Information & Policies

General Information

Course Objectives

This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now influencing other locations around the world. You will learn the process used by technology entrepreneurs to start companies or other enterprises.  It involves taking a technology-intensive idea and finding a high-potential commercial or other opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to market and sell the product or service, and managing rapid growth. The class celebrates the entrepreneurial mindset … when others see insurmountable problems, people look for opportunities in technology-intensive business solutions. This entrepreneurial perspective is also a wonderful way of tackling big opportunities in social entrepreneurship, whether it is for the benefit of government sor NGOs (non-profits). Our detailed learning outcomes are:

  1. Appreciate that entrepreneurship is a mindset that values creativity, innovation, ethics, and leadership. It can be applied to all facets of personal and professional development in life.
  2. Learn how to differentiate between an idea and a viable opportunity to create and grow a high-impact business or enterprise.
  3. Develop an understanding of entrepreneurial strategy, marketing, and finance in pursuit of an opportunity.
  4. Practice essential skills for team formation and success.
  5. Examine the importance of entrepreneurial ecosystems and innovation clusters to healthy society and economies.

Who is this Course For?

This course is designed for undergraduates from all majors, including science, engineering, and humanities students who seek to understand an entrepreneurial mindset and the key processes in entrepreneurship and innovation. Topics introduced in this course are relevant for future founders of enterprises, future employees of an independent or corporate venture, and anyone seeking to understand and support entrepreneurship ecosystems.

How Do We Teach?

Through case studies, lectures, workshops, and projects that cover high-growth ventures in information technology, electronics, life sciences, green technology and other industries, this course provides the student with the tools necessary to successfully identify a true business opportunity and to start, grow and maintain a technology enterprise.

We have organized this course into three modules consisting of multiple sessions each:

  1. The Entrepreneurial Mindset and Opportunity
  2. Assembling Resources and Managing Growth
  3. Entrepreneurship and You

How Will You Learn?

Entrepreneurship is both an individual and team activity. Therefore this course incorporates both individual and group efforts. Students form project teams early in the quarter and meet regularly to prepare for class discussion. We encourage students to build groups with people from a diversity of majors and past experiences.

Each team will be required to complete written case analyses throughout the quarter. Teams are also required to complete assignments regarding an “Opportunity Analysis Plan.”  In addition, students submit individual assignments and complete a “Personal Business Plan” using methods learned in the course.

Group discussion is encouraged in preparing for both the team and individual assignments. Note that learning to successfully manage group dynamics, including conflicts and roles, is a key educational component of the course.

There is no final exam.

Time and Location

During this term, the course will be held only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30AM-10:20AM. All sessions take place in Y2E2 111.


4 units.  Letter grade.

Course Websites

Course Materials

  • The course is based upon a required textbook by Byers, Dorf & Nelson, Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, McGraw-Hill, 5th Edition, 2019. Visit this link for least expensive purchase options of a printed version or go directly to Amazon Prime with one-day shipping here. And try these links at Amazon and Chegg for affordable digital purchase and rental pricing. A copy of the 5th Edition will be on reserve at the Terman Library in Huang Engineering Center. Feel free to skim the first chapter of the textbook here.
  • HBS CoursePack (3 required cases)
  • See the textbook’s supplemental website at for recommended videos.


Students will be evaluated based on attendance and contribution to in-class discussions and sections, as well as timely completion of assigned readings and submission of assignments on canvas. Think of this as an opportunity to stretch yourself and learn skills like teamwork, public speaking, persuasive writing, and defending your ideas, as well as the fundamentals of the entrepreneurial process. The teaching team will endeavor to create a supportive environment, where there is no penalty for taking a definite stance and expressing new ideas.

Administrative Information

There are only ten weeks in this course, barely the minimum necessary to cover the essentials of this subject. Given the importance of class participation and its grading, we will do our best to get to know you quickly.  Feel free to discuss the course and your learning progress with the instructors at any time.  Given the pace of this course, we will do all that we can to use class time effectively and ask you to do the same.  This includes starting and ending on time.  We will end each class either early or by the end of the assigned period.  All of our distinguished guest instructors and speakers are aggressive, successful, and articulate.  Interrupt and ask them questions at any time.  They will be forewarned.  They will display an earnest desire to help you understand entrepreneurship.

Grading Policy and Assignments

This course is available for letter grade. Grading will be determined by a combination of individual (a total 50%) and team (a total of 50%) effort:

Note that this course has no formal final exam. There is an opportunity to earn additional credit. If you are on the “borderline” between grading levels, these assignments will be taken into consideration:

  1. Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leader talks in person (or via video and podcast) from this winter quarter.  Post your submission to Canvas by Friday at Noon PDT the day after Session #20 with a paragraph each regarding takeaways or lessons learned from any 2 of the 8 speakers.
  2. Course takeaways slide in Session #20.  With your team, produce and present one slide with your major takeaways for the course.  Post it to Canvas before the last session of class by 8AM PDT.  You will be given time to present it in class.

