Wharton Executive Education Launches New Program to Demystify Venture Capital

The Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has launched a new program on venture capital to help institutional investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, and entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of what drives success in early stage investing. The weeklong program will cover structuring an investment fund, sourcing and screening potential deals, and designing a term sheet that protects the rights of investors and founders alike.

“Today, there’s an explosion in funding for startups and high-growth private companies, including not only capital from traditional venture capitalists, but also incubators, angels, and even crowd funding,” says Wharton Private Equity Professor Bilge Yilmaz, who will be the program’s academic director and is also the director of Wharton’s Alternative Investments Initiative.

Research from KPMG indicates that $40 billion of venture capital was invested globally in the second quarter of 2017 alone. “But even with this unparalleled level of opportunity, VC remains one of the most challenging investment areas,” says Yilmaz. “For every successful startup, there are dozens of businesses that fail, even after receiving multiple infusions of capital.”

Designed for investors interested in early stage investing and entrepreneurs looking to raise professional capital, participants in Wharton’s program on venture capital will emerge with a greater understanding about how venture capital funds work, how startup investing is different from other asset classes, and how investments can be structured to avoid pitfalls that risk everything.

In Wharton’s Venture Capital program, multidisciplinary faculty share ways to demystify the venture capital process, including how to raise capital from limited partners, how to develop a systematic way to screen, analyze, and value emerging opportunities; identify risks during deal negotiations; manage investments; and craft exit strategies.

Venture Capital brings together expert Wharton faculty from the fields of finance, strategy, innovation, and alternative investments. Among the faculty teaching in the program are Wharton Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions Serguei Netessine and Adjunct Professors of Finance Kevin Kaiser and David Wessels.

The program was developed for venture capitalists, angel investors, founder-entrepreneurs, attorneys, endowment and pension fund advisors, and government leaders who aspire to create an environment of innovation in their local market. “This program has been specifically designed for anyone in touch with the VC ecosystem,” says Wessels.

Session topics include:

  •     Investigating how VC funds are structured, how they operate, and why organizational structure matters to limited partners, general partners, and even founders
  •     Raising capital from limited partners, including the design of partnership agreements that enable effective relationships
  •     Developing a systematic way to screen, analyze, and value high-growth investment opportunities in nascent industries
  •     Acquiring a framework to negotiate, price, and structure the best investor terms and navigating the shareholder’s agreement to avoid costly mistakes
  •     How successful entrepreneurs manage their startup finance needs to support their innovative processes
  •     Identifying how and when to exit an investment

For more information about the Venture Capital program, including dates, visit: WhartonVentureCapital.com.