Ever had a high tech business idea? Ever want to launch a startup to make it happen?
This course prepares students for the pivotal precondition of high tech venture launch: attracting capital. It does so via an accelerated introduction to three skills critical to raising capital and funding startups, yet too often underpracticed and underutilized: Presentation, Negotiation, and Branding.
To prepare for the rigors of seeking and acquiring capital, the broad outlines of rhetoric must first be investigated. Students take general principles of rhetoric and apply them to oral Presentation. Then students apply principles of Presentation to the special question of attracting capital to a specific business plan—in both live and filmed formats.
To prevail in post-presentation questions, term sheets, and ongoing contracts—all of which follow a successful presentation!—entrepreneurs require immersion in the scientific foundations of Negotiation. To this end students examine negotiation techniques ranging from organizational principles to psychological bases, and from verbal tactics to the strategic logic of arbitration.
To successfully deliver a presentation in the first instance, to win financial negotiations thereafter, and to negotiate with potential investors and customers, entrepreneurs must understand, plan, and execute strong Branding from the outset. To that end students explore the strategic possibilities of centrality versus distinctiveness, self-awareness versus customer awareness, effective storytelling and mapping branding campaigns into effective marketing materials.
To achieve the foregoing students form teams to refine, rehearse, brand, pitch, and negotiate business plans they have developed outside of class, whether on their own or within other entrepreneurship courses, or which they are currently developing on their own or within other entrepreneurship courses. Students are evaluated on public presentations in both live and filmed formats, as well as individually on case-study preparation and participation.
Students who successfully complete the course will be well positioned for both entrepreneurship competitions now, and real-life capital acquisition in the future. Indeed, this course is a force multiplier whether you intend to move quickly on the entrepreneurship front or climb the corporate ladder at an established engineering firm: These skills are required. This course provides the best fit for students who have already taken, or who are concurrently taking, ENGIN 6790 (which outlines how best to find a good idea—not a trivial question!) or ENGIN 6020 (which illuminates how to build a complete business plan around one’s research).
Research may be profound, science fundamental, and scholarship gratifying—but without launching a venture and commercializing an idea, it will never change the world. To do that, you must first attract capital—and doing so depends directly on your ability to strategically Present, Negotiate, and Brand.