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SFE Syllabus

Course Overview

All startup ideas start as theories. They are conjectures, hypotheses, and predictions about how a firm might make lots of money by solving a problem that the market has yet to solve. As with any new theory, knowing with one hundred percent certainty if a startup idea will work is impossible. Worse yet, a startup idea is a bet with an unknown probability of success (P) and an unknown payoff (V). When inspiration strikes, and you write down an amazing startup idea on a napkin, you don’t know if it will work, and you don’t know how much value it will generate.

A good startup strategy helps you effectively learn about your idea’s chances of success P and the value your firm might create V. The benefits of learning are twofold. First, you generate signals about your idea’s potential that can convince others—from investors to employees—to join you. Second, if you learn your idea stinks, you can iterate and pivot to a new, more promising idea.

But learning—especially about startup ideas—is challenging. Signals are biased and noisy. Designing experiments is non-trivial, and running them is expensive. Failure is hard to admit and learn from. Startup ideas are often vague and illogical. Getting to and listening to feedback is never easy. The ideas with the most potential and impact are often also the ideas that are hardest to test. And even when you learn as best as possible, your odds of minting a billion-dollar company are slim.

This course is structured to help you learn in the face of all these challenges.

Towards this end, the course is structured into five modules. The first module introduces the course and the frameworks and tools we will use throughout the semester. The second module delves into “Missing Value” to explore entrepreneurs' strategies to develop and test novel theories of value creation and capture, allowing them to notice gaps in the market that would not otherwise have been served. The third module on “Measuring Valuedelves deeply into the financial considerations of theory generation and experimentation. The fourth module, “Testing Value,” involves running an actual experiment that tests your startup idea. Finally, the fifth module focuses on “Discovering Value” and how we, as human entrepreneurs struggle to learn. It features new cases, more course guests, and an Individual Progress Feedback session with me.

Course Deliverables

Beyond the required reading and in-class exercises, the course requires you to complete four written assignments and to give feedback to your peers thrice. Each assignment is cumulative and involves developing a single “Strategy For Entrepreneurs” (SFE) memo over the semester. Your first memo will be the basis for your second memo and, eventually, your final submission. The memos will follow a standardized template with a hard limit of 10 pages! The template will be shared with you in class. Alongside your memo, you will, as the semester develops, build a 5-slide deck that summarizes your memo and crystalizes what you have learned from the experiments you have run this semester. You will use this deck to share your learnings at the end of the course.

The SFE memos will help you, as you might have guessed from the name, build and develop an entrepreneurial strategy for a venture idea you have been considering or have already started. The memos aim to help you resolve the core sources of uncertainty at the heart of any entrepreneurial venture: Is my theory of value creation and capture valid? In testing whether your theory of value is correct, you will also be asked to generate signals that (in)validate your theory by running experiments during the semester.

You can find the memo, with instructions about how to use it, here.

You can find a blank memo you can copy and fill in yourself here.

The template for the deck will be shared later in the semester (start by writing, not by PowerPoint!)

If you are in my course, Strategy for Entrepreneurs, I will send a blank memo with your name to work on during the semester. This makes it easier for me to assign peer feedback partners and track progress.

Complementing the SFE memos, you will give your peers feedback on their memos three times during the course. This feedback will happen both outside of class (you will leave comments and questions in their memo Google Docs) and in class (you will sit with a peer and give real-time feedback after reading the memo beforehand). These will let you practice giving constructive feedback on each other's ideas and build stronger relationships with your peers in the course. My research shows that peer advice and improved social feedback dramatically improve startup performance and strategy development. To incentivize helpful feedback, you will be partially graded on how well your randomly assigned feedback partners perform.

