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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Startup Valuation Methods by Duke University

683 ratings

About the Course

How do different types of investors think about an investment opportunity? What kind of securities and contracts do they offer? How should a company decide what is a "good deal"? This course is designed to introduce you to the challenges and pitfalls of financing new enterprises. You will learn the basic tools for valuating companies, including using discounted cashflow analysis in Excel and understanding how to apply this model to your entrepreneurial venture. You will then learn how valuation works with different types of securities that investors use to finance startups, from bank loans to venture capital to angel investing....

Top reviews


Apr 30, 2020

The best ever online course one could find. It is worth every single minute spent. Thank you so much for offering this course. And really so happy to complete this course. Much love to the professor.


Mar 2, 2021

Learned lots of new valuation techniques, it was well crafted and smoothly presented by the professors. The tests were also in line with the course and very helpful in understanding the concepts.

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1 - 25 of 202 Reviews for Startup Valuation Methods

By Phil P

Nov 26, 2019

I'm only giving this course 3 stars because of the excellent teaching in weeks 1 and 2 by Manuel Adelino, who is an excellent and thorough instructor. David Robinson, who handles the "meat" of the course in weeks 3 and 4 was absolutely dreadful in every respect that matters in a mastery-oriented online course (in which there is no peer community with which to collectively cover for poor instruction). Specifically, Robinson talks around examples without working through any of them. He did not work through any of the key examples or formulae in Week 3, which is where most of the key concepts of startup valuation are introduced. Basically said, "go figure it out yourself." Other examples: the “hurdle rate” is introduced without adequate definition or an example of how to use given information in the calculation, and Robinson uses this term interchangeably with "cash-on-cash returns" (incorrectly) including in equations, which are wrong as presented. On a quiz for the fourth week on Anti-Dilution presents a question without reference to a specific scenario, so it is impossible to complete without guessing. On the third attempt I just guessed, but there was no reference to a cost scenario to support this guess. Neither the lectures nor the ungraded quizzes cover methods of calculating dilution in initial valuation decisions, but the graded quiz does, leading one to guess (again) where this is dealt with. In sum, the core of the course is sloppily assembled and sloppily presented. I simply expect more from Duke, no matter how much or how little I'm paying, and may not complete this specialization as a result of the time wasted in compensating for the instructor's shortcomings.

By John H

Feb 20, 2020

The selection of concepts taught were great. Please consider remaking the week 3 option pool lesson to increase clarity.

By G M W U

Aug 20, 2020

Originally, the first two weeks of this course taught by Manuel progressed smoothly, with good learning materials complementing his lectures and assessment tasks. But things changed significantly from week 3 when David came onboard. His lectures did not match at all with the assessments and the classes felt incomplete. I still feel incomplete with regards to the critical valuation methods associated with VCs and Angel Investors because of David's incomplete delivery. I had a difficult time completing the assessments on week 3 and feel like Manuel should have continued with this course completely! I would love to have a complete guide on week 3 materials and some additional reference texts to complete my learning experience.

By Constantin F

May 11, 2020

Part 1 is really great.

Part 2 of the course really unclear, with sometimes mistakes in the slides and the final exam. Very disappointing unfortunately.

By Habeeb A F

May 30, 2020

I had higher expectations from Duke University! My overall experience of going through this course was below average. There was a clear difference between the quality of content & the way it was taught between the two instructors. I believe Manuel Adelino did a great job for week 1 & 2. However unfortunately week 3 content was poorly prepared and delivered. It seemed like David Robinson was in a rush, the slides & content were in coherent. Week 4 was at par. I would not recommend this course to anyone, until Duke University arranges to re create the content & delivery for week 3.

By Sejal A

Apr 25, 2020

While the first two weeks of the course were extremely helpful and easily understandable, the remaining two weeks, which covered very important topics, were very poorly handled. The video lectures, PDFs, everything was insufficient and I had to look through other sources to understand many of the concepts. Additionally, a lot of the information given in the PDFs was wrong and contradicted what the professor was saying during the video lecture. Not enough explanation was given by the professor to help us comprehend things such as VC Method of valuation, option pools, anti-dilution, etc. The 3 stars are all due to the efforts put in by Manuel Adelino.

By Justin C

Apr 11, 2020

Weeks 1 and 2 are awesome. Prof. Manuel makes admirable effort in making his diction clear and his slides presentable so that the student doesn't have to second guess his material. The quiz questions are also equally clear. I deduct at least 2 stars because of the incoherent material of Weeks 3 and 4. Prof. David provides a comparably much more mediocre explanation at the start of his material, and it only goes down in quality until the end. Week 3 is the worst, with errors in the slides, ill-lead examples, and several examples that throw you to the wolves without any guidance. Where are the solutions so we can validate our work? Super frustrating when we try to ask questions in the Discussion forums and there are no helpers to assist. Students are left to fend for themselves. I might have given one start back if TA's helped, but none are active. I checked each of their profiles, and no activity was evident. Why bother posting your names if you don't help?

I had to do a lot of extra searching on the Internet.

