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Founders Factory launch new online course to boost skills needed to build the next generation of VC-backable businesses

FutureLearn, the UK’s leading social learning platform, and Founders Factory, a world-leading startup studio and accelerator programme, today announce the launch of a new online course, Venture Design: How to create venture backable businesses from scratch”. The course aims to upskill and inspire those who want to learn how to set up a VC-backable business, arming them with practical tips and tricks to turn a dream career into reality

The search for VC-backable businesses today has only been accelerated by the pandemic, with sectors now in particular focus relating to remote working, healthcare, sustainability and e-commerce. According to industry figures, in 2018 alone, more than $254 billion was invested into new ventures. Going forward, SMEs will play a huge role in rebuilding the economy, and currently account for three fifths of employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. However, there is a clear risk associated with setting up a business, given that on average over 90 percent of new ventures will fail. This course will help learners understand how they can take advantage of their huge potential and opportunities to benefit from VC investment. 

“Venture Design: How to create venture backable businesses from scratch” will run over six weeks and be available online to all ages. It will cover the fundamental skills needed to come up with and test new venture ideas from scratch, demystify the venture building process, provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the core skills to identify and develop their own start-up, and provide the means to upskill and reskill for a ‘new normal’ in light of the pandemic.

Hosted on FutureLearn and drawing on expertise from Founders Factory, the course will arm a generation with the skills and confidence to launch new businesses that will regenerate the economy. It will also enable those affected by widespread redundancies and business collapses to seek new opportunities, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a tremendous impact on the job market and wider economy. 

The course will share top tips for launching a VC-backable business, including how to:

  • spot opportunities by looking at markets that are ripe for disruption
  • collect data to better understand unmet customer needs 
  • develop a business plan that outlines your value proposition, ‘go-to-market’ strategy, and distribution plans
  • deliver an investment pitch that is rehearsed but remains authentic

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“We are so excited to be partnering with an organisation that works with the world’s leading founders and corporates. We hope that this course on building a startup from scratch will inspire our millions of learners to build, fund and scale their own startups, as they are a core driver in our economy and will be more important than ever as we recover from the pandemic. 

“As we experience huge shifts in the ways we learn, work and live, this course will make a great contribution to efforts across the UK to add new skills and capabilities to our workforce and economy.”  

Sahil Sachdev, Head of Venture Design, Founders Factory, said: 

“We’ve learned so much over the last five years about what it takes to build a startup from scratch, from taking that first idea and developing into a concept, through to what it takes for a venture-scale business to succeed. 

“We designed this course to share those learnings, lower the barrier to entrepreneurship, and help more people create and build more venture-backable businesses regardless of their background, age, network or access to capital. For Founders Factory as well, we see this as a great way to engage with founders who are at the beginning Sheof their startup journeys and leave the doors open to learners to pitch their ideas to us.

The course is open for enrolment now on at a price of £62, and teaching commences on 19 October 2020. Learners will be able to enrol and begin the course on a rolling basis.


About Founders Factory

Founders Factory powers founders to go further, faster. As the world’s leading startup studio and accelerator program, the Founders Factory team validates ideas, builds founding teams, finds first customers, and invests directly in startups across multiple disciplines.

Started by Brent Hoberman, Henry Lane Fox, and George Northcott, Founders Factory has received investment from leading corporates across four hubs in New York, London, Paris, and Johannesburg: Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (New York); Marks & Spencer, L’Oréal, easyJet, Guardian Media Group, Aviva, Holtzbrinck, CSC and Reckitt Benckiser (London); Aviva France (Paris); and Standard Bank and Netcare (Johannesburg).

Founders Factory has built over 35, invested in over 140 startups to date and secured over 200 commercial pilots for its startups with 36% of those pilots resulting in enterprise contracts and direct investments.   

About FutureLearn

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support millions of learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi, Founders4Schools and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.


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