The SFE memos and peer feedback exercises are due at the following times:

  • 📝SFE Memo Draft 1: Complete the first draft by midnight on 9/26.
  • 📝 SFE Feedback 1: Complete online peer feedback by the start of class on 9/29.
  • 📝 SFE Memo Draft 2: Add your initial experiment to your draft & deck by 10/22.
  • 📝 SFE Feedback 2: Complete online peer feedback by the start of class on 10/26.
  • 📝  Individual progress feedback with the Professor for 20 minutes between 11/3 and 11/17. This is a required and graded check-in; I will grade your memo and how well you leverage the office hours to improve. I will give you lots of feedback!
  • 📝 SFE Memo Draft 3: Update your memo & deck with how you learned from your initial experiment and the subsequent experiments you have run by midnight on 10/27.
  • 📝 SFE Feedback 3: Complete online peer feedback by the start of class on 11/30
  • 📝 SFE Memo & Deck 4: Your final memo & 5-slide deck are due by midnight on 12/5

Course Grading

  • Participation during classroom discussion
    • 25% of your course grade. In-class case discussion participation is graded in terms of how well you listen, how often you participate, and the quality of your comments.
  • Your SFE memo draft 1, draft 2 (including the quality of your one-on-one progress feedback with the Professor), and draft 3
    • 25% of your course grade. Graded on your arguments' quality, evidence, and how much you learned.
    • Draft 1 will be lightly graded, accounting for 5% of your overall grade. I will not provide direct comments on this draft but instead will check if you completed the assignment thoughtfully and put in a solid effort. Remember, your work in Draft 1 will impact your future drafts, so I will eventually be giving you lots of feedback on this material.
    • Draft 2 will receive extensive comments from me, accounting for 15% of your overall grade. As part of this grade, I will also evaluate how well you use our office hour meeting to discuss your progress; think of this part as great practice for when you start going to office hours with the partners at YC or Sequoia.
    • Draft 3 will again be lightly graded, accounting for 5% of your overall grade. Again, I will not provide direct comments on this draft, but instead, I will check if you completed the assignment thoughtfully and put in a solid effort. For example, did you run additional experiments and gather more signals in response to questions raised by your peers?
  • Your online feedback #1, #2, and #3
    • 25% of your course grade, evenly split between the three feedback sessions.
    • You will be graded on the usefulness of your comments, measured by the quality of your edits to their HBS memos, the quality of the questions you ask in their FAQs, and the observed improvements in the final project scores for the peers you are randomly assigned to give feedback to.
  • Final #4 draft of your “SFE” memo and deck
    • 25% of your course grade
    • Graded similarly to the first two assignments above. It is worth noting that you can receive high grades for realizing your startup isn’t going to work or if you get stymied by one of your peers’ FAQ questions. That said, the value of startup “failure” drives learning. Good “failure” memos will reveal deep learning and meaningful insights.
    • If requested, I am more than happy to provide extensive comments on your final draft and meet with you to discuss the next steps in developing your idea.

Course Norms

This class only works if we build, as a class, a shared sense of psychological safety. Dreaming up startup ideas requires generating seemingly “dumb” ideas (e.g., Airbnb’s “silly” couch-surfing origins) and also helping one another realize that sometimes our ideas are—despite our best efforts—kinda dumb (e.g. Juicero). Our goal as a community is to be frank in our assessments of a startup’s strategy and constructive in our approach. To do so, we need to feel comfortable asking each other for more evidence, critiquing each other's ideas, and pushing back against untested assumptions while making everyone feel like our class is a place where mistakes are okay, and we all can learn. If startups are all about experimentation and learning (and they are!), our classroom must also be.

INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGY FOR ENTREPRENEURS

1. Introduction to SFE

September 7 What makes a startup idea promising?

Required

  • There is no required reading for the first class. Reading will be distributed in class as part of an exercise. Come ready to read, learn, and discuss what makes a startup idea promising.

2. Simplisafe

September 14 SimpliSafe with guest Eleanor Laurans

Our discussion will focus on SimpliSafe before it was bought by Hellman & Friedman in 2018. The discussion will focus on the two decks distributed on Canvas: one from 2006 and one from 2013. Study the decks closely. You only need to skim the case.

