Street Smart Startups: How to Understand and Influence People from Day 1 through IPO  

Special Topics in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

INDENG 190E (1 Unit)

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Class Description

Students will learn from lectures and conversation with successful entrepreneurs on how to navigate growth and commercial success with foresight by understanding people, deals, selling, negotiating, and listening to a company’s numerous stakeholders. Startup Street Smarts prepares an aspiring entrepreneur to be the CEO (or senior management) of a high-growth, negative cash flow start-up, requiring multiple rounds of equity financings from Day 1 through IPO.

To prepare for class discussions, students will be assigned reading from Marc H. Morgenstern’s new book, Deal Jammers: The Business Negotiator’s Playbook and other relevant materials from basic entrepreneurship and venture deal texts to materials on communications and listening. Students will submit a few paragraphs about what they heard and what they learned each week.


All majors are welcome with preference provided to students from the College of Engineering, Juniors and Seniors, MBAs, and JDs. The goal is to build a course full of eager students willing to push their boundaries and learn to manage amazing startups. This class requires an application to enroll. The application for spring 2022 is now closed and students who applied have been sent notifications.

Conrad is a Bay Area native and Silicon Valley technology veteran with broad business-building experience from executive roles at The House Fund, McKinsey & Company, SuccessFactors, SAP, and Benefitter. Conrad taught "Build a Startup: Real Applications of AI" at UC Berkeley in Spring 2021.

As a partner at The House Fund, Conrad builds relationships with corporate partners who benefit from the UC Berkeley startup community and supports The House Fund's portfolio of startups to become wildly successful.

As a consultant with McKinsey & Company, Conrad worked with the world's largest businesses on digital transformation programs, and ran McKinsey's internal incubator "McKinsey Launch." Before that, Conrad was an early executive at SuccessFactors, where he drove the SaaS HR company’s strategy and new product portfolio, resulting in a blockbuster IPO, and the company’s subsequent sale to SAP for $3.4 billion. Conrad is an entrepreneur and investor; he co-founded Benefitter (sold to HealthMarkets), and invested in Directr (sold to YouTube), Huddler (sold to Wikia) and other startups. At SAP, Conrad worked in the Office of the CEO shaping corporate strategy.

Conrad earned his MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he focused his studies on innovation and management of technology. Conrad earned his undergraduate degree in Product Design Engineering from Stanford University.


Marc Morgenstern
Managing Partner
Blue Mesa Partners

Marc is a mentor capitalist who divides his time among San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. He is the Founder (1996) and Managing Partner of early stage investor Blue Mesa Partners, as well as the Mentor-at-Large at The House Fund.

He has been intensely involved with startups and high growth companies from Silicon Valley to Shanghai, from retailer OfficeMax (IPO) to co-founding digital healthcare software pioneer Within3 (sale to Insight Partners), and from idea (LoungeBuddy; sold to American Express) to liquidity event. His deal and negotiating perspective is unusually broad because he has been a Principal, Board member (numerous public and private companies), Chair of Strategic Planning, Angel, senior management, Counsel, as well as Co-founder and Fund Managing Partner. 

Marc has negotiated hundreds of equity raises and M&A transactions from pre-seed through sale/IPO, and authored more than two dozen articles on deal negotiating, securities, venture capital, and early stage companies, including OffRoad Capital’s Definitive Deal Dictionary.  His book “Deal Jammers: The Business Negotiator’s Playbook,” will be published in 2022.

He is a long-time board member of San Francisco’s Rex Foundation (founded by the Grateful Dead), as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is a passionate musician. His BA in American Studies/Social History is from Yale University and his JD from Boston University.

Jeremy Fiance
Founder & Managing Partner
The House Fund

Jeremy Fiance started The House Fund in 2016 after graduating from UC Berkeley.

There, Jeremy proved the campus' startup potential, co-launching several initiatives, including Kairos Society Berkeley and Free Ventures, student groups that increase access to entrepreneurial resources, which sparked over 50 startups that raised $50M by the time he graduated.

Universities have always been inspirational to Jeremy Fiance as profound places for ideas to feed off each other and inspire new thinking –– and UC Berkeley in particular. From the Free Speech Movement in the 60s, to the twenty-two nobel prizes, to discoveries like the cyclotron. Berkeley has always been pushing the edge of what's possible in today's world.

With that in mind, Jeremy is dedicated to strengthening Berkeley's startup community and equipping Berkeley founders with the tools needed to build great businesses, and keep the community strong and thriving.

Outside of the technology and startup world, Jeremy is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, table tennis gold medalist, amateur cartoonist, live music enthusiast, and die hard Cal fan. Go Bears!

The House Fund is a pre-seed and early stage venture capital fund, and the first fund focused on UC Berkeley, which produces more alumni-founded venture-backed startups than any University in the world. Since inception in April 2016, The House Fund has invested in 70 startups, including 10 exits (to Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Airbnb) and 2 active Unicorns (valued over $1 Billion). Over 100 firms have follow-on invested over $2 Billion in our startups including Accel, A16Z, Redpoint, Greylock, & Founders Fund.

Representing the Technology Pioneers and Disruptors Associated with Market-Changing Innovation, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's legacy closely traces the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley.
For more than six decades, the firm has represented the technology pioneers associated with virtually every milestone innovation. Today, Wilson Sonsini is synonymous with ushering promising, innovative companies through their business life cycle. And as our clients have grown, so has our firm. We now represent many of the largest companies in the world—and thousands of the smallest ones, too.

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