fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Winter Quarter

Winter Registration Now Open
Most Classes Begin Jan 16
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Professional & Personal Development

BUS 219 — Startup Escape Velocity: From Early Idea to Mainstream Success

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 23—Mar 12
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 25
Unit: 1
Tuition: $610
Instructor(s): Bret Waters
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 23—Mar 12
8 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 25
1 Unit
Bret Waters
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Borrowing from physics to make an analogy, “escape velocity” is the momentum required for a budding idea to reach mainstream success. It entails crossing the chasm between attracting a niche customer base and having a rapidly expanding business, which requires keen insight, adaptability, and a robust strategy. This case-study-driven course delves deep into the chronicles of startups that have faced these challenges head-on and successfully navigated their growth trajectories. Zoom, Venmo, and Zapier are all examples of startups that went from a small group of initial customers to millions of mainstream customers with remarkable capital efficiency. We’ll look at the tactics these companies, and others like them, have used to attain mass market success and the lessons entrepreneurs can learn from these achievements. Through in-depth analysis, students will learn the strategies and patterns that facilitate such transitions.

Beyond the rich content derived from these case studies, students will have the unique opportunity to interact with and learn directly from those at the heart of these success stories. Classes will feature guest appearances by startup founders and seasoned venture capitalists, providing firsthand narratives and insights. Students will learn the essential elements constituting startup growth victories. While the primary focus will remain on entrepreneurial ventures, this course's core principles and teachings will resonate deeply with nonprofits, NGOs, and social ventures, making the knowledge imparted universally applicable.

This course is geared toward those who have taken BUS 217: "Accelerate Your Startup Idea" or a comparable course.

Silicon Valley Investor; Entrepreneur

Bret Waters has founded three venture-funded startup companies, built teams, and run the companies through successful exits. He is a former member of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education Advisory Council. He works with social entrepreneurs from around the world at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and previously served as chief mentor with the European Innovation Academy. Waters received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Bruce Cleveland, Traversing the Traction Gap (ISBN 978-1635766240 )
(Recommended) Geoffrey A. Moore , Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers (ISBN 978-0062292988)
(Recommended) Bret Waters, The Launch Path: Getting from a startup idea to a launch-ready venture (ISBN 979-8989090402)