Required

  • SimpliSafe 2006 Business Model Deck (See Canvas)
  • SimpliSafe 2013 Business Model Deck (See Canvas)
  • SimpliSafe - Safe From Disruption? (Skim, you can stop reading at pg. 7)

Assignment Questions

  1. Imagine it’s early 2007. You are listening to Rhianna’s just-released Umbrella on your iPod in the back of a taxi (Uber and the iPhone don’t exist yet). You are returning to HBS after meeting with recent graduates Eleanor and Chad. They showed you a non-functional mock-up of a DIY home security system. They walked you through their 2006 pitch deck. You just spent the summer interning at Flybridge. They want to know if you were interested in (1) either joining them as an early employee or (2) wanting to invest in their startup’s seed round. Would you?
  2. Was there any value in building the deck in 2006, given that the core customer hypothesis —selling to single women in apartments—was wrong? How does your answer to this question inform your answer to the first assignment question?
  3. Compare the 2013 and the 2006 decks. What’s different about Simplisafe’s theory of the problem, solution, and how they make money? What did they learn over those nearly 8 years? How efficiently did they learn it?
  4. After an early-stage seed round where they raised 680,000, valuing the company at 1.7mm post-money, the next round occurred nearly 8 years later in 2014. This secondary* round valued the company at 190mm post-money. Why wait 8 years between rounds? Why did SimpliSafe not need to raise funding to grow the business? *In a secondary round, VCs give money to existing shareholders in exchange for their shares. No new shares are issued. You can learn more here.

3. Beam

September 15

The Beam Dental team of Frommeyer, Dykes, and Curry was at a crossroads in Columbus, Ohio. They had sold 7,000 Bluetooth-enabled toothbrushes for $25 each, but after 18 months of trying, they still couldn’t find a VC who would invest in them despite this quick traction. About to pitch Drive Capital, the team had to decide if they were going to focus on their potential as a (1) internet of things hardware business or (2) as a hardware-enabled dental insurance business.

Required

  • “Beam Dental (A)” Case
  • Beam Pitch Deck Supplements 1 and 2

Assignment Questions

  1. Putting yourself in the shoes of CEO Frommeyer, which strategy should he choose? What is “theory” behind each?
  2. In determining your answer to the question above, please carefully review the case text, the two exhibits, and the two decks.
    1. Given the case’s description of the team and the market, which strategy do you prefer? What evidence is especially convincing?
    2. Given the financial projections in Exhibits 1 and 2, which strategy do you prefer? What numbers are convincing?
    3. Given the two slide decks outlining the product and business narratives, which strategy do you prefer? Which slides are convincing?

4. Building your Startup Theory and Starting your SFE Memo

September 20

This session will dive into how to write up your startup strategy. We will spend the first half of class discussing the required reading and the results from the first day of class where you evaluated the promise of 12 YC startups. Building on our discussion, you will spend the last half of class writing out startup ideas you want to explore.

Required

Assignment Questions

  1. How should you write up a startup idea?
  2. Reflecting on the decks from Simplisafe and Beam, what information was missing? What did they describe well? Were the ideas well described?
  3. Spend a few minutes looking at the startups on https://hbsbuilds.com/ and the ‘22 and ‘23 batches of YC. What is missing in the write-up of these startups? What would help convince you that the idea has enough promise to be worth at least another test?

MISSING VALUE: STRATEGY AS THEORY AND EVIDENCE

5. Lyra

September 21

Sean McBride joined Lyra in 2015 after graduating with a joint degree from HBS and HKS. Over the last seven years, McBride helped scale Lyra from the seed of an idea into a mental health venture valued at over $5 billion at its Series G in early 2022. With revenues north of a quarter of a billion dollars, the firm commanded a nearly 20x revenue multiple.

Required

  • Lyra Health: Transforming Mental Health

Assignment Questions

  1. What market frictions(s) in the mental health market did Ebersman and the rest of the Lyra team identify and set out to solve? Why were they not already solved?
  2. Conceived as a SaaS marketplace platform connecting patients with independent providers, Lyra pivoted and brought providers onto its payroll as W-2 employees. While enabling the venture to match provider supply to patient demand, the pivot caused margins to plummet by order of magnitude, from 80% to closer to 8%. Do you think the “blended care” business model outlined on pg. 8 solves the margin problem? Why?
  3. Does Lyra’s current “blended care” business model solve the underlying problems in the mental health care market that the team set out to solve? Why?
  4. Which expansion opportunity should Lyra pursue first? Why?
    1. Add non-US international coverage
    2. Expand into higher acuity care
    3. Target 500-1,000 person businesses
    4. Sell to government health care plans

6. mPharma and Startups as Theories

September 22

Gregory Rockson, the CEO and co-founder of Ghana based mPharma, is at a crossroads. His Electronic Prescription Network (EPN) strategy is unravelling. A new Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) strategy is showing promise in an early pilot, but Rockson is still concerned that this new approach might be repeating past strategic mistakes. Even if it does work, will the VMI increase the availability and reduce the cost of prescription drugs in Ghana and, eventually, across the African continent?

