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Cambridge Startup Funding: Pre-seed to Exit Programme

Demystify the process of start-up fundraising from pre-seed to exit
Secure your spot before orientation begins.

July 6, 2022
Enrol by July 12, 2022

Demystify the process of start-up fundraising from pre-seed to exit
Secure your spot before orientation begins.

Improve funding outcomes for your new business venture. Learn how to structure your project so it is more investable, communicate the investment merits of your project, be more efficient in the fundraising process, and improve the terms of investments.

  • Length:
    6 weeks
  • Language:
  • Effort:
    7-10 hours per week, self-paced online learning

Why Study Startup Funding?

The university of cambridge's startup funding: pre-seed to exit six week online programme goes beyond what first-time entrepreneurs and seasoned founders leading high-growth companies must understand when raising capital – especially at a venture’s earliest funding stages (seed to series b). The programme will cover exactly how to fund a venture and navigate critical inflection points along a company's growth trajectory to achieve either a successful exit, or long-term operational viability.

This programme walks you through, step-by-step, how to improve your funding outcomes for your entrepreneurial project. You will learn how to structure your project so it is more investable, communicate the investment merits of your project, be more efficient in the fundraising process, and improve the terms of investments.

University of cambridge has been responsible for over 140 startups since 2011, and these companies have raised over £1.9b in equity investment across more than 400 rounds. Notable spin-outs include gene therapy company quethera, voice-controlled ai platform vocaliq, and ai cyber defense company darktrace.

"This programme equips you with knowledge that fuses together the two important perspectives that drive successful development for start ups—the fundraising skill set and the managerial competencies and skills that will help you balance the steps forward and the decisions needed to go from pre-seed through exit."
Stylianos (Stelios) Kavadias, Margaret Thatcher Professor Of Enterprise Studies In Innovation And Growth Co-Director Of Entrepreneurship Centre, CJBS Academic Director, Advanced Leadership Programme

Is This Right For You?

The Cambridge Startup Funding: Pre-seed to Exit programme is designed for entrepreneurs looking to acquire direct experience in:

  • Developing a plan for an investable project
  • Accurately assessing the financing stage of a new venture
  • Using a framework to develop a funding roadmap for a new business based on a venture development framework
  • Identifying the right investor for a project at each development stage of the new venture
  • Developing an effective pitch deck to secure funding

Programme content

An overview of the programme, how to use the platform used to deliver it, and an introduction to the community of fellow innovators and leaders.

Explore foundational investment concepts, sources of funding, term sheets and the Markides Framework to initiate the process of developing a fundraising road map with key milestones.

The earliest stage of funding a new company, the "pre-seed" stage refers to the period in which a company's founders are first getting their operations off the ground. Working in a team environment, you will define a strategic position, understand how to evaluate investor fit and develop a pre-seed funding round pitch for an actual business venture.

Seed capital refers to the type of financing used in the formation of a startup. Funding is provided by private investors—usually in exchange for an equity stake in the company or for a share in its profits. Much of the seed capital a company raises may come from sources close to its founders including family, friends and other acquaintances. Obtaining seed capital is the first of four funding stages required for a startup to become an established business. During this module, you will develop a pitch for seed-stage investors.

Series A funding refers to an investment in a privately-held startup company, after it has shown progress in building its business model and demonstrates the potential to grow and generate revenue. Combining research, strategic planning, valuation methods, sociology and storytelling, you will move into pitch development for series A investors.

Series B funding is the second round of funding for a company that has met certain milestones, and is past the initial startup stage. Building on the Series A pitch, you will prepare a Series B funding pitch to investors.

Understand how additional financing options become available for growth and expansion opportunities once a business has matured, as well as ways to evaluate acquisitions or mergers with other companies. You will also deconstruct pitches, and collaborate on a final pitch to complete the funding cycle.

