Technology Ventures

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
International Business
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None.

Additional student cost: 

None.

Description: 

This course is designed to help the student explore and learn how to start and manage a new technology company. Develop a minimum viable concept, and product, determine a marketing and financial strategy, identify the steps to create your product and learn how to protect your intellectual property. Meet with early stage technology companies in Dublin who will share their experiences and learnings. The course familiarizes you with strategies for building new businesses and how to develop a business plan that appeals to venture capitalists. Create and hone your pitch with feedback from Irish venture capital firms.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • To demonstrate knowledge of current practices in technology venture formation
  • Understand the steps involved in creating a minimum viable product proposition
  • Develop the skills to test the proposition with a reachable market
  • Be competent in understanding market feedback to iterate product and market to achieve ‘product market fit’
  • Understanding the technology aspects and decisions required when building a tech start up
  • Learn the engagement practices in securing funding for the venture
Method of presentation: 

Students will, in weekly classes, learn through lectures, class discussion sessions, individual lab work, group work, tutorials, guest speakers, and mentor webinars. Meet with founders of early stage Dublin technology companies. Students will share, post their learning and interact through a dedicated Linkedin Group.

Field study: 

Site visits and guest lectures may include:

  • Guest Lecture – Gary Leyden, Director NDRC
  • Guest Lecture – Leo no ra O’Brien, CEO Pharmapod (seed funded start-up)
  • Site Visit – NDRC LaunchPAD
  • Guest Lecture – Tony Gallacher, CTO, Changing Worlds, (Technology Fundamentals)
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class participation & attendance - 10%
  • Design of Business Model Canvas - 30%
  • Investor Presentations - 30%
  • Final Exam – 30%

Design of Business Model Canvas

  • Format: 20 minute (maximum) formal presentation to a jury of two, followed by 10 minutes of oral feedback.
  • Value: This assignment is marked out of 100 and weighted at 30% of the total marks for the module.
  • Group size: Groups of 4-5 students as explained in class, encompassing a gender mix within your class group.
  • Details: Present the Business Model Canvas for the group to Lecturer and 2 external assessors. Cover all areas of the canvas to rigour. Marks will be allocated based on completeness of content, accuracy of measurement process, and assessment of key/core assumptions.

Investor Presentations

  • Format: 10 minute (maximum) formal presentation to a jury of two, followed by 5 minutes of questions and answers.
  • Value: This assignment is marked out of 100 and weighted at 30% of the total marks for the module.
  • Group size: Groups of 4-5 students as explained in class, encompassing a gender mix within your class group.
  • Details: Present the Investor Presentation for the group to Lecturer and 2 venture capitalists assessors.

Final Exam 

Students will be presented with several writing prompts addressing various aspects of the courses. Students must submit written responses to three of the prompts provided.

content: 
Week Content Readings
Week 1: Introduction to the Course
  • Overview of Technology venture development over time.
  • Introduce current thinking in areas of Lean design and execution.
  • Introduction to group project, group formation and briefing document.
  • Eric Reis. The Lean Startup, Portfolio Penguin 2011 Pp 15 -79.
Week 2: Founding a new Venture 
  • Ideation and innovation to come with a workable project for the duration of the course.
  • Form teams and initial goals.
  • The roles of technology, product management and sales & marketing.
  • Eric Reis. The Lean Startup, Portfolio Penguin 2011 Pp 79- 149.
Week 3: The Business Model Canvas - Product
  • Deriving and defining the value proposition of the product.
  • Understanding the competitive environment and competitive advantage.
  • What technology to deploy and how to build it.
  • Ash Maurya. Running Lean, Ash Maurya 2010 Pp 15 - 80.
Week 4: The Business Model Canvas - Customer Identifying and engaging your Ideal Customer
  • Deriving and defining the ideal customer profile.
  • What does a sweet spot customer look like and how will you deal with customers who are off strategy.
  • Ash Maurya. Running Lean, Ash Maurya 2010 Pp 106 - 183.
Week 5: Market Testing the Proposition
  • Pulse tests, A/B testing and Focus groups.
  • Measurement and Management techniques for effective execution.
  • Eric Reis. The Lean Startup, Portfolio Penguin 2011 Pp 149-206.
Week 6: Customer Feedback Loops - Listening and Iterating
  • How to listen for feedback.
  • How to interpret what is heard.
  • Understanding Positive and Negative feedback patterns.
  • When to iterate and how.
  • Ash Maurya. Running Lean, Ash Maurya 2010 Pp 183 - 239.
Week 7 & 8: Formulate the Business Plan
  • Moving from the 1 page business Model Canvas – what does a business plan constitute and represent.
  • Working example fo​r each Project Team
  • Alexander Osterwalder, Business Model Generation, John Wiley and Sons Inc, 201​0 Pp 44-108.
Week 9:Financing the Venture
  • Tools and practices for building financial projections.
  • Fundamentals of financial constructs and variables.
  • Cost of Customer Acquisition and Customer Lifetime Value.
  • Alexander Osterwalder, Business Model Generation, John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2010 Pp 200-262.
Week 10: Technology Options
  • Current trends in technology development.
  • Understanding, databases, User Experience Design.
  • The value of algorithms in developing intellectual property.
  • Coding fundamentals.
  • Alexander Osterwalder, Business Model Generation, John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2010 Pp 126-200.​
Week 11: Legal and Regulatory Environments
  • Understanding the constraints and opportunities in operating in different legislatures (UK, USA, Ire)​.
  • Warren Keegan, Global Marketing Management, Prentice Hall 2005, Pp 91 – 142.​
Week 12: Pitching to Investors
  • Practice of presentation for peer review then to investors with feedback for enhancements.
 

 

Required readings: 
  • Eric Reis. The Lean Startup, Portfolio Penguin 2011 Pp 206-272.