Required

  • mPharma (A)

Assignment Questions

  1. Will the Rockson’s new VMI strategy succeed? Why?
  2. Do you think the VMI strategy will lead pharmacists in Ghana to lower the prices they charge to patients? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think Rockson should start running his own pharmacies? Should mPharma just start buying and running retail shops?

7. Proactive for Her and Testing Strategy

September 28

Achitha Jacob and her company, Proactive for Her, had come a long way since she dropped out of HBS in 2020. Her company had raised a multi-million dollar Series A round, had 20 doctors on the payroll, and now operated an offline clinic alongside the startup’s online offerings. In the next two years, Jacob’s goal was to scale her company 100x, from serving one-thousand women to one hundred thousand.

Required

  • Proactive for Her case
  • Skim the seed and Series A pitch deck case supplements.

Optional

Assignment Questions

  1. In the summer of 2020, Achitha Jacob dropped out of HBS to pursue “Proactive for Her” full-time. Do you think that was the right decision? What would have been the benefits of waiting a year? The costs? When is the right time to quit your job or coursework to start a venture?
  2. Jacob’s original vision was an online first women’s health company. Her experiments with at-home diagnostics and doctor aggregator models failed to resonate with patients. How should these experiments inform Jacob’s online strategy?
  3. Do the “failed” home diagnostics and doctor aggregator experiments suggest the women’s health market is perhaps less promising than Jacob and her investors like Anand Datta initially believed?
  4. Given Jacob’s ambitious growth goals (see Seed and Series A deck supplements), what should be Jacob’s strategy moving forward? With limited capital and attention, should her focus be on growing the offline or online business?

8. Strategy Feedback Workshop #1

September 29

BRING YOUR LAPTOP TO CLASS!

During this in-class workshop, you will receive and provide in-person feedback in two teams of three people. Your feedback teammates will be drawn from the set of 10 peers who provided feedback on the feedback assignment. This workshop will let you dig deeper, providing context for your feedback and allowing you time to explain the feedback you provided to your classmates.

Required

  • Your laptop so that you can read each others’ memos.
  • Have reviewed your peers’ memos and provided feedback, most importantly FAQ questions.

MEASURING VALUE: THE STARTUP ECONOMICS OF EXPERIMENTATION

9. Ethena

NB: The next four cases require actual numeric calculations. This is the time to break out your calculator and finance brain!

October 4 Ethena

Required

Optional

Assignment Questions

  1. Why was Petraeus able to recognize the opportunity present in the compliance training market? How similar is the strategy outlined by Petraeus and Solmssen in their pre-seed (Supplement 1) and Series A (Supplement 3) pitch decks? What do the similarities and differences reveal about the promise of this startup idea?
  2. Review Gullov-Singh’s analysis of the mid-market opportunity. Are you convinced that targeting the mid-market would enable the team to “cross the chasm” and scale the business? Why?
  3. Should Ethena focus on enterprise sales? Why is it better or worse to compete for enterprise rather than mid-market customers?
    1. If you think they shouldn’t target enterprise, what experiments or data would convince you otherwise? Be specific.
    2. If you think Ethena should focus on enterprise, is Petraeus still the right person to lead Ethena?
  4. Read Bill Gurley’s All Revenue is Not Created Equal: The Keys to the 10X Revenue Club. Is the Ethena business model closer to a 1x or 10x valuation-to-annual-revenue business? Why? Do you think enterprise or mid-market segment will drive greater multiples long term?

