For a number of years, Greg Gottesman and Matt McIlwain - both Managing Directors at Madrona Venture Group - have taught an entrepreneurship course in the Foster School of Business. During Winter 2014 they taught the course in Computer Science & Engineering, targeted to a technical audience that included Foster School MBA students as well as CSE undergraduate and students. There will be a repeat of this fantastic course in Winter 2015!

Madrona has funded more than a dozen UW CSE startups. Greg and Matt are the very best. They have a wealth of experience to share. The course is, above all, practical - interdisciplinary teams will develop a pitch, product demo, and business plan.

This course is open to CSE undergraduates, combined BS/MS students, Professional Masters Program students, and Ph.D. students, as well as to Foster School MBA students, and to students in Interaction Design - all by permission of the instructors in order to ensure balance among the participants. There will be no auditing - everyone needs to be all-in. And teams will form early - if you hang on for a while and then bail, you'll be letting others down, so please don't do this.

The course will meet Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:15, from January 7 through March 18 in PACCAR 291. It will be a four credit, graded course. The CSE faculty contact (and the author of this web page - don't blame Greg and Matt!) is Ed Lazowska.

Course Syllabus

Here is a detailed syllabus in Word and pdf that includes the content of each evening's presentation and the schedule of reading assignments. The two sections below are quoted from the syllabus:

Course Objective

The course objectives are two-fold: (1) to develop an awareness and understanding of the range, scope, and complexity of issues involved in starting a technology business; and (2) to gain insight into how entrepreneurs conceive, adapt, and execute strategies to create new, successful businesses.

Course Overview

This course is about entrepreneurship and specifically about starting, growing, managing, leading, and ultimately exiting a new venture. Of all the courses you take at the University of Washington, this one will likely be the most hands-on. One-third of your grade will be based on a pitch, product demo and business plan that you develop with your team. The course sessions will follow the natural order of starting a new business: choosing your idea and your team, validating that idea with customers, honing your initial pitch, dealing with the legal issues of starting a business, building a great product, deciding among financing strategies, developing a go-to-market and operating plan, and exiting successfully. We will spend part of nearly every three-hour block giving you feedback on your actual pitch, your product, and your business generally. To ensure that this course is practical, we will invite numerous guests who are currently working in the venture ecosystem: CEOs, venture capitalists, lawyers, journalists, etc.

It should be a fun ride. We hope you enjoy it!

Last Year's Course Web

You can get a flavor for the course by checking out last year's course web, here.

Course Email

Send email to course members by using the address lazowska_wi15 at

The archive of email is available here.


The schedule of readings is noted on the syllabus (Word or pdf).

Text - please acquire this!

Also worth reading: Readings - here's the lineup:

Lecture Slides

Slides will be posted following each lecture ...

  • Class 1 (Introduction): Greg (Entrepreneurship Overview) pdf pptx
  • Class 4 (Customer Validation): Scott Jacobson (Amazon's Approach to Product Definition) pdf Haiku Deck / Ben Gilbert & Joe Heitzeberg (Customer Development) pdf
  • Class 5 (Fundraising): Annotated term sheet Word, Excel
  • Class 7 (Financial Modeling): Tim Porter (Constructing a Business Plan and Financial Forecast) pdf pptx
  • Class 8 (Team Building, IP Management): Patrick Ennis (Invention Capital, Open Innovation, and Valuing IP) pdf
  • Class 9 (Execution): What Defines Madrona Venture Labs pdf docx / Greg (Thirteen Key Characteristics of a Great Startup Culture) pdf pptx / Mike Fridgen (GTM: Startup Style) pdf
  • Class 10 (Exits): Aber Whitcomb (MySpace) pdf pptx

Final Presentations

Friday March 13, 2:00-5:00 p.m., Madrona Venture Group, 999 Third Avenue, 34th Floor

  • 2:00 - 2:12: Receiptax
  • 2:15 - 2:27: AppFactory
  • 2:30 - 2:42: Authality
  • 2:45 - 2:57: BarFront
  • 3:00 - 3:12: Career Fair Optimization
  • 3:15 - 3:27: PatronPass
  • 3:30 - 3:42: PhotoRD
  • 3:45 - 4:00: StraightStock
  • 4:00 - 4:15: Wrap up
  • 4:15 - 5:00: Reception
Dept or Curriculum: 
Greg Gottesman and Matt McIwain, Madrona Venture Group
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:15 p.m., CSE 305