Sports in 2021.

John's entrepreneurial journey began with Silver Oak Solutions, which he founded and chaired until its acquisition by CGI in 2005. He also gained valuable experience as a Partner at Mitchell Madison Group in New York City.

His extensive background and success in the startup landscape make John a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs. As an instructor for the course Startup Fundraising 101, John brings real-world insights and practical advice to help students navigate the complexities of fundraising in the startup world.


Introduction to
Startup Fundraising

Focus on the essentials of seed fundraising, crafting a fundraising strategy, mastering valuation and investor relations, perfecting your pitch, and closing the seed round.

Class 1:  Fundamentals of Seed Fundraising

Learning Objectives:

  • Why is seed funding crucial for startups, and what risks does it mitigate?

  • When is the right time to seek seed funding, and how does it validate your market?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How can seed funding transform your startup from an idea to a fully operational business?

  • What are the benchmarks for timing your fundraising efforts effectively?

Image by Headway

Class 2: Navigating Your Fundraising Strategy

Learning Objectives:

  • How do you determine your fundraising goal and manage equity dilution?

  • What are the pros and cons of using convertible notes and SAFEs in your seed round?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How does industry and location impact your seed round size and dilution expectations?

  • In balancing fundraising goals and equity retention, how do convertible notes and SAFEs play a role?

Image by Kaleidico

Class 3: Mastering Valuation and Investor Relations

Learning Objectives:

  • What factors influence your startup's valuation, and how can you benchmark effectively?

  • How do you navigate relationships with different types of investors, from angels to VCs?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Given the average pre-money valuation for seed-stage startups, how should you position yours?

  • What strategies can ensure a harmonious and productive relationship with your investors?

Image by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦

Class 4: Perfecting Your Pitch and Investor Meetings

Learning Objectives:

  • What elements make a pitch clear, concise, and compelling?

  • How can you effectively prepare for and navigate investor meetings?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • With investors spending an average of under 4 minutes on a pitch deck, what must yours include?

  • Considering the average number of investor meetings before closing a round, how can you ensure resilience and adaptability?

Image by Austin Distel

Class 5: The Final Leap: Closing Your Seed Round

Learning Objectives:

  • What steps and considerations are key in finalizing your seed funding round?

  • How can you navigate the legal complexities and maintain momentum until closing?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How does securing a lead investor impact the momentum and closure of your seed round?

  • What legal documents and terms should you be familiar with to protect your startup's interests?


Crafting a Winning Strategy

Explore equity vs. debt financing, the role of government grants and crowdfunding, building financial models, the importance of advisors, and understanding term sheets.

Class 6: Exploring Equity Financing and Debt Financing

Learning Objectives:

  • What are the core differences between equity financing and debt financing?

  • Why is it vital to understand both financing types for strategic fundraising?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Under what circumstances should a startup opt for equity financing over debt, and vice versa?

  • What success stories and case studies can provide insight into these financing methods?

Image by Kelly Sikkema

Class 7: Government Grants and Crowdfunding

Learning Objectives:

  • How can government grants and crowdfunding serve as pivotal alternatives to traditional fundraising?

  • In what ways do these strategies benefit startups at different stages?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the various types of grants and crowdfunding platforms available to startups?

  • How can a startup craft an effective campaign and navigate the legalities of these alternative fundraising avenues?

Image by Alexander Grey

Class 8: Building and Presenting Financial Models

Learning Objectives:

  • How do effective financial models contribute to appealing to investors?

  • What are the crucial financial health metrics for startups?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How should a startup construct its financial projections?

  • What case studies offer insights into successful financial modeling?

Image by Campaign Creators

Class 9: The Role of Advisors and Consultants

Learning Objectives:

  • How can advisors and consultants amplify your fundraising strategy?

  • What are the considerations in choosing advisors and offering equity for advice?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How do you choose the right advisors and weigh the option of consultants vs. advisors?

  • What role do board composition and advisor relationships play in a startup's journey?

Image by Amy Hirschi

Class 10: Understanding Term Sheets

Learning Objectives:

  • What are the key components of term sheets, and how do they influence negotiation?

