Professor Jianxi Luo
Department of Technology
This is a course about the strategies of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial firms. The focus is on venture creation while corporate entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship will be also discussed. The goal of the course is to prepare students with a systematic understanding of the processes, tactics, and strategies of entrepreneurship and venture creation. This course should be of particular interest to those interested in starting their own business, further developing an existing business, being member of the leadership team in a new company, or working in consulting or venture capital firms. By this course, we hope to help the students develop their contextualized passion and capability for innovation and entrepreneurship.
The course uses a learning-by-doing approach that combines classroom learning (lectures, case discussions, and guest speeches) and development of real ventures. This pedagogical approach aims to provide an opportunity for students to effectively learn by combining (1) absorbed existing knowledge and (2) personal venturing process experience, through (3) active scientifically-grounded thinking. We aim to treat the class as a community of would-be ¡°entrepreneurs¡± or ¡°innovators¡±, in which students are expected to actively exchange ideas, build friendships, motivate and support each other, practice theories, start up ventures, and gain experience of success and failure together.
The course is organized into two modules. In the first module, we discuss the fundamentals and concepts, including entrepreneurship itself, innovation, strategic planning, uncertainty management, ventral capital, etc. In the second module, we practice ¡°Starting a New Venture¡± through a required course project. We match the course project progresses with discussions of challenges and tactics involved in the process, including opportunity identification, team building, equity split, bootstrapping, early-stage marketing, raising capital, company valuation, exit and IPO, etc. The first module focuses on concepts and theories and is based on classroom learning, while the second emphasizes application and is based on the practice outside the classroom. To facilitate hands-on learning, we discuss real successful and failed startup stories of Nike, Apple, Pandora, Zipcar, etc.
Entrepreneurship can only be built through experience and experimentation. Thus central to the learning approach of this course is a real venture development project. Through this experience, students may learn hands-on experience and understanding of the process and tactics of starting up a venture, to add on their domain knowledge.
As the first step, each student is expected to identify an opportunity that motivates him/her most to work on throughout the semester (3 months), and eventually build a venture that take that opportunity to the market place. We particularly encourage students to explore commercialization opportunities of the enormous emerging technologies based on NYU-Poly research, and engage the faculty members and researchers whose expertise in the venturing domain can help the student entrepreneurs so as to improve their competitiveness and chance to succeed.
Then, students are encouraged (but not required) to form teams to develop ventures and are also allowed to engage external ¡°co-founders¡±, for example, a faculty adviser from NYU-Poly who can serve as CTO of the new company. The teams will report their progresses of team building in the middle of the semester and present their final business plans to the class in the end of the semester. The instructor (and practitioners who have agreed to serve as mentors of this course) will be available throughout the semester to advise student teams on their venturing strategies and efforts. External judges, e.g. venture capitalists or seasoned entrepreneurs, will be invited to the final business plan pitch presentations and offer their comments and support. Outstanding student teams will receive advice from experienced entrepreneurs and funding opportunities from the investors who attend our sessions. Student ventures which went through the entrepreneurship course/class have won NYU-Poly Time Warner InnoVention Competition. Check out ¡°Neocast.FM¡±, ¡°Seamless Infection Prevention Biosensor¡±, ¡°AppsBidder¡±, ¡°SparrowBox¡± on the competition¡¯s website.
Due to the uncertain nature of the entrepreneurial process, students may fail or succeed in creating a real business throughout this course. However, please do not give up the opportunity to try what interests you due to the fear of failure. The biggest failure in our life is not to try. It is a challenging process--as an entrepreneur, your vision is always ahead of what you have now, and because of that you always face resource scarcity to get close to your vision. Thus, entrepreneurship is a process to succeed through failures. And the core of the process is to learn through experiments and actions. The venture development practice will provide such opportunity for you to develop your own vision and action styles of entrepreneurship, and your own aspiration and senses of responsibility to create value for the society, and find the meaning of your own lives by the means of entrepreneurship.
This course has been enthusiastically supported by entrepreneurs and investors based in the greater New York area. Below is a list of them who have talked in class and/or supervised student venture teams.
- Managing Director, the NYU Innovation Venture Fund
- Managing Director, DreamIt NYC
- Managing Director and Founder, Upstage Ventures
Kent S. Charugundla
- CEO, American.net
- Serial entrepreneur and angel investor
- Co-founder & CEO, Legendary
- Former SVP Marketing & Partnerships, AOL
- Founder & CEO, Tenlegs;
- Partner, Booz & Co.
Victor Tang, Dr.
- Former Vice President, IBM China
Joeseph Nadan, Dr.
- Former SVP and Global CTO, GTECH
- Former SVP, Rich Division of Reuters
- Serial entrepreneur
- Founder and Director, Blessing Hands (501(c)(3)), based in Morehead, KY
- Social entrepreneur
- Director, Investments & Acquisitions, FourWinds Capital Management, Inc.
- Director, Corporate Planning & Development, FMC Corporation
David Gerstl, Dr.
- Assistant Director, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Kurt Becker, Dr.
- Associate Provost for Research and Technology Initiatives, NYU Poly
Richard Gross, Dr.
- Professor and Chair, Dept of Chemical & Bio.
Sciences, NYU Poly
- Director, NYU Poly Incubator Initiatives
- Manager, NYU Poly Varick Street Incubator
Discussions on University Spinouts.