Startup Masterclass

This intensive one-day masterclass is designed to help you develop the knowledge and mindset to successfully build and launch an innovative new startup venture. It is led by Bret Waters, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor who teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford University. In one intense, fun day, we go through the entire process from an innovative startup idea to a launched and funded venture.

Who should attend:

The masterclass is suited for individuals who want to build and launch a successful startup, as well as corporate executives who want to help their teams develop the entrepreneurial mindset required for success in today’s world. 

Participants will receive:
A deeper understanding of the Silicon Valley methodology that has created ground-breaking innovation across many sectors, a sense of the global trends that are driving the next generation of startup innovation, and new connections. Participants will also receive a copy of the new book by Bret Waters, The Launch Path.

Workshop Structure:
The day is structured as if we are going through the entire process from a startup idea to a launched and funded venture, all in one day. Participants can apply the process to their own startup idea, or follow-along with a fictional startup venture that is provided.

Example Agenda:

  • 9:00am – Listen to the Waves.
    Where do great startup and product ideas come from?  Looking at history, what has typically been the genesis of ideas for innovative new products and services? How can we test and validate ideas?
  • 9:30am – Build Something People Want
    We have all seen a familiar failure pattern: companies that spend a lot of money building a new product that they are sure customers will love, only to launch it and find out that customers don’t want it. How can we avoid this? How can we create a replicable process for developing products and services that succeed?

    —Coffee Break—
  • 10:30am – Rapid Prototyping Exercise
    Using materials provided, participants will form groups, think of a new invention, and build a prototype of it. How would we test the commercial viability of this new invention?
  • 11: 45am- Draw the Landscape
    All startups and new products operate within a landscape of competitors and alternatives. Understanding that landscape – and how your venture fits in – is a crucial component to success. 

—Lunch Break—

  • 1:30pm – Create an Economic Model
    Understanding the underlying economics of a new product or service is obviously important, and a leading cause of startup death is CAC>LTV. How do we model the economics properly, and then refine that model toward success?
  • 2:30pm – Create a Capital Strategy
    In 2024 there are many great ways to finance a startup venture. How do you choose the one that is the best fit for your startup? How do you evaluate all the different sources and structures of capital available today?
  • 3:30pm – Frame a Funnel
    The purpose of a business is to get customers, profit from them, and keep them happy so that they come back again. Failing to successfully do this is the leading cause of startup death. So how do we build a customer acquisition funnel that succeeds and efficiently fuels an engine of growth?

— Afternoon Break—

  • 4:30pm – Be a Master Storyteller.
    Every great entrepreneur has the ability to tell a crisp, clear, and compelling story about what she’s working on  – and why it matters. What are tips and techniques for successful pitches and presentations?
  • 5:30pm – Pitch Session!
    Participants will use the skills learned during the day to each deliver a short pitch about their startup idea. Guest investors will give feedback, and a Grand Prize Winner will be chosen. 
  • 6:30pm – Capstone
    A capstone lecture that pulls all the day’s points together.

—Evening cocktail reception and networking—