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Course Details

Welcome to Startup UNC! This is a practical course for bringing a novel business idea or research innovation to market. Participants can enter the Startup UNC pipeline at either Mod 1 or Mod 2.

StartUp-UNC is a series of courses designed to teach, empower and inspire entrepreneurial teams at UNC to launch commercial businesses and social ventures. Teams may comprise any mix of students, faculty, staff, and alumni at UNC. Courses combine lectures, workshops, guest speakers and hands-on expert coaching and mentoring. If you are a founder without a team, we will have MBA students who might be available to work with you but given the workload we do not encourage working alone.

StartUp-UNC offers four half-semester (mod-length) classes that begin in the fall and run through the academic year. Each course may be taken for 1.5 credit hours (regular tuition applies). Please be advised that the intensity of the StartUp-UNC courses require all students to devote significant time outside of the classroom to their venture and the completion of classroom assignments. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor.

The four StartUp-UNC courses are:

Below describes how these early Mods will work.

StartUp-UNC - Technology Assessment

Mod I: Monday 5-8pm
Lead Professor: Don Rose (Section 1)
Lead Professor: Jason Doherty (Section 2)

Student teams (MBA’s and PhDs) will evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies coming out of the research labs at UNC. These teams will assess the intellectual property, application areas, market need, and competitive landscape. At the end of Mod 1, recommendations will be made as to the commercial viability of the technology and the path going forward, either a license to an established company or the creation of a startup. Technologies for which there is a compelling case for a startup can move into Mod 2.

  • Technology Assessment Overview/Technology Presentations
  • Intellectual Property and Patent Landscape
  • Technology Inventory Presentations (Advisors present)
  • Application Discovery
  • Market Research Basics
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Final Presentations

StartUp-UNC - Feasibility

Mod II: Monday 5-8pm
Lead Professor: Dave Neal (Section 1)
Lead Professor: Don Rose (Section 2) Support Professor: Randy Myer

Students will enter Mod 2 as either a participant (“free agent”) who wants to join a team or a team (“venture”), an idea, project, or technology looking for team members. The ventures can come from MBA students with an innovative business idea, technologies from Mod 1, or elsewhere. The process for starting Mod 2 is as follows:

  1. Venture teams will pitch during the first class to acquire more team members (we recommend at least three team members total). If you have a full team, come to class but don’t pitch.
  2. After the pitching, participants (free agents) will speed date with the ventures looking for members.
  3. By the end of the night, ventures will have their teams formed. If your venture does not have enough members, you can either drop the course or join another team (preferable).

Mod 2 will answer the question “Do I have a viable business to pursue” based on extensive market research and customer discovery. By the end of Mod II, ventures will have a good sense of whether to proceed to Mod III.

  • Market Segmentation/Product Application
  • Beachhead Customers and End User Profile
  • Channel Strategy and Choice
  • Competition and Comp Advantage
  • MVP Development/Product Specs/Product Development Plan
  • End User/Channel Feedback
  • Final Presentation

StartUp-UNC - Strategy

Mod III: Monday 5-8pm
Lead Professor: Randy Myer
Support Professors: Scott Albert, Don Rose, Tim Flood

  • Market and Industry Overview (TAM also)
  • Bus Model/Revenue Model/COCA/Pricing
  • Strategic Partnerships/Licenses/Joint Ventures
  • Marketing and Sales Plan
  • Cost Assumptions and Proforma Model
  • Management Team and Boards
  • Final Presentation

StartUp-UNC - Financing

Mod IV: Tuesday 5-8pm
Lead Professor: Scott Albert
Support Professors: Randy Myer, Tim Flood

  • Exit Strategy/Valuation
  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants
  • Angel Investing
  • Venture Capital
  • Legal Issues/Due Diligence Process
  • Final Presentation