Launching a Startup

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Course Date


August 29, 2024

Course Duration


6 weeks, online
4-6 hours/week

Course Fee


US$2,950 US$2,714 and get US$295 off with a referral

Course Information Flexible payment available
Course Fee

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A Prototype for Startup Success

If there was a proven system for mitigating one’s risk in starting a new venture, what would it look like?

Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and the broader community with research-based, founder-proven resources. In this six-week program, aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators will learn to research, craft, test, and transform their ideas into viable business concepts. Participants will dive deep into a four-step framework, The Startup Canvas, a proprietary tool developed at Stanford GSB as a way to systematize a pathway to market success.

Startups by the Numbers

Why do so many startups fail?

A red circle around it

no market need

Source: CB Insights
August 3, 2021
A red circle around it

got outcompeted

August 3, 2021
A red circle around it

pricing/cost issues

August 3, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Analyze various techniques to develop a product prototype.
  • Conduct effective interviews with potential customers to develop your customer personas.
  • Create and describe a value proposition for a specific product.
  • Develop a go-to-market (GTM) plan, and determine key metrics, such as customer acquisition costs (CACs).
  • Present a viable profit model for a specific product.
  • Apply the four-step entrepreneurship framework to a final capstone project.
  • Learn entrepreneurship best practices, and avoid common pitfalls.
  • Use strategies based in neuroscience to influence the decisions of stakeholders.

This program is ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators who want to:

Test an idea before the investment stage to increase their odds of success in the market.

Test an idea before the investment stage to increase their odds of success in the market.

Get proven, research-driven frameworks

Get proven, research-driven frameworks that translate into having the inner confidence to move forward with their vision.

faculty and thought leaders

Learn from the same faculty and thought leaders who contribute to Silicon Valley’s revered startup ethos.

Program Modules

    • Realize the importance of open-ended questions and how to develop effective interview questions.
    • Analyze techniques for an effective interview, and synthesize interview information into customer personas.
    • Explore what prototyping is and the significance of low-resolution prototyping.
    • Learn prototype development, and assess user needs by gathering feedback on a prototype.
    • Craft an ideal positioning statement, including each of the key components.
    • Understand the importance of tying the value proposition to specific pain points, and develop a hypothesis for testing your value proposition.
    • Understand the importance of direct and indirect GTM strategies.
    • Examine a sample GTM strategy.
    • Determine the CAC for a product and its implications.
    • Examine the factors and considerations that determine the price of a product.
    • Evaluate the viability of a product based on customer lifetime value (LTV) and total addressable market (TAM).
    • Reevaluate your reasons for pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors.
    • Use strategies based in neuroscience to influence the decisions of stakeholders.
    • Explain the basic neurobiology of acute and chronic stress and how stress impacts decision making.
    • Create a plan for your capstone project using the entrepreneurship road map.

Program Walkthrough

Paper and network

Access to Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) proprietary strategy tools and frameworks

Man inside TV

Live session with faculty


Manageable time investment (4-6 hours/week)

Play button

Assignments for you to apply learnings to your own product, organization, or idea

Globe and people connecting

Real-world case studies and industry examples

Book with tick mark

Feedback on select assignments to ensure understanding of the program material


Certificate of completion from Stanford Graduate School of Business

Featured Program Elements

Pencil , Circle , network

Original strategic frameworks and tools from Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty

Paper Magnifying glass person

Featured case studies and examples, including Mon Ami, Calyx Flowers, Lumo Bodytech, Aqualisa, Proper Good, and more

Paper , Pen , Nut Bolt

Capstone project designed to focus and advance your entrepreneurial vision

Meet the Faculty

Faculty Member James M. Lattin

James M. Lattin

The Robert A. Magowan Professor of Marketing

Professor Lattin is the former faculty director of the Stanford Ignite–Bangalore program on innovation and entrepreneurship.... More info
Faculty Member Baba Shiv

Baba Shiv

The Sanwa Bank, Limited; Professor of Marketing

Professor Shiv has done extensive work on the emotional brain, documenting its powerful role in shaping decisions and experiences... More info
Faculty Member Stefanos Zenios

Stefanos Zenios

The Investment Group of Santa Barbara Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Operations, Information & Technology; Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Professor Zenios is the faculty co-director of Stanford GSBʼs Center for Entrepreneurial Studies... More info

Guest Speakers

Faculty Member Mudit Garg

Mudit Garg

CEO and Co-Founder, Qventus

Faculty Member Gayatri Datar

Gayatri Datar

Co-founder, EarthEnable

Faculty Member Tony Xu

Tony Xu

CEO and co-founder, DoorDash

Faculty Member Beth Gerstein

Beth Gerstein

Co-Founder, Brilliant Earth



Upon completion of this program, you will receive a certificate of completion from Stanford Graduate School of Business.


  • Is Launching a Startup a suitable program on how to start a business?

    Absolutely. The Launching a Startup program is not just a program on how to start a business, but is also an effective way to study entrepreneurship online. Through this program, you will learn about extensively researched strategies and methodologies proven by successful startup founders to help you transform your ideas into practical business models.

    What opportunities does the Launching a Startup program provide to learn entrepreneurship?

