Entrepreneurial Finance

FIE457 Entrepreneurial Finance

Spring 2020

  • Topics

    1. Identify and model new business opportunities

    New ventures are characterized by high risk and uncertainty as well as massive growth potential. Due to lack of historical financial data and difficulty of finding comparable firms, one should be cautious when applying traditional valuation methods (e.g., DCF) to new ventures. We discuss alternative valuation approaches to assess new business plans or opportunities.

    • Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) valuation framework
    • WACC vs. APV
    • Venture Capital (VC) method
    • Real options approach
    • Decision trees vs. Black-Scholes model

    2. Make deals - structure financing for new business opportunities

    Entrepreneurs may have multiple funding sources, each of which leads to a different allocation of value and control of their business. We discuss relative benefits and costs of alternative funding sources. For instance, we consider convertible preferred stock and its value implications for both entrepreneurs and investors.  We also discuss devices to deal with potential conflict of interest between entrepreneur and investor, such as staged financing, liquidation rights, and anti-dilution clauses.

    • Dynamic allocation of value and control between entrepreneurs and investors
    • Angel investor, venture capitalist, corporate venture investment, and others
    • Financing strategy and product market strategy
    • Potential conflicts of interest between entrepreneurs and investors
    • Within-venture conflicts of interest among entrepreneurs
    • Term sheet
    • Convertible (participating) preferred stock
    • Staged financing
    • Liquidation rights
    • Employee incentive plans

    3. Harvest success

    We consider exit strategies to make profits. Several exit options, such as IPOs and acquisitions, will be discussed.

    • Initial Public Offering (IPO)

                 - IPO underpricing

                 - Hot vs. cold IPO market

    • Sales, acquisitions

                 - Deal negotiation         

  • Learning outcome

    Students will obtain a broad, up-to-date understanding in financing new business plans. Students will be able to apply quantitative tools to real business opportunities. Students will understand the incentives and motivation of both demand (entrepreneur) and supply (investor) sides of financing.  In particular, students will:

    Knowledge - The candidate will

    • Gain advanced knowledge on different funding sources and deal structures (e.g., the term sheet and convertible preferred stock), and their valuation effects.
    • Have a critical understanding of conflicts of interest between entrepreneurs and financiers, and demonstrate how to use various contractual solutions to them.
    • Obtain a thorough view on the issues in liquidating businesses, such as initial public offerings, sales, and acquisitions.

    Skills - The candidate will

    • Identify and/or structure value-creating entrepreneurial opportunities.
    • Apply various quantitative models and critically evaluate new business plans.
    • Develop contractual arrangements among participants (e.g., entrepreneurs, investors, employees, etc) that minimize potential risks and maximize business outcomes during the early stage of business.

    General competence - The candidate will

    • Create a new venture team in which interests of participating entrepreneurs are well-aligned.
    • Gain competence and confidence to work in a team environment to effectively manage a work load of high ambiguity and high uncertainty.
    • Gain confidence in applying their analysis to future, real business opportunities, and creating real value.

  • Teaching

    Teaching is mainly based on cases, supported by lectures and visitors.

    The course will cover "approximately 12 cases". At the beginning of the semester, students will form a team of up to four students. Students are expected to work within the team and hand in a thorough report about the selected 3 cases (to be selected later). The following is a tentative list of cases.

    • Zipcar
    • American Chemical Corp
    • Pharmacyclics R&D
    • Fast Ion Battery
    • PunchTab
    • 1366 Technology
    • TerraPower
    • Netscape IPO
    • Dr.John¿s Products
    • Etc.

  • Restricted access


  • Recommended prerequisites

    Corporate Finance at master level and a basic understanding of Microsoft Office.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Requirements for course approval

    Case write-ups: Students are required to work on cases with their team and submit their report on each case before the deadline.

    Mandatory Attendance: This is a case-based course and requires active participation by students. Students are expected to attend every class unless the permission has been given to miss a class for a compelling reason.

  • Assessment

    The course is offered in English. The grade is based on a portfolio consisting of (1) class participation (approximately 36%), (2) three cases (approximately 54%), and (3) a peer review (approximately 10%). One grade is given for the entire portfolio. Grading scale A-F.

    Class participation is solely based on "individual" contribution - raising insightful questions and making comments. There is no makeup for a missed class.

    Cases (about 54%) are a "group" effort, and consists of 3 of the cases given during the course, as decided by the course responsible. Group size is 3-4 students.

    At the end of the course, students will be asked to evaluate the contribution of their team members. The peer review requires you to make good contributions (e.g., responsible and respectful behavior for your team). Note that I may overrule the peer review if I deem a student to have deviated from such behavior.

    All parts of the assessment must be completed in the same semester, and in the semester you attend class.

    Since this is a case-based course with several cases reappearing year after year, students can take the course only one time. It is possible to retake the course only if a student fails. As the assessment in this course by its nature cannot be re-examined, the grades awarded may not be appealed.

    This course will be closed for registration after the 5th class session, and no later than September 1st.

  • Grading Scale

    Grades A - F.

  • Computer tools

    All students are expected to use MS Office.

  • Literature

    The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurial Finance (edited by Douglas Cumming) can be a good reading guide for the topics and discussions to be covered by this course. However, it is not required to purchase the book.

    Cases will be available via a course pack and a course webpage.

    Denis, David J., 2004, Entrepreneurial finance: An overview of the issues and evidence, Journal of Corporate Finance 10: 301-326


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2019.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Kyeong Hun Lee, Department of Finance, NHH