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Learn about venture capital with online courses and programs

Startup businesses often require outside money, expertise, and guidance. Venture capital provides funding that can generate growth, mitigate individual risk, and propel innovation. Advance your venture capital knowledge with courses delivered through edX.

What is venture capital?

When a startup business needs funding, it turns to venture capitalists in the hope of raising money and resources. Companies that show high potential for long-term growth are attractive prospects for generating venture capital (VC), which can come in the form of cash, technology, or professional expertise.

VC can be provided at various stages of the startup cycle. Funding rounds may start from the outset and continue through a company’s IPO (initial public offering). Understanding the entire process helps businesses identify appropriate investors and allows financial backers to support new, promising innovations.

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Venture capital course curriculum

Learning about venture capital will be different depending on where you want to fit into the process. edX offers a variety of educational options for both entrepreneurs and the individuals who plan to fund them. Business owners looking to secure funding may first start by taking an online course in innovation and entrepreneurship, which can cover important concepts such as:

  • Value innovation and opportunity identification

  • Value proposition design

  • Risk mitigation 

  • Financing strategies including angel investors, VC, and alternative sources of capital

For aspiring venture capitalists, coursework may involve studying finance and similar topics to build a comprehensive understanding of the VC world. Courses may explore the following topics:

  • Foundations of modern finance: corporate finance, capital budgeting, real and financial options, capital structure, yield curve analysis, and corporate risk management.

  • Financial decision-making: valuation theory, financial securities, risk analysis, portfolio theory, derivatives pricing, hedging strategies, and asset pricing models.

  • Financial reporting: recording transactions and analyzing financial statements to assess corporate performance.

  • Applied computational techniques: quantitative finance and financial engineering.

No matter which route you choose, courses are available that align with your goals and needs. edX provides accelerated fintech boot camps for learners who want to upskill quickly, and busy professionals can explore a variety of executive education courses tailored to individuals in leadership and management positions. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program, or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program.

Explore jobs that work with venture capital

There are many players involved in both sides of the venture capital funding process, giving you plenty of opportunities to participate. Understanding how venture capital is courted and the various ways it can be acquired and distributed can benefit a variety of professional roles, including:

  • Entrepreneur: Starts a business, assuming all risk and responsibility for its success or failure. Knowledge of the VC funding process is especially useful in forming relationships with outside investors.

  • Investment banker: Acts as a middleman between a business and the venture capitalists funding it. Their skills depend on understanding VC from both sides of the partnership.Footnote 1

  • Lawyer: Protects the interests of their clients through legal representation. They may advise entrepreneurs or venture capitalists on various matters related to ownership or investment.Footnote 2

  • Venture capitalist: Exchanges capital for an equity stake in a company. They may provide funding for small businesses and startups, which has potential to bring in a considerable return on investment.Footnote 3

  • Chief financial officer (CFO): Handles financial matters within an organization. This often includes investor relations and working with venture capitalists to raise appropriate funds.Footnote 4

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that may rely on venture capital knowledge can differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher level degree while others may only ask for a demonstration of skills. Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.