Emerging Technologies and Entrepreneurship
Gianluca Lazzi

Course Overview
Regardless as to whether you intend to start a company or not, “emerging technologies and entrepreneurship” provides skillsets that everyone can benefit from, no matter what you will be doing in your life. Warren Buffet says “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked;” this highlights that unpreparedness, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence are your worst enemies when it comes to determine your next steps as an entrepreneur and your skills are likely to prove essential in tough times, not good times. Gaining an understanding of operations, strategy, finance, business plans, and valuation will be invaluable for you and your career; the goal is to ensure that you learn to discover and seize opportunities, and learn how to approach them and operate so that you have the best chance to make the most out of them. Having great ideas is just the first part of the job: execution is just as important and can be the difference between failure and success or a job poorly done or well done. The difference that execution can make? Watch this video: .

In this course, we will cover the fundamental concepts at the heart of technology entrepreneurship, including fundamentals of how to form a team; management challenges; business plans; business canvases; strategy; financial statements; risk management; and venture financing. Students will form teams that will work toward launching a tech business venture and they will pitch their venture to the class at the end of the semester. Business cases will be used throughout the course and discussed both in class and in discussion boards. Students interested in learning more about technology entrepreneurship are encouraged to also consider including in their curriculum subsequent courses in the Engineering Entrepreneurship sequence, such as Business for Engineers I and Business for Engineers II (course names may change).

About the Instructor
Gianluca Lazzi is a USTAR Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah. He holds an MBA from IE Business School, Madrid, Spain (specialized in Corporate Finance); a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; and a Dr.Ing. in Electronics from the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Rome, Italy. Gianluca’s research work has been sponsored by several US federal agencies, including the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE). He has made contributions to the fields of bioelectromagnetics, liquid metal electronics, antennas, wireless electromagnetics and neurostimulation. He has dedicated much of his career to the development and engineering of an artificial retina to restore partial vision to the blind: in this project, he has been a co-investigator of a $ 70 M, Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored, center which involved three universities, five national laboratories, and one company (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc). He has collaborated over the years with the company Second Sight Medical Products, Inc, and followed their path from early venture to public company. He recently founded Bend LLC with the backing of private equity, which is focused on the development and commercialization of stretchable electronic systems for consumer electronics and advanced athletic apparel. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of AIMBE, and former Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters. He has received several awards, including the IEEE Wheeler Award, a R&D100 Award, a URSI Young Scientist Award, the BEMS “Curtis Carl Johnson Award,” a NSF CAREER Award, a Whitaker Young Investigator Award, and a NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award. Gianluca’s research work has been featured in publications such as Forbes, the Economist, MSNBC, MIT Technology Review, and several others.
Tentative Class Schedule (Note that class schedule and content may change during the semester)

Date Tentative Topic
Aug. 25 Introduction to the course, goals, and expectations. Introduction to the learning strategy behind the course: regular lectures, Harvard Business cases, presentations by student groups and guests.
Class introductions, discussion of team formation and approach to the “venture challenge.”
What is technology entrepreneurship? And who are entrepreneurs?
Our first case to think through together (Kellog’s) and introduction to strategy and Porter’s five forces.
Sept. 1 Porter’s five and understanding the industry we are in. The prisoner’s dilemma. Fundamentals of supply, demand, economic profit, and types of competition (e.g, perfect competition, monopoly).
Sept. 8 Introduction to business plans; Canvas and lean canvas
Sept. 15 In class discussion of a business case (Atari and Nintendo); Guest speaker
Sept. 22 Groups present their venture idea, framing their idea with basic concepts learned up to this point. What problem am I solving and is there a problem? What is the unique selling proposition and how is my product different? Who is my customer? What is my “unfair advantage”? What is my channel?
Sept. 29 Fundamentals of accounting; introduction to the accounting equation; cash and accrual accounting; journal entries.
Oct. 6 Fundamentals of corporate finance; financial statements; basic analysis of financial statements; concepts of leverage, company returns, profit, cost of capital.
Oct. 20 Financing our venture; what are the sources of capital? How much cash is needed and for what? How do we structure a deal? Financing Tradeoffs.
Oct. 27 Staged financing; dilution; financing structure; returns to investors and entrepreneurs; Guest Speaker.
Nov. 3 Guest Speakers; updates on groups’ “venture challenge”
Nov. 10 Team dynamics: in class exercise on understanding what works and what does not work in team dynamics. What challenges is each team experiencing? How could these be solved? This will be a class debate on team dynamics and an opportunity to revisit concepts covered up to this point.
Nov. 17 Founders’ dilemmas; equity splits; management organization; management succession strategies; in class case study
Dec. 1 Final presentations and reports
Dec. 8 Final presentations and reports

Course Objective
In this course, students will obtain:
Understanding of entrepreneurship fundamentals
Understanding of financial statement fundamentals and venture financing
Understanding of fundamentals of strategy
Ability to prepare a business plan and pitch the venture

Course Material
Course material will consist of readings, powerpoint presentations, and other documents either available on the web or provided by the instructor. Case studies will have to be purchased individually from Harvard Business School publishing (most cost approximately $ 8 and we may be working on 4-5 cases throughout the semester).

Group Venture Challenge, Group Projects, and Individual Homework:
There will be one Group Venture Challenge, Group Reports for case analysis, and individual homework, which may consist of participation in the discussion board set-up for the class. Attendance to the class is mandatory and absences must be approved in advance by the instructor.

Academic Integrity
expected to exhibit integrity in their conduct and are subject to the University of Utah Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (http:// Plagiarism of any form, for any assignment, will not be tolerated. If a student finds material that stimulates further understanding of the cases or the homework, the student should always clarify the source of the material in presentation, postings, or homework.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Statement
The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services. (

Wellness Statement
Personal concerns such as stress, anxiety, relationship difficulties, depression, cross-cultural differences, etc., can interfere with a student’s ability to succeed and thrive at the University of Utah. For helpful resources contact the Center for Student Wellness –; 801-581-7776.

Assignments and Grading Policy
Problem Sets or Group Cases: 35 %
Individual Participation (Class and Board Discussion): 25 %
Final Venture Pitch: 40 %. Grades for the final venture pitch will be based on both grades assigned by the instructor and grades assigned by the rest of the class.