The SMU Venture Finance Certificate

Course Objective

The Venture Finance Certificate Course: Fundraising for Startups is a 4-week program designed to give entrepreneurs the tools to raise capital for their startups.  

Learning Outcomes/Topics Covered include:

  • Terminology, tools, and techniques for speaking to professional investors

  • The ability to develop a formal valuation of a business idea

  • Understanding venture capital firms and their investments

  • Structuring the deal

  • Understand qualitative and quantitative screening exercises to help determine an idea's commercial viability and much, much more...

Course Material

Optional textbook:  ENTREPRENEURIAL FINANCE - 7th Edition - Leach and Melicher

About the Instructors:

Brian Bartles has over 20 years of experience building and advising entrepreneurial companies.  He began his career as an investment banking analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and later joined Churchill, Terry, and Associates as a management consultant.  Mr. Bartles has founded two companies focused on international trade as well as an investment management firm.  Since 2012, he has been an adjunct professor teaching entrepreneurial finance in the MBA program at SMU's Cox School of Business.  Mr. Bartles holds an AB in Economics from Princeton University and an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Simon Mak (@profsmak) is Executive Director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Practice in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Business Economics at the SMU Cox School of Business.  He directs the Caruth Institute staff and its many community service programs, such as the Dallas 100 Entrepreneur Awards, the Southwest Venture Forum, and the Venture Finance Certificate Course: Fundraising for Startups.  In addition, Dr. Mak leads the academic entrepreneurship programs at Cox by overseeing the BBA Specialization in Entrepreneurship and the MBA/graduate program in entrepreneurship, managing a team of over a dozen adjunct professors in teaching over 20 entrepreneurship courses.  Dr. Mak also works with the Lyle School of Engineering on the MS in Engineering Entrepreneurship degree program.

Course Fee: $495 - A portion of the tuition was underwritten by a generous contributor to continue to support entrepreneurs.  Thank you!

For more information and to learn the next certificate cohort dates, contact Nancy J. Hong at or call 214.768.3330.