What you will gain

Proof of knowledge through the prestigious Certificate of Completionissued by the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

A powerful professional networkfrom building connections with a global cohort of leaders, influencers and programme participants

Coveted industry knowledgefrom market-driven curriculum designed and delivered to the standard of an elite academic institution

Acquisition and retention of new skillssupported by an AI-driven learning platform, individual and team-based programming, and individual success coaching

Your Academic Programme Directors

Robert (Bob) Wardrop
Programme Director

Management Practice Professor University of Cambridge Judge Business School


Bob is an economic sociologist interested in understanding how and why channels and instruments of finance emerge outside the traditional financial system and how this impacts regulators, incumbent financial institutions and consumers. In addition to his role at the University of Cambridge, Bob is a member of the Steering Committee for the Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery (C2D3), an interdisciplinary research centre at Cambridge bringing together expertise from across academic departments and industry to drive research into the analysis, understanding and use of big data. Prior to pursuing his academic career in 2010, Bob had an international career as a professional investor, most recently as a Managing Director in the investment group of one of the largest privately-owned companies in the United States, where he was responsible for a portfolio of European corporate debt and equity investments. He has held several board directorships and advisory roles with academic, governmental and commercial organisations over the course of both his academic and non-academic career.

Stylianos (Stelios) Kavadias
Programme Director

Margaret Thatcher Professor of

Enterprise Studies in Innovation and Growth, Co-Director of Entrepreneurship Centre, CJBS, Academic Director, Advanced Leadership Programme


Stelios has spent his career researching and teaching on the challenges of innovating and growing across the company lifecycle; topics include Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy Execution across a number of institutions (CJBS, Georgia Tech, INSEAD, Darden Business School, ALBA). He researches business model innovation, scale-up strategies, and strategic pivots that makes start-up efforts succeed or fail. Stelios holds a MS in E&CE from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and a Ph.D. from INSEAD in France. Previously he was the Steven A. Denning Chair in Technology and Management at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech, and a Fellow of the Batten Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia.

Guest experts

Rob Genieser-Managing Partner, ETF Partners. /Simon Thorpe-Managing Partner, Delta2020. /Danny Bin-Co-Founder, MisenBox. /Thabo Lenneiye-Co-Founder, MisenBox. /Ariane de Bonvoison-Start-up and Founder Coach, Former VC and Entrepreneur. /Tim Guilliams-CEO, Healx. /Stefanos Capsaskis-Senior Associate, Dept of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, University of Cambridge. /Maelis Carraro-Managing Director, Catalyst Fund. /Suranga Chandratillake-General Partner at Balderton Capital.

Want to know more?

Using live interactive tools and AI, Esme Learning is transforming the experience of group collaboration through its proprietary, breakthrough technology platform.

The most effective learning experiences occur in small groups who are engaged in problem solving, creative tasks, or complex decision making. In an online work environment, when people lack conversational cues, it’s hard for teams to build rapport and be successful.

Esme Learning’s platform changes the way team members interact in real-time, while video calls are happening. It uses AI to analyse online conversation dynamics and provide real-time personalised feedback to each participant to ensure that the exchange of ideas is not dominated by a single person, and that the conversation is as inclusive as possible. Simple on-screen cues guide participants to more effective team interactions.

You may pay your course fees in one upfront payment via credit or bank card, or you may opt to split payment in two or three installments. A 5% administrative fee will be added to any split payments. Financing options are also available for select courses and programmes. Discounts are not included in financing options. For more information, schedule a callwith a learning advisor.

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Recognising that working executives require fast and efficient methods of upgrading their skills, Esme Learning has blended art and science to produce an online learning platform that drives results.

We leverage cognitive and neuroscience research, personalised and individualised success coaching, and next-generation artificial intelligence technologies to enhance the learning experience--resulting in a course completion rate that is 30x higher than our competitors.

Helping employees upgrade their skills benefits employers and employees alike. Many organisations offer tuition reimbursement programmes as it is easier to retain top talent, and investing in up-skilling can be more cost-effective than hiring new staff. For employees, taking advantage of your employer-sponsored tuition programmes is the perfect way to build skills while also building value for your company. For a sample letter to send to your employer requesting tuition reimbursement, please reach out to one of our course advisors.

As part of our commitment to your professional development, Esme Learning offers you up to a two-week period to change your course start date or request your money back if you’re not fully satisfied.

To qualify for a deferral of your course start date, or to cancel your enrolment and receive a refund of your course fee, your request would need to reach our Success Team before the end of Module 1. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

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Collaborative AI-enhanced learning

We teach executives as they work - in cross-functional teams. Learners participate in interactive simulations and team projects which reinforce applied learning and enhance collaboration and complex problem solving skills. If you are looking for an individually-paced course, this course is not for you.