Students will be evaluated on their participation in classroom discussions, whether about the case under consideration or about the topic of the lecture. The grading of classroom participation is difficult because of an element of subjectivity not present in grading written assignments. Nevertheless, it is a vital part of the course. Most students feel comfortable in speaking up with thoughtful comments and questions, but some do not, and we wish to be fair to everyone. We will not be grading on “air time”, but rather on the quality of the question or comment. Participating in classroom discussions, freely and without fear, is strongly urged. No opinion is held in disregard, and only through active discussion can we arrive at some consensus of reasonable action. It is never our intention to embarrass anyone — if you are not prepared, let one of us know before class and we will not call on you. Being punctual, present and prepared for our class sessions is an important part of contributing to our learning community. Thank you for your commitment to be an active contributor to class discussions. If you expect to miss a class, please let the instructor know ahead of time via email. It will be your responsibility to find out what material was covered, what additional assignments were made, and to obtain any handouts you may have missed. No more than one unexcused absence is allowed without significant consequences to the course grade.

Required Readings

All assigned readings are to be completed before the session. Each required reading has been specifically chosen to provide a certain insight or skill; thus, every assignment is mandatory. Though there is no way to verify that students have read the material before class, all lectures, study questions, assignments, and exams assume a fundamental understanding of many concepts provided by the readings. Consequently, failure to keep up with the assignments will have an adverse effect on a student’s grade. In the Technology Ventures textbook, only a few highlighted sections in each chapter are required.

Supplementary readings are suggested that provide additional depth and richness for the topics considered each day. These readings are not required. While we hope that you will return to these readings as time permits, you are not expected to have completed the readings prior to class. As your time permits, we highly recommend skimming the recommended readings — an investment that we believe can be very rewarding.

Study Questions

You are encouraged to discuss each session in advance with your fellow students. In fact, you are required to form a study group consisting of four other students and then meet regularly before each class. These study groups will be formed early in the quarter. The study questions are helpful preparation aids for each case while meeting with your study partners. Use the study questions for each session to prepare for class; the answers are not to be included in the assignment to be posted on Canvas, although they may be used to focus and guide your homework discussion.

Online Assignments

Unless stated otherwise, assignments are to be submitted through Canvas by 8AM the day of the session. Name your file in the following way: E145_Case Name_Team Name (e.g., E145_Yahoo_AdventureCapitalistTeam). Please submit PDF documents.

  • Team Online Assignments — Team online assignments and case analyses are to be discussed as a team and then submitted though canvas. One submission per team please; The team online assignments will count towards the team grade. Teams will be assigned to either Group A or Group B. Each “grouping” of teams is responsible for submitting cases on their assigned day.
  • Individual Online Assignments — These assignments MAY be discussed in teams, unless the assignment explicitly states otherwise. However, each person must submit his/her own assignment. Online assignments should be clear and concise, and expressed in the same style as case analysis submissions. These online assignments will be counted towards the individual participation grade.

Case Analysis Guidelines

The case study is intended to give you an opportunity to apply the concepts of the course in the context of a “real” business situation. Each of the cases are based on a key situation or event in the history of a high-impact enterprise. The cases we will cover are:

  • Rent the Runway
  • San Francisco Soldiers
  • Dropbox
  • Nanogene
  • Gusto
  • Barbara’s Options

Submissions should reflect an understanding of the critical issues of the case, integrate the material covered in class and present concise and well reasoned justification for the stance that the group takes. Each case analysis should consist of:

  • A response to the question(s) under “Case Analysis” on the relevant session page of the  website (this is not necessarily what is shown at the end of the case itself – always defer to the syllabus or the website).  Clearly state the decision or recommendation for action with the appropriate supporting arguments.
  • A brief analysis of the situation and pending decision problem, as presented in the case, and as relevant to your answer. This should be exceptionally brief and you should assume the person reading the assignment is familiar with the details of the case.

Please read a tutorial on the case method prepared by Fred Gibbons.

The total length of each case analysis should be no more than two pages, with one page greatly preferred. Cases longer than two pages will receive a minus(-) grade. Team case assignments should be prepared as a team, but only one submission is required. Students may discuss individual case assignments with their group (and are encouraged to), but should submit their own work.

In general, use a bullet-point format and keep the submission short and concise.  The teaching team reads each response before class starts to optimize that session’s learning environment. Grading is on a “plus(+)/check/minus(-)” basis. We will often post one or two submissions to stimulate further on-line discussion.

Style Guidelines for Online Submissions

Avoid common errors in online assignments, case analyses and other submissions, such as:

  • Focusing too heavily on minor issues or those on which there are little data.
  • Lamenting because of insufficient data in the case and ignoring creative alternatives.
  • Rehashing of case data — assume the reader knows the case.
  • Not appropriately evaluating the quality of the case’s data.
  • Obscuring the quantitative analysis, making it difficult to understand.

Typical “minus(-)” grades result from submissions that

  • Are late, exceed the page limit, or lack clarity.
  • Do not address timing issues nor seem practical.
  • Get carried away with personal biases and are not pertinent to the key issues.
  • Are not thoroughly proofread and corrected.

Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities: Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) located within the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). SDRC staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the SDRC as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066).