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BUS 11 W — How to Build Successful Startups: Learn Lessons Straight from Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 2 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Jul 5
Drop Deadline: Jun 24
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $360
Instructor(s): John Kelley
Limit: 75
Status: Closed
Please Note: This short online course has a special refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Jun 24—Jul 5
2 weeks
Drop By
Jun 24
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
John Kelley
Please Note: This short online course has a special refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Great companies, like great homes, can be built in many ways. Outstanding entrepreneurs, like outstanding architects, can learn much from the achievements of their predecessors. Designed for the budding entrepreneur, this course will introduce you to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors, and to the varied ways in which they’ve constructed successful startups. During the course, numerous guest speakers will assist us in addressing these and other key questions: How can you overcome the critical challenges founders face, such as assessing your own unique goals, skills, and capabilities; forming a complementary core team; creating a breakthrough product; and raising initial capital? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of companies, whether big or small, technology- or market-focused, a traditional for-profit startup or a novel social enterprise? Which development path would be best to get your company off to a strong start? Should you go it alone, apply to an incubator or accelerator, or immediately pitch venture firms? What are effective ways to raise growth capital from a variety of sources? With rapid growth, what new organizational, managerial, and competitive challenges might your company face? What are useful metrics for measuring a startup’s progress? If all goes well, what is the IPO process like? Finally, what vital technological, educational, cultural, and other resources does Silicon Valley offer startups today?

Guest contributors include: Neerav Berry (co-founder and CEO, Payplant); Leon Chen (venture partner, OrbiMed Advisors); Adam Cheyer (co-founder and vice president of engineering, Viv Labs); Adam Draper (co-founder and managing director, Boost VC); Timothy Draper (founder, Draper Associates and DFJ); William H. Draper III (general partner, Draper Richards LP and co-chair, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation); Jim Fruchterman (founder and CEO, Tech Matters); Jim Kleckner (co-founder and vice president, analytics, CloudPhysics); Kira Makagon (EVP of innovation, RingCentral); Ambarish Malpani (CTO and VP engineering, Edmodo); Ted McCluskey (chief medical officer, Finance Technology Leverage); Jessica McKellar (founder and CTO, Pilot.com); Alan Mendelson (partner, Latham & Watkins); Jan Møller Mikkelsen (president and CEO, Ascendis Pharma); Daria Mochly- Rosen (The George D. Smith Professor in Translational Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine); Camilla Olson (founder and CEO, Savitude); Cecily Anne O’Regan (patent attorney, Shartsis Friese); George G.C. Parker (The Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Business); Rob Reis (founder and CEO, Higher Ground); Elton Sherwin (president and founder, Sherwin Advisors); and Glenn Winokur (managing director, Healthbox).This is an accelerated version of the eight-week course, BUS 12 W: “How to Build Successful Startups.” Students will work through all eight modules in two weeks. Students will need to log in at least five days per week and should expect to spend fourteen to sixteen hours per week on the course.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 75 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

John Kelley, Co-Founder and COO, OnRisk

John Kelley co-founded OnRisk, which provides software services to the commercial insurance industry. Earlier, he founded 399 Innovation, which advises firms on invention and innovation strategy. He received a JD from Stanford, where he pursued an independent research track in artificial intelligence and law. Kelley also studied at Sorø Akademi in Denmark on an American Field Service Fellowship.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Elton B. Sherwin Jr., The Silicon Valley Way, Second Edition: Discover 45 Secrets for Successful Start-Ups, Second Edition (ISBN 0982796110)
(Recommended) William H. Draper III, The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs, (ISBN 0230339948)
(Recommended) William F. Miller et al., The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ISBN 0804740631)
(Recommended) Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman, Straight Talk for Startups: 100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds--From Mastering the Fundamentals to Selecting Investors, Fundraising, Managing Boards, and Achieving Liquidity (ISBN 006286906X)