10. Performance Indicator

October 5

The founders of Performance Indicator, Orinski and Winskowicz, have developed a new, patented technology that discolors golf balls when they become water-damaged. The company is trying to license the technology, and initial calculations suggest golf-ball manufacturers should be willing to pay substantial sums to use Performance Indicator’s IP.

Required

  • Performance Indicator

Assignment Questions

  1. Why has it been so difficult for Osinski and Winskowicz to get a golf ball manufacturer to sign a contract for their new technology?
  2. How much do you think a potential customer (that is, a golf ball manufacturer such as Bridgestone or Acushnet) should be willing to pay for Performance Indicator’s technology?
  3. In light of your analysis, what should Osinski and Winskowicz do?

11. Washio

October 11 Washio with guest Jordan Metzner

Jordan Metzner had been living the California dream. His Los Angeles based company, Washio, had seen monthly revenue grow from $57,000 in November 2013 to $224,000 in June 2014. The Series he raised in June of 2014 valued the company at $40 million, valuing the company at 15X annual revenue. However, just a year later Metzner was struggling to raise a Series B round and Washio was losing $860,000 a month, leaving the company just months of runway.

Required

  • Washio (A) case
  • Three short (B) cases that provide helpful scenario analysis.

Optional

Assignment Questions

  1. Should Washio raise prices? By how much? Use exhibits in the (A) case along with the scenarios in the (B1) case to quantify your argument.
  2. Should Washio cut costs? Where and by how much? Use exhibits in the (A) case along with the scenarios in the (B2) case to quantify your argument.
  3. Should Washio vertically integrate? Use exhibits in the (A) case along with the scenarios in the (B3) case to quantify your argument.
  4. Review the P&L (Exhibits 1 and 8) and cash flows (Exhibit 7). If you had a time machine, what date would you travel back to? What would you tell Metzner to do?

12. Framebridge

October 12

Tim O’Shaughnessy was concerned with founder and CEO Susan Tynan’s strategy. Framebridge’s annual revenue had grown about 50% from just under $16 million in 2017 to $23 million in 2018. But operating income losses had grown almost as much, rising 40% from a loss of $14 million in 2017 to a loss of $20 million in 2018.

Required

  • Framebridge Case

Optional

  • Framebridge Pitch Deck Supplement

Assignment Questions

  1. Should Tynan double down on her existing strategy or pivot to a new business model? Why? If you think she should pivot, what should her new business model be?
  2. Having decided on a strategy in the question above, what concrete changes would you make to Framebridge? For example, would you need to hire new executives? Fire existing talent? Change how the factory operates? Open stores? Change pricing? What short-term metrics would tell you that your changes are working?
  3. Given your answers to 1 and 2, how will your strategy impact the economics shown in the income statement in Exhibit 10? If you added a column for 2019 in Exhibit 10 what would change and by how much? In 2020? Be specific and write down hard numbers!
  4. How would you convince the board of your plan (Exhibit 6)? What would they want to hear? What evidence would they need to see?

TESTING VALUE: GENERATING NEW SIGNALS

October 18, 19, and 20 No class. You should be busy running experiments to test your startup theory! 🥼⚗️🧪🔬

13. Strategy Feedback Workshop #2

October 26

BRING YOUR LAPTOP TO CLASS!

During this in-class workshop, you will receive and provide in-person feedback in two teams of three people focused on the signals generated by the experiments run the week prior. Your feedback teammates will be drawn from the set of 10 peers who provided feedback on the feedback assignment. This workshop will let you dig deeper, providing context for your feedback and allowing you time to explain the feedback you provided to your classmates.

Required

  • Your laptop so that you can read each others’ memos.
  • Have reviewed your peers’ memos and provided feedback, most importantly FAQ questions.

14. The Bessemer Memos

October 27

This session will dive deeper into how others interpret your startup idea. How do they interpret your theory of value? What makes them believe you experiments? Towards this end, you will read actual investment memos penned by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP). I have masked the company names to create a tad more suspense in our discussion of the memos. After delving into the memos, you will get a chance to write your own brief memos as part of an in class exercise where you will pitch your startup idea to your peers who will then pen a brief Bessemer style investment memo.

