2021-2022 Graduating Class


Startup UNC (formerly Launch the Venture) is a new ventures course designed to help students, faculty, staff, and alumni take a business idea or scientific innovation to market. The course starts by assessing nascent ideas and technologies from the perspective of customer need, product-market fit, competition, and value proposition. Using a lean startup approach, teams get to a go/no-go decision by the end of Mod 2 (December). Teams moving ahead will develop a strategic roadmap and financial plans for launching the business in Mods 3 and 4. 

Course Descriptions

MBA 848A: Startup UNC–Feasibility I (Mod I)

Mondays 5-8

Instructors: Dave Neal and Don Rose

Feasibility I is a first pass at validating the business idea and understanding the entrepreneurial process. The following topics will be covered: 

  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Discovery–Problem Interviews
  • Competition and Benchmarking
  • Beachhead Market and Target Customer (Persona)
  • Business Model
  • Product Specification, Features, and Benefits
  • Management Team and Advisors
  • Financial Model
  • Communicating the Business Concept

MBA 848B: Startup UNC–Feasibility II (Mod II)

Mondays 5-8

Instructors: Dave Neal and Don Rose

Because entrepreneurship is an iterative process, Feasibility II continues to develop and refine the product or service idea explored in Mod 1. Many of the same topics will be covered but at a much greater depth. Topics will include the following:

  • The Selling Proposition and the Quantified Value Proposition
  • Customer Discovery–Solution Interviews
  • Detailed Competitive Analysis
  • TAM, Market Segments and Follow-on Markets
  • Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
  • New Venture Financing
  • The Pitch Deck
  • Pricing Framework
  • Lifetime Value (LTV) and Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA)
  • Refined Financial Model and Funding Strategy
  • Business Development Plan

At the end of Feasibility II, teams will present their case for proceeding to the next two phases: Strategy and Finance.

MBA 848C: Startup UNC–Strategy (Mod III)

Mondays 5-8

Instructors: Scott Albert and Tim Flood

Strategy phase of the course assumes that any pivots in the product, customer segment and pricing model have been made and the value proposition and market characteristics have been defined.  In this phase the teams will flush out the entire plan for executing their vision. The business case will evolve into a business plan and/or pitch deck that defines the go to market strategy. Elements will include:

  • Revenue assumptions and projections
  • Go to market sales and/or marketing plan
  • Product development and milestone metrics
  • Operations or strategic partnership plans
  • Management team and board roles and hiring plans

Teams will be presenting the plans each week to outside advisors and the professors with the goal of refining and deepening their specific strategies.  

MBA 848D: Startup UNC–Financing (Mod IV)

Mondays 5-8

Instructor: Scott Albert and Tim Flood

The objective of this final phase of Startup UNC is to develop a refined business plan that is ready to expose to sources of capital and to the market. This course will initially focus on the gaps in the draft business plan that was submitted in Mod 3 for MBA 848C.  The class is designed to provide an understanding of how funding sources evaluate startups and expose the teams to qualified experts in the world of startup funding.

The Financing Phase builds cumulatively upon the market content and financial models presented in the Feasibility and Strategy phases.  It prepares students for the process of forming the legal structure for their venture and launching their business idea. There will be a combination of lectures and coaching sessions.  The first lectures will begin with an overview of the major gaps in teams’ venture pitches and business plans, as well as discussions of Financial Models, simple company Valuation analyses and Exit options.  For most companies, the class will require a deeper evaluation of the customers and competitors. For some companies, it will be a time to search for and expand their Advisory Board. And for almost all teams it will be mean more time with financial pro-formas to assure a solid foundation of assumptions that will be credible to outside investors and reviewers. More advanced financial modeling and financing strategies will be one of the primary thrusts of this phase.  

Course Modules and Goals

  • Financial Modeling
  • Exit Strategy/Valuation
  • Grants
  • Angel Investing
  • Venture Capital
  • Legal Issues/Due Diligence Process

As a final deliverable for the class, teams will produce and submit a final venture pitch, including complete financials and market research.  It will be due and presented at the final class session.

About the UNC Kenan-Flagler Entrepreneurship Center

The Entrepreneurship Center at UNC Kenan-Flagler delivers the most comprehensive, hands-on and enduring entrepreneurial education anywhere through our unique Learn, Launch, Lead (L3) framework.

“Learn” describes the entrepreneurial courses offered in the most sought-after MBA concentration at Kenan-Flagler. Our curriculum, clubs and competitions help students develop a foundation in entrepreneurship as founders, funders and growth executives.

“Launch” encompasses the full-stack venture development ecosystem from idea generation and problem solving at BLUE Innovation Community to acceleration at our global award-winning Launch Chapel Hill.

“Lead” embodies the leadership characteristics of the students and hundreds of entrepreneurial mentors in our national network, primarily in our one-of-a-kind Adams Apprenticeship program.