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Section I: Introduction

Week 1: Entrepreneurial Fundamentals

March 29th, 2011

Guest Lecture: Prof. Tom Byers, Stanford University MS&E Department

Professor Tom Byers’ expertise is on technology and high-growth entrepreneurship. He is founder and a faculty co-director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP). He is also the chairman of the Committee for Undergraduate Standards and Policies (C-USP) and deputy chair of the Management Science and Engineering department.

This lecture will address the following:

  • What does it mean to innovate? Is it the same in Russia and the US?

  • General facts about starting businesses in Russia vs US

  • Success stories – case studies of innovations.

  • What’s a business plan? Business plan structure

  • Understanding the key elements to a successful entrepreneurial start-up.

Week 2: Lecture/Discussion with Russian Entrepreneur

April 5th, 2011

Guest Lecturer: Igor Shoifot, Russian Entrepreneur

Igor Shoifot is the CEO at He was most recently a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of world’s largest independent photo site,, used by millions of customers to store billions of photos and videos. He was CEO of Microsoft WebTV’s largest site, Epsylon Games and founded start-ups in VOD, VoIP, biotech and document management, published articles and interviews at The Wall Street Journal, Venture Beat, San Francisco Examiner and other publications. Currently, he is working on the book “101 Viral Growth Tools” and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on viral marketing, communications and entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley, and previously taught at New York University for many years. He holds PhD, MBA, MA and BA degrees. 

This lecture will address the following:

  • Give students a basic framework for what made his company successful

  • Overview of obstacles confronting Russian and U.S. entrepreneurial relations, and how Mr. Shoifot and his company overcame these obstacles.

  • Overall advice for students and answers to questions.

Week 3: Key innovation trends

April 12th, 2011

Guest Lecturer: Alexandra Johnson, Managing Director of DFJ VTB Aurora

Alexandra Johnson is a Managing Director of DFJ VTB Aurora. She currently works in the Silicon Valley where she focuses on early stage companies in communications, media, and technology industries headquartered both inside and outside of Russia.

This lecture will address the following:

  • General Innovation Trends : geographical markets, product markets (Nano, IT, Pharma, Clean energy, E-commerce), geo-relocation of innovations

  • Russian Innovation Trends

    • go back to the 1990s and look at the first “entrepreneurs”, not oligarch and contrast them to the first Silicon Valley entrepreneurs

    • Russian privatization led by Chubais  how did it affect innovation trends in Russia

    • Russian Silicon Valley – the hope for innovation

  • Case studies contrasting Russian and U.S. innovation

Section II: Business plan

Week 4: Intellectual property management

April 19th, 2011

Guest Lecturer: Konstantin Bochkarev, Stanford Law School, LLM

Konstantin was previously a practicing intellectual property attorney in Moscow at Lovells' Moscow office.  His inspiration in coming to study at Stanford Law School is to return to Russia to help build the emerging Intellectual Property system. He maintains a great deal of expertise in Russian intellectual property law.

This lecture will address the following:

  • The legal aspects of innovation.

  • Compare Russian IP law vs. U.S. IP law

    • Historical perspective: look at legislative background of both countries and how it influences the current state of legality

    • Current perspective: what Russia is doing to innovate its IP laws

  • Patents and licenses, how to secure innovation?

    • Getting to the details, both in Russia and the U.S.

  • Case studies of intellectual property law in Russia and the U.S.

Week 5: Marketing

Guest Lecturer: Guez Salinas, Silicon-Valley entrepreneur

April 26th, 2011

Mr. Salinas is a current Stanford student and rising entrepreneur. He has a great deal of experience in marketing a product and making it attractive for high-end investors.

This lecture will address the following:

  • How to gather data and conduct research

  • Market analysis – create new market vs. a niche at current market

  • Viral Marketing – digital start-ups

  • Marketing mix and market strategy

  • Software

  • Case studies

Week 6: Finance

Guest Lecturer: Prof. Jonathan Berk, Stanford Graduate School of Business (tentative)

May 3rd, 2011

Jonathan Berk is the A.P. Giannini Professor of Finance at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. His research covers a broad range of topics in finance including delegated money management; asset pricing (the relation between stock returns and characteristics of the firm, such as accounting numbers, investment, firm size, etc.); valuing the firm’s growth potential, the firm’s capital structure decision, and the interaction between labor markets and financial markets. He has also explored individual rationality in an experimental setting. He has co-authored two finance textbooks: Corporate Finance and Fundamentals of Finance.

This lecture will address the following:

  • P&L

  • Investment analysis and DCF models

  • Evaluation models

    • Professor will address all 5 businesses and give them specific ideas on how to develop their stuff.

  • How to predict unpredictable costs and revenues?

  • Risks in entrepreneurial finance

  • Case studies

Week 7: Communications

Guest Lecturer: Prof. JD Shramm, Stanford Graduate School of Business

May 10th, 2011

JD Schramm joined the GSB faculty in the fall of 2007 to create and launch communication courses as part of the new GSB curriculum. In 2009 he led the development and launch of the Mastery in Communication Initiative to help GSB students at all levels of expertise improve their mastery of speaking and writing. He leads a team of writing specialists who serve as coaches to the first year MBA students taking the required Critical Analytical Thinking (CAT) course. He teaches courses in Political Communication, Strategic Communication, Executive Communication (Sloan only), and Communication Strategies for Scholars (PhD only).

This lecture will address the following:

  • Communications fundamentals

  • How to present and communicate your idea

Section III: Approaching investors

Week 8: Contract Negotiation and Valuation for Entrepreneurs

Guest Lecturer: Prof. Steve Ciesinski, Stanford Graduate School of Business

May 17th, 2011

Prof. Ciesinski is a corporate officer with SRI International, as well as Vice President of Strategic Business Development. He has responsibility for SRI's commercial business development, international operations, innovation programs, corporate energy and industrial sector initiatives, strategic marketing and other corporate programs. His professional experience includes: consumer products, semiconductor capital equipment, telecommunications, mobile/wireless, applications software, Web 2.0, open source, medical devices, and many others.

This lecture will address the following:

  • Do we need investors and why?

  • Types of investors (parents, angels, VC, companies) and what do they look for in a start-up?

  • Key trade-offs

  • Simulation: investor vs. new venture team

Tasks: Choose investor type and make a preliminary offer

Section VI: Presentation and results

Note: Russian Entrepreneurs will fly to Stanford for final presentation of projects to Venture Capitalists.

Week 9: Final Presentations to Venture Capitalists and Comments from Venture Capitalist representatives

May 24th, 2011

This week Russian entrepreneurs and Stanford Students will present their projects to a panel of Venture Capitalists and Stanford professors. The panel will consist of the faculty, entrepreneurs, and VC’s that the course has had as guest lecturers. VC’s and professors will be available to provide feedback and critique of the projects, and provide the teams with areas of strength and weakness in their overall presentations. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to gain insight into the marketing and presentation aspect of creating a business, getting real and immediate feedback from experts in their respective fields. This is meant to be an exciting and intellectually stimulating event, where academic rigor and valuable insight can help students and entrepreneurs gain a better feel for how the project presentation to Venture Capitalists unfolds.

Week 10: Final Discussion

May 31st, 2011

Following the conclusion of the course, this week will be a summarization of the past 9 weeks. It will be an opportunity for students and entrepreneurs to comment of the effectiveness of the course, their respective projects, and the quality of their business proposals.