Required

Assignment Questions

  1. Cowan, Cham, and Kurzweil recommend an investment of $200k CamCo. Do you agree with them? If you do, would you invest $1mm?
  2. Fisher, Levine, and Reshef recommend buying ~17.5% of WorkDeal for an investment of $3.5mm. Do you agree? How does the Outcomes Table on page 7 influence your decision?
  3. Please be prepared to give a two-minute elevator pitch of your startup idea to your peers. This will be verbal pitch, no slides or handouts, just you talking about your idea.

DISCOVERING VALUE: HOW FOUNDERS LEARN

15. Rheaply

November 2 with guest Garry Cooper

Garry Cooper did not follow a linear model: after completing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Northwestern, he moved into consulting before starting Rheaply in Chicago. His startup also was far from linear: starting as a digital version of a “surplus lab supplies cart” to a PPE marketplace for SMBs to a sustainability-focused circular economy solution.

Required

  • Read “Rheaply: Circularity for Every Business” case. You need only briefly skim Exhibit 7, the Q4 2022 letter.
  • Skim ‘’Case Supplement 1, Rheaply: Circularity for Every Business” (Pre-seed funding deck)
  • Skim ‘’Case Supplement 2, Rheaply: Circularity for Every Business” (Series A+1 funding deck)

Assignment Questions

  1. Despite running many experiments and building a startup with $1 million in annual revenue, Rheaply’s post-money valuation remained flat at $6 million between the pre-seed and the Seed round. Do you think the seed valuation is fair? Why?
  2. Do you agree with Garry’s pivot to be a sustainability-focused “Circularity platform? Why? When should you listen to an investor’s or customer’s advice to pivot? How does the pivot to circularity shift how you would describe Rheaply’s theory of value: its problem, solution, and business model? Reflecting on question 1, is the $27 million post-money valuation Series A fair?
  3. In early 2020, Rheaply had $1 million in revenues and 10 customers. In 2022, Rheaply had roughly $2 million in revenues, 25 customers, and 17,000 users who had completed 125,000 exchanges. Given the many pivots between 2020 and 2022, what metrics do you think Rheaply needs to hit in 2023 to raise a successful Series B?
  4. Finally, please use this Google form https://forms.gle/XfqnRPJjp1rssF6v7 to suggest question(s) for Garry. I will download the responses at 8am before class.

16. Individual progress feedback with the Professor

November 3

Individual progress feedback session with the Professor for 20 minutes between 11/3 and 11/17. This is a required and graded check-in; I will grade your memo and how well you leverage the office hours to improve. I will give you lots of feedback! We will book feedback “office hours” during and outside the allotted class time to fit everyone in. You don’t need to meet with me every week (not enough hours in the week!), but you do need to meet me at least once.

17. Foodology

November 8 Foodology with guests Daniela Izquierdo and Juan Guillermo Azuero

Daniela Izquierdo and Juan Guillermo Azuero graduated from HBS in June 2019. Both thought they were destined for consulting, but by April 2020, they were co-founders of Foodology and were pitching their startup in HBS’s Alumni New Venture Competition.

Required

  • Foodology: Creating a Virtual Restaurant Group in Latin America.
    • Please pay special attention to Exhibit 1 (their New Venture Competition application) and Exhibit 6 (The feedback from New Venture Competition Judges). You can skim Appendix A.

Assignment Questions

  1. Foodolody started with four brands: Breakfast oriented Brunch & Munch (California-style) and Cacerola (Colombian options) and lunch and dinner-oriented Avocalia (healthier alternatives like salads and bowls) and Burritos & Co. (Tex-Mex). Should Izquierdo have instead focused and started with just one brand? Similarly, would a food truck or a pop-up in an established restaurant have been equally effective as a launch strategy to test the value created? Why?
  2. Review Exhibit 6, then:
    1. Pretend you are judge “T,” please rate Foodology’s New Venture Competition application (Exhibit 1) on the four dimensions as the New Venture Competition judges, calculate a total score, and write a few sentences of comments.
    2. Write down the letter of the judge you think gives the worst feedback. Put differently, which piece of feedback should Izquierdo and Azuero should ignore? Why?
    3. Write down the letter of the judge you think gives the best feedback. Put differently, which piece of feedback should Izquierdo and Azuero listen to the most? Why?
  3. Exhibit 2 and Appendix A highlight the many other cloud kitchen startups scaling worldwide, particularly in LATAM. Are Izquierdo and Azuero too late? Should they be worried about “first mover advantage?” Do the financial metrics in Exhibit 5 make you more or less worried?
  4. Finally, please use this Google form https://forms.gle/6ZTT4VHTT81eZh7j9 to suggest question(s) for Daniela and Juan Guillermo. I will download the responses at 8 a.m. before class.