    The Launching a Startup program provides an opportunity to learn entrepreneurship and study this field online. It is an ideal program on how to start a business. Participants will not only delve into developing a product prototype, interviewing potential customers, crafting a value proposition, creating a go-to-market strategy, but also master how to sidestep common entrepreneurial pitfalls. The hands-on learning this program provides is invaluable when starting a business.

    How do I know if this program is right for me?

    After reviewing the information on the program landing page, we recommend you submit the short form above to gain access to the program brochure, which includes more in-depth information. If you still have questions on whether this program is a good fit for you, please email, and a dedicated program advisor will follow up with you very shortly.

    Are there any prerequisites for this program?

    Participants must be 18 years old or above to apply to this program. Some programs do have prerequisites, particularly the more technical ones. This information will be noted on the program landing page and in the program brochure. If you are uncertain about program prerequisites and your capabilities, please email us at for assistance.

    Note that, unless otherwise stated on the program web page, all programs are taught in English and proficiency in English, is required.

    What is the typical class profile?

    More than 50 percent of our participants are from outside the United States. Class profiles vary from one cohort to the next, but, generally, our online certificates draw a highly diverse audience in terms of professional experience, industry, and geography—leading to a very rich peer learning and networking experience.

    What other dates will this program be offered in the future?

    Check back to this program web page or email us at to inquire if future program dates or the timeline for future offerings have been confirmed.

  • How much time is required each week?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the Duration section, as well as in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page.

    How will my time be spent?

    We have designed this program to fit into your current working life as efficiently as possible. Time will be spent among a variety of activities including:

    • Engaging with recorded video lectures from faculty
    • Attending webinars and office hours, as per the specific program schedule
    • Reading or engaging with examples of core topics
    • Completing knowledge checks/quizzes and required activities
    • Engaging in moderated discussion groups with your peers
    • Completing your final project, if required

    The program is designed to be highly interactive while also allowing time for self-reflection and demonstrating an understanding of the core topics through various active learning exercises. Please contact us at if you need further clarification on program activities.

    A dedicated program support team is available 24/5 (Monday to Friday) to answer questions about the learning platform, technical issues, or anything else that may affect your learning experience.

    How do I interact with other program participants?

    Peer learning adds substantially to the overall learning experience and is an important part of the program. You can connect and communicate with other participants through our learning platform.

  • What are the requirements to earn the certificate?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week, so you can gauge what will be required before you enroll. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the Duration section, as well as in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page. All programs are designed to fit into your working life.

    This program is scored as a pass or no pass; participants must complete the required activities to pass and obtain the certificate of completion. Some programs include a final project submission or other assignments to obtain passing status. This information will be noted in the program brochure. Please contact us at if you need further clarification on any specific program requirements.

    What type of certificate will I receive?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a smart digital certificate. The smart digital certificate can be shared with friends, family, schools, or potential employers. You can use it on your cover letter or resume or display it on your LinkedIn profile.
    The digital certificate will be sent approximately two weeks after the program, once grading is complete.

    Can I get the hard copy of the certificate?

    No, only verified digital certificates will be issued upon successful completion. This allows you to share your credentials on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Do I receive alumni status after completing this program?

    No, there is no alumni status granted for this program. In some cases, there are credits that count toward a higher level of certification. This information will be clearly noted in the program brochure.

    How long will I have access to the learning materials?

    You will have access to the online learning platform and all the videos and program materials for 12 months following the program start date. Access to the learning platform is restricted to registered participants per the terms of agreement.

  • What equipment or technical requirements are there for this program?

    Participants will need the latest version of their preferred browser to access the learning platform. In addition, Microsoft Office and a PDF viewer are required to access documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts.

    Do I need to be online to access the program content?

    Yes, the learning platform is accessed via the internet, and video content is not available for download. However, you can download files of video transcripts, assignment templates, readings, etc. For maximum flexibility, you can access program content from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

    Video lectures must be streamed via the internet, and any livestream webinars and office hours will require an internet connection. However, these sessions are always recorded, so you may view them later.

  • Can I still register if the registration deadline has passed?

    Yes, you can register up to seven days after the published start date of the program without missing any of the core program material or learnings.

    What is the program fee, and what forms of payment do you accept?

    The program fee is noted at the top of this program web page and usually referenced in the program brochure as well. Flexible payment options are available (see details below as well as at the top of this program web page next to FEE).

    What if I don’t have a credit card? Is there another method of payment accepted?

    Yes, you can do the bank remittance in the program currency via wire transfer or debit card. Please contact your program advisor, or email us at for details.

    I was not able to use the discount code provided. Can you help?

    Yes! Please email us at with the details of the program you are interested in, and we will assist you.

    How can I obtain an invoice for payment?

    Please email with your invoicing requirements and the specific program you’re interested in enrolling in.

    Is there an option to make flexible payments for this program?

    Yes, the flexible payment option allows a participant to pay the program fee in installments. This option is made available on the payment page and should be selected before submitting the payment.

    How can I obtain a W9 form?

    Please email us at for assistance.

    Who will be collecting the payment for the program?

    Emeritus collects all program payments, provides learner enrollment and program support, and manages learning platform services.

    Are there any restrictions on the types of funding that can be used to pay for the program?

    Program fees for Emeritus programs with Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education may not be paid for with (a) funds from the GI Bill, the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Act of 2008, or similar types of military education funding benefits or (b) Title IV financial aid funds.

  • What is the program refund and deferral policy?

    For the program refund and deferral policy, please click the link here.

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