Your final grade for this course will be a function of your performance on five concept quizzes, twenty-five write-up and/or workshop deliverables, and a final assignment in the form of a five-page (plus appendices) venture pitch.
The write-up deliverable will be turned in at the start of class, workshop deliverables will be completed and submitted during class, while the quizzes and venture pitch will be submitted via Collab. Appropriately, the Gradebook section of the Collab site for the course will list each assignment as well as the due date and time. The specific question or topic for each of the write-up and/or workshop deliverables will be found in the class calendar or distributed during class time.
Concept Quizzes (5 x 10 = 50 points)
Most of the challenges that startups face arrive without much advance notice: a potential partner wants a proposal; a customer has a problem; an interested investor wants to meet; an exec from a grant-making foundation just happens to be in town and wants an update on your latest milestones.
Similarly, the dates for the concept quizzes in this course are not fixed in advance. Instead, on five occasions during the semester a quiz will be announced—both in class and via email—and you will have one week’s notice and no great than two hours to complete each quiz via Collab once started. Each quiz will be worth ten points, and will likely have as few as ten questions.
These quizzes will cover or require the application of key concepts presented in either the readings, discussions, workshops, or cases. These quizzes will not cover general facts from the case studies (e.g., “How old is Founder X in Case Study Y?”).
Case Write-Up and Workshop Deliverables (25 x 1 = 25 points)
For case discussions, you will complete a one-page write-up prior to class. You will then submit that write-up (on paper) in person and before class starts. For these write-ups, please use size 11 Arial or Helvetica as the font, 1.5 as the line space, and one-inch all around as the margins.
Throughout the semester we will work through a series of in-class workshops. During each of these sessions you will complete and submit a deliverable (usually, on paper).
Frankly speaking, persistence—sometimes in the form of just getting done what needs to be done—is known to be a key component of a founder’s career. And so, just getting done what needs to be done, in the form of these deliverables, plays a key role in your total grade for this course.
In the case of matters of health, or other understandably important reasons for not being able to submit a case write-up or attend a workshop, simply email Professor Etienne so we can figure out the most appropriate solution for your completion of the assignment.
Write-Up and Workshop Deliverable Scoring. Each case and workshop deliverable will be worth one point.
For case write-ups, you can only earn full points if the write-up is not only well-written (i.e., structure spelling, grammar, etc.), but also it is clear from the response that you have read, are familiar with, and have contemplated the case and the question(s). Poorly-written write-ups, or those responses that do not suggest you have read, are familiar with, and have contemplated the case, will earn a score of 0.5. By and large, completing all aspects of the workshop deliverables will warrant a score of one. You will earn a score of zero (0) if you do not submit a write-up or workshop deliverable.
Venture Pitch (25 points)
Your final assignment in this class will be a venture pitch, limited to five-pages of written text with up to five pages of appendix materials (with an additional page(s) for references). This assignment is due, submitted to Collab, by December 8 at 5:00PM EST. Only one member of each team needs to submit the assignment within Collab.
To complete this assignment, you should form a group of five students (i.e., four students plus yourself), and identify a startup of your own choosing (but the Faculty’s approval) out there in the market that you find compelling.
As groups, you will work together to produce a five-page pitch that argues for how much you would like to invest in (or how much grant funding you would like to provide to) the startup you selected, and why you would like to make that investment (or provide this grant funding).
To construct this argument, you will work your way through nearly all of the ingredients of a venture pitch, each of these ingredients having been a part of a class discussion, write-up, or workshop during the semester. In fact, these ingredients were all part of one of the earliest discussions we had in the course: Anatomy of a Startup Pitch.
There is both a Grading Rubric for the assignment as well as a suggested Pitch Guide for constructing your pitch, and each of these files can be found in the listing for this Final Assignment within the Assignments section of Collab. This Rubric and Guide should be quite clear in terms of the required ingredients of the pitch. You are not obligated to order your pitch as the various parts are ordered in this guide — other than including the Intro at the beginning of the pitch.
As far as the formatting requirements for the final :
- 1.5 spacing;
- Helvetia or Aria font, 11-point;
- one-inch margins, top, bottom, left, and right;
- no greater than five pages of text;
- plus, no greater than five pages of appendix material (which not simply be additional pages of text);
- Footnotes or Reference page for citations;
- Reference page does not count in the page count for the Appendix.