18. Individual progress feedback with the Professor

November 9

Individual progress feedback session with the Professor for 20 minutes between 11/3 and 11/17. This is a required and graded check-in; I will grade your memo and how well you leverage the office hours to improve. I will give you lots of feedback! We will book feedback “office hours” during and outside the allotted class time to fit everyone in. You don’t need to meet with me every week (not enough hours in the week!), but you do need to meet me at least once.

19. HeyJane

November 16 HeyJane with guests Kiki Freedman and Gabriela Santana Goldstein

Despite massive regulatory uncertainty, Kiki Freedman (MBA 2020) built her virtual abortion clinic, Hey Jane, from an idea in the Summer of 2019 to a fast-growing startup that had raised $9.7 million in capital, had served over 20,000 patients, had 100,000 followers on TikTok, and was increasingly recognized as a key voice on the business of abortion rights. At the same time, a slew of other online abortion providers had also entered the space, and Freedman and Gabriel Santana (MBA 2020) were trying to work out what Hey Jane should do next.

Required

  • “Hey Jane: Delivering Abortion Pills to the Doorstep”
  • “Hey Jane: Early Investor Pitch Deck”

Optional

  • “Hey Jane: Background on Abortion in the U.S.”

Assignment Questions

  1. Review Freedman’s pitch deck from 2019, when the company was still named “POSSIBLE health.” What was the theory of value? Is building a virtual abortion clinic the best niche for Freedman to begin with? What are the advantages and disadvantages compared to some of the other health conditions outlined in slide 3 of the pitch deck?
  2. Returning to Bill Gurley’s 10X club article, do you think Hey Jane have a “sustainable competitive advantage/moat” by the start of 2023? If you think Hey Jane has a moat, can the moat scale beyond abortion? Why?
  3. Review Exhibits 6 and 7 describing the PMAD Pilot and potential outcomes.
    1. Is this a well-designed experiment?
    2. Reviewing the pilot, what would you suggest Freedman and Santana do differently?
    3. If it fails, what would you learn about Hey Jane’s probability of success P and potential value V? What experiment would you propose they run if the pilot doesn’t work?
    4. If it succeeds, what would you learn about P and V? What experiment would you propose they run if the pilot is successful?

20. Individual progress feedback with the Professor

November 17

Individual progress feedback session with the Professor for 20 minutes between 11/3 and 11/17. This is a required and graded check-in; I will grade your memo and how well you leverage the office hours to improve. I will give you lots of feedback! We will book feedback “office hours” during and outside the allotted class time to fit everyone in. You don’t need to meet with me every week (not enough hours in the week!), but you do need to meet me at least once.

22. Office Hours

November 29

Optional office hours if you want feedback on your memo and deck before next week's final presentations.

23. Strategy Feedback Workshop #3

November 30

BRING YOUR LAPTOP TO CLASS!

During this in-class workshop, you will receive and provide in-person feedback in two teams of three people focused on the signals generated by the experiments run the week prior. Your feedback teammates will be drawn from the set of 10 peers who provided feedback on the feedback assignment. This workshop will let you dig deeper, providing context for your feedback and allowing you time to explain the feedback you provided to your classmates.

Required

  • Your laptop so that you can read each others’ memos.
  • Have reviewed your peers’ memos and provided feedback, most importantly FAQ questions.

23. Compass Pathways w/ Prof. Tiona Zuzul (TBC)

December 1

TBA

Conclusion

24. 👋 Final Presentations I

December 6

25. 👋 Final Presentations II

December 7