For a number of years, Greg Gottesman and his fellow Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Matt McIlwain have taught an entrepreneurship course in the Foster School of Business. During Winter 2014 they taught the course in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, targeted to a technical audience that included CSE undergraduate and graduate students as well as Foster School MBA students. Greg offered a repeat of the course in Winter 2015 - an offering that added students from Interaction Design to the mix. In Winter 2016, 2017, and 2018, Greg - now Managing Director and Co-Founder of Pioneer Square Labs - offered it again. And now, in Winter 2019, Greg will again offer the course, with an assist, as in past years, from Allen School professor Ed Lazowska.

Greg is the very best. He has invested in over 100 companies as a venture capitalist, played a founding role in over 10 startups, and helped fund more than 15 UW CSE spinouts. He and the colleagues he will rope into providing guest lectures and student feedback 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, students in Interaction Design, and students in the Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program - 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 9 through March 6, in PACCAR 291. Final project presentations will take place Wednesday March 13 from 4:30-7:30 at Pioneer Square Labs. It will be a four credit, graded course. The UW faculty contact (and the author of this web page - don't blame Greg!) is Ed Lazowska.

Course Application

Course application is closed - we are wildly over-subscribed.

Course Syllabus, Reading Assignments, and Homework Assignments

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

Course Objectives

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. Forty percent 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!

Course Email

Send email to course members by using the address multi_cse490a_wi19 at

The archive of email is available here.


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

Prior to the first class, read Some Thoughts on Business Plans (HBS Case #9-897-101) and pages 3-14 of David Cohen and Brad Feld, Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup (UW Libraries electronic copy available here).

Texts - please be sure you have access to these!

Additional readings during the quarter - here's the lineup:


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

Homeworks should be emailed to Mariia Derevianko at Pioneer Square Labs - mariia at

Lecture Slides

Slides will be posted following most lectures ...

  • Class 1 (Introduction): Greg (Entrepreneurship Overview) pdf pptx
  • Class 3 (Customer Validation): Peter Denton (Leveraging Digital Marketing for Validation) pdf
  • Class 4 (Building Product): David Zager and Ben Gilbert (How to Design for Startups) pdf; Joe Heitzeberg (CrowdCow) pdf
  • Class 5 (Marketing Your Business): Aaron Easterly (Rover: Marketing In A Tech Marketplace) pdf pptx
  • Class 6 (Pricing & Go-to-Market): Palvi Mehta (Pricing Strategies) pdf
  • Class 7 (Financial Modeling & Business Planning): Ben Rush (Financial Modeling) pdf; Ben Rush (Sample P&L): xlsx Google Sheet; Xiao Wang (Boundless) pdf
  • Class 8 (Financing Dynamics): Jeana Kim (replacing her partner Craig Sherman) (Term Sheet) pdf; docx
  • Class 9 (Scaling & Exits): Dan Levitan (10 Greatest Lies About Early Stage VC Investing) pdf pptx; Greg (13 Key Characteristics of a Great Startup Culture) pdf pptx;

Final Presentations

On Wednesday March 13 at 4:30 p.m., there will be a 3-hour final pitch/demo session at Pioneer Square Labs (240 2nd Ave S #300).

2019 Team Projects

  • OverEasy - Effortless excellence in food safety for restaurants
  • - Digital assistant for improving public speaking skills
  • Stylit - Wardrobe styling for young male professionals
  • The U - Student and alumni Reddit-like network - anonymous honest answers
  • SafeMode - Waze-like app for personal safety in LatAm
  • S I A - Expert-driven library of audio summaries of bestsellers and self-help books
  • Finulate - Automated financial modeling for startups
  • ReelFish - CrowdCow for seafood
  • Bottomline - Accurate comparison of compensation packages

2018 Team Projects

  • Podessa - Business intelligence for podcast advertising
  • CodeLok - Storage where you need it
  • InstaUp - AI-powered content assistant for Instagram
  • Kache - Virtual goecaching
  • EdgeSports - Taking the heartburn out of sports scheduling
  • Gambit - Maximizing credit card rewards with ease
  • Roamed - Travel + healthcare
  • TechBuddies - Make technology your friend
  • Dining Pass - Restaurant subscription service
Dept or Curriculum: 
Greg Gottesman and Matt McIwain, Madrona Venture Group
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:15 p.m., CSE 305