  • Why is familiarity with term sheet intricacies crucial for successful negotiations?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the negotiation strategies that can lead to a fair and favorable term sheet?

  • How can common pitfalls in term sheets be identified and avoided?

Image by Scott Graham

Engaging Investors and Closing the Deal

Learn about identifying and reaching out to potential investors, the due diligence process, negotiation art, legal considerations, and managing investor relations post-fundraising.

Class 11: Identifying and Reaching Out to Potential Investors

Learning Objectives:

  • How to identify investors who align with your startup's vision and stage?

  • What strategies can enhance your outreach and effectively communicate your value proposition?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are effective methods for researching and categorizing potential investors?

  • How can networking and personal connections be leveraged to initiate conversations with investors?

Image by Amy Hirschi

Class 12: Due Diligence Process

Learning Objectives:

  • What does the due diligence process involve, and why is it critical for both parties?

  • How can startups prepare to streamline the due diligence process and address potential concerns?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are common red flags investors look for during due diligence?

  • How can creating a comprehensive data room facilitate a smoother due diligence process?

Image by charlesdeluvio

Class 13: The Art of Negotiation

Learning Objectives:

  • What are key negotiation strategies when dealing with potential investors?

  • How can understanding investor motivations and needs lead to more favorable terms?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the principles of effective negotiation in fundraising contexts?

  • How can startups navigate negotiations to avoid diluting too much equity while securing necessary funding?

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Class 14: Legal Considerations and Documentation

Learning Objectives:

  • What legal considerations must be addressed when closing a fundraising round?

  • How can startups ensure compliance and protect their interests during the fundraising process?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the essential legal documents required for fundraising?

  • How do intellectual property and regulatory compliance impact the fundraising process?

Image by Cytonn Photography

Class 15: Managing Investor Relations Post-Fundraising

Learning Objectives:

  • How can effective investor relations be maintained after closing a funding round?

  • What strategies can startups employ to manage expectations and foster long-term relationships with investors?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What communication strategies ensure transparent and productive investor relations?

  • How does board management and reporting requirements evolve post-fundraising?

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Mastering Fundraising Dynamics

Dive into the VC decision-making process, crafting winning pitch decks, negotiating with VCs, engaging with angel investors and accelerators, and preparing for Series A and beyond.

Class 16: Understanding VC Decision-Making Process

Learning Objectives:

  • What criteria and processes do venture capitalists use to assess potential investments?

  • How can startups align their pitches to meet the expectations of venture capitalists?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the key metrics and evaluation criteria used by VCs during the investment decision process?

  • How does the internal investment committee process of VCs influence their decision-making?

Image by Jason Goodman

Class 17: Crafting Pitch Decks That Win

Learning Objectives:

  • What elements are essential for creating a compelling pitch deck that captures investor interest?

  • How can storytelling and presentation skills enhance the effectiveness of your pitch?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the components of a winning pitch deck, and how can they be tailored to different investor audiences?

  • How does the art of storytelling play a role in engaging potential investors and conveying your startup's value proposition?

Image by Teemu Paananen

Class 18: Negotiating with Venture Capitalists

Learning Objectives:

  • What are the nuances of negotiation with venture capitalists, and how do they impact fundraising outcomes?

  • How can founders protect their interests while negotiating terms with VCs?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What negotiation tactics can be employed to achieve favorable terms with VCs?

  • How do founders navigate the balance between valuation, equity dilution, and investor demands?

Image by Kenny Eliason

Class 19: The Role of Angel Investors and Accelerators

Learning Objectives:

  • How do angel investors and accelerators contribute to the startup ecosystem, and how can they differ from VCs?

  • What are the strategies for engaging with angel investors and accelerators for early-stage support?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What criteria do angel investors and accelerators use to select startups?

  • How can startups leverage relationships with angels and accelerators to gain funding and mentorship?

Image by airfocus

Class 20: Preparing for Series A and Beyond

Learning Objectives:

  • What preparations are necessary for transitioning from seed to Series A funding?

  • How can startups manage expectations and demonstrate growth potential to secure further investment?

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the benchmarks and criteria for Series A readiness?

  • How do startups scale their operations and business models to attract Series A and beyond investment?

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