Open Accelerator

The Open Accelerator Program is an MBA-style course that maps the journey from Company Formation through Exit.   The course is intended to provide global startup CEOs, government officials and educators the basic language and tools used by new and growing companies in Silicon Valley.   The Open Accelerator program has been taught in leading accelerators around the world and shared with international delegations from every continent.   It's a staple for Universities throughout the Near East and has been taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford and San Jose State.

The 10 two-hour blocks can be taught as:

  • One class per week over a quarter or semester (guest lectures filling in gaps)
  • One full week with morning and afternoon sessions
  • Individual modules avalable on a pick-and-choose basis.

This unique curriculum is the perfect complement to international delegations coming to Silicon Valley.   Extended stays for such delegations are made much more meaningful through learnings provided here.   Certificates are available for graduates.   Credit may be give to accredited university programs upon review and appoval. Contact us for more information.



Course Breakdown:



1.1A Course Overview - University Syllabus, Overview, Homework and Grading for a University Setting
1.1B Course Overview - Startups Week-by-week overview to set expectations for existing startups
1.2 Company Formation Incorporation, legal structures, Delaware C Corp, Swapping out international / domestic HQ
1.3 Equity Math Step-by-step building on equity through rounds of financing
1.3.2 Types of Equity Common vs. Preferred.  Vesting.  ISO vs. Non-Qual vs. ESOP
1.4 Outsourcing vs. Product Differences in business models between an outsourcing/contracting company vs. a scalable product/services company
1.5 Accelerators, Incubators History and business model discussion on WW accelerators
1.6 Startup Genome (2012) Review of a study featuring the top 20 entrepreneurial ecosystems WW
1.8 Silicon Valley History Silicon Valley history.  Geography and sector clusters within Silicon Valley as it evolved over time
1.9 Silicon Valley Customs Light-hearted discussion of business etiquette
1.10. Boulder Thesis The TechStars methodology for building entrepreneurial communities


2.1 Building your Team Team building including investors, board, service providers and employees
2.2 Recruiting Process A detailed view of why and how to bring employees on board
2.3 How to Fire When things go wrong, there is a proper way to make corrections
2.4 Personality Tests Several methods used to measure personal differences and applicability for teams

Market Research

3.1 Customer Development Overview of the Steve Blank Methodology.  Existing, Resegmented and New Markets
3.2 Customer Discovery The first step of the Four Steps to the Epiphany.   Connecting Customer need and Product Features
3.3 Design Thinking Introduction to the practice of Design Thinking
3.4 Market Resarch Basics Sizing your market through free / available sources
3.5 TAM SAM SOM How to  identiy and measure market size.  Language of TAM/SAM/SOM
3.6 Business Models Modern look at how to make money with your value proposition
3.7 Competitive Positioning MBA-style definitions of how to categorize the competitive environment 

Product Market Fit

4.1 Customer Validation Second step in the Steve Blank Methodology (Four Steps).  Can your product or service scale?
4.2 Lean Startup Basics of Lean Startup school of thought by Eric Reis
4.3 Business Model Canvas A dashboard to understand and run your business.  Other models presented.
4.4 Ecosystem Modelings Large scale view of how sub-systems relate to the whole in a number of industries.
4.5 Marketing Organization Functions and responsibilities within a Marketing department
4.6 Pricing Basics and Strategy Various pricing methodologies.  How to extract highest monies from your value proposition


5.1 Basics of the Sales Process Bulding and managing a sales funnel.    Bonus topic:  Closing techniques
5.2 Sales Force Structure and Compensation Look at channels and how to align compensation with strategy
5.2.1 Direct Sales Compensation Building compensation models to align with business strategy
5.2.2 B2G Seling to Government entities.   Contract and procurement process
5.3.3 B2C Online Sales Online sales process.   Alignment with marketing efforts
5.3 Customer Creation Step three in the Steve Blank methology.   Focus on product launch
5.4.1 SaaS Business Model Basics CAC, CLV, MRR.   Business models.   Alignment with marketing
5.4.2 CAC Understanding and calculating Customer Acquisition Costs
5.4.3 CLV Understanding and calculating Customer Lifetime Value
5.4.5 MRR, Cohorts and Churn Breaking open SaaS sales and business metrics
5.4.6 GPMM and rCAC Introducing new terms for measuring SaaS businesses
5.4.7 Advanced Churn Deeper look at Churn and how to minimize
5.4.8 SaaS Sales Economics Building a SaaS P&L
5.5 Funnels Graphically integrating marketing and sales strategies
5.5.3 Sales Lead Scoring Applying numerical relevance to sales lead quality
5.5.4 Marketing Analytics Tracking and closing leads
5.6 Online Marketing Social media and other promotional methods
5.6.1 Lead Generation Look at techniques and measurement for Lead Gen Email Marketing Best Practices Metrics as well as tips and tricks to improve performance
5.6.6 Marketing Automation Tools and vendors for Marketing Automation
5.7 Branding and PR What is a brand?  How to amp the company and how to grow.  Public relations as an industry
5.7.1 Silicon Valley Time The lifecycle of a brand in Silicon Valley

Financial Modeling

6.1 Company Building Step Four in the Steve Blank methodology.   Growing from ad hoc to structured systems
6.2 Building a Financial Model A bottoms-up review of income, variable and fixed expenses to build a full income statement.  Review of Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Stmts.
6.3 Revenue Recognition Principles Understanding how revenue hits your books.   Cash, Accrual and contracts.
6.4 Building a Financial Team Controller vs. CFO - strategy and timing.   AR, AP, Treasury and roles.

International Growth Strategies

7.2 Cultural Modeling Geert-Hofstede and Lewis models mapping cultural norms
7.3 Global Business Cultures Business practices in major entrepreneurial centers
7.3.1 Thinking - US vs. China A humorous depiction of cultural differences
7.4 International Expansion When, Why and How to expand internationally
7.5 Strategic Alliances and Partnerships What makes for a good partnership.  How best to structure M&A

Venture Capital, Pitching

8.1 VC Business Model How VC firms are structured and make money.   Example and IRR.
8.2 Angel Investing and Risk Strategies Overview of Angel Investing and Angel Groups
8.3 Investory Psychology 101 What makes an investor tick, an internal view
8.4 The Pitch A guide to developing a "standard" VC pitch
8.5 Your Investor Meeting How to get a meeting and what to expect once you do.  Good Investors vs. Bad Investors
8.6 A Regional Investment Strategy Discussion of how to incrementally bring investors to your territory. Presented Mongolia Dec 2015

Post-financing Management

9.1 Boards of Directors Why do you need a board and when.  Board structure in US, Europe, Asia and CIS
9.2 Managing your Board Communications and logistical issues.   Responsibilites of both sides.
9.3 Corporate Culture Considerations on building your own corporate culture
9.4 Human Resources Building a HR dept.  Roles and timing.
9.5 Post Funding Obligations Information rights, shareholder reports, etc.
9.6 Venture Debt Valid methodology for bridge financing in certain cases

Term Sheets, Due Diligence

10.1A  Course Review - University Review of goads, course feeback and  Grading for a University Setting
10.1B  Course Review - Startups Week-by-week overview to set expectations for existing startups
10.2 Seed Financing Structure of Angel Financing, Convertible Notes and SAFE agreements
10.3 Equity Crowdfunding Explanation of the new US rules and a strategy discussion on when to use
10.4 Valuation Different valuation methodologies used for early and later stage companies
10.5 Term Sheets Structure of a term sheet
10.6 Due Diligence Detailed review of items covered during due diligence
10.7 Crafting a Successful M&A Considerations for buyouts and mergers