Please improve Weeks 3 and 4 so the entire course lives up to the Duke University quality.

By Yuen C W R V

Oct 22, 2020

The lecturer David Robinson reads from the slides, No examples given. And he gave examples without slides or animations. And Slides are just words. Poor lecturing. Honestly,I struggled to listen to him lecturing. I got more information from Googling and learning to pass those quizzes. He talks to a screen monotonously.

By Edouard L

Aug 13, 2020

Week 1 & 2 were great. All the concept were very thoroughly and clearly explained (although for the first quizz (Week 1) you get a question (Terminal Value) for which the concepts are explained in week 2. Week 3 and 4 are much less clear. Most concepts are not presented before jumping in the equations and difficult topics like dilution are impossible to master with the few information provided by the instructor. I had to spend a lot of time looking for complementary resources. There are also some mistakes in the equation presented (hurdle rate) and some concept (hurdle rate) used interchangeably (with cash on cash return) without any explanation. Week 3 and 4 are very frustrating. Besides, why end with Angel investors after the VC? Wouldn't it be more logical to start with the investors you get first and then with the VC?

In the end, I am happy of what I learned but it was only partially thanks to this class and much more thanks to my searching myself elsewhere for the information. I don't think it is worth the price you are asked to pay.

By Diana K

Jan 19, 2020

Good information, but very technical and academic- and it forces you to think "formulaic-ly" way, which is not necessarily a reflection of the 'real world' practice. More practice problems (+ answers to them) would help as well.

By Francesco P S

Nov 30, 2020

I liked the course, it provides good insights into the world of startups financing.

However, regardless of the good material and insights provided, I would not recommend it as it is a fairly frustrating learning experience:

1) theory is weak, there are too many examples

2) professor (weeks 3 and 4) skips too many intermediate steps in explaining the content

3) quizzes do not always appropriately reflect the material / wording used during the theoretical part, making it very hard and frustrating to pass (simply because in finance everyone tends to use its own wording, so it is crucial to be consistent)

If they managed to improve these points, the course would be definitely one of the best on the topic

By Yash C

Mar 26, 2020

The Week 1 and Week 2 of the course is well explained. However, Week 3 and Week 4 lacks depth and the topics haven't been explained well enough.

By Cong W

Mar 11, 2020

I give this course 5 stars even if I spent a lot of time in week 3 due to the mistake in the ppt slide of the professor. But I learned the basic rules and the logic to evaluate a business from week 1 and 2. As a lawyer, I learned how to interpret commercial terms from week 3 and 4.

By Nitin K B

Mar 3, 2021

Learned lots of new valuation techniques, it was well crafted and smoothly presented by the professors. The tests were also in line with the course and very helpful in understanding the concepts.

By Dhinesh A D

Apr 30, 2020

The course provides fundamental financial skills needed for a startup. It takes time to understand certain concepts but it is highly valuable what you learn here.

By Billriz C

Feb 10, 2021

Would have given a 5 star but: (1) discussions can be sometimes monotonous and hard to visualize, (2) one topic (Option Pool) had its video cut which was an important part for the graded quiz, (3) flashing a formula on a screen for a discussion without any guide like a marker animation is ineffective

By Kevin L

Mar 21, 2020

While the overall course is informative, weeks 3 and 4 are unfortunately not very satisfactory - the lack of answers for some of the questions made it very difficult for one to understand his / her mistakes and had to essentially try to solve them via "trial-and-error". Definitely not very efficient!

By Herman C

Dec 28, 2020

The course served as a good overall introduction to startup valuation methods. As a startup founder that has raised venture capital, it was good to get refreshed on the concepts. However, the dual instructor mode of teaching clearly manifested itself. Week 1 and 2 were done well by the first instructor. Week 3 requires extra research and practice as a different instructor tended to brush over calculations that eventually showed themselves in the exams. The balance between listening to voice and reading slides was very off. You may get frustrated as concepts show up on marked quizzes that were either not clearly discussed or assumed that the student would figure it out. For someone like me it was straight forward but word of warning for those that like concepts and calculation methodologies clearly explained.

By Alexa B

Feb 18, 2021

Very little and vague teaching. I was already familiar with startup valuations but still spent time learning elsewhere to clarify what the instructors shared. The mini-lectures from the professors were very brief, often seemed as if something was cut out, and didn't exactly pair with the many quizzes. There are also many, many unanswered questions in the discussion forum which makes it seem as though this class is no longer actively managed.

By Alphaeus N A

Sep 9, 2020

i will give it 5 stars as the content is highly relevant and these skills is valuable to those understanding a startup company or intending to venture into one. However, i am disappointed with the poor presentation of the content. From week 3 onwards, Many answers were not provided to the questions and the content on the slides presented were also not fact-checked and inaccurate. The transcript is accurate. I really hope this can be reviewed as i feel that participants will not be able to truly benefit from the course the moment the week 3 lecturer took over. If you are keen, take a chance on this and be prepared to do self-learning for the quizzes.

By Cibi K

May 1, 2020

The best ever online course one could find. It is worth every single minute spent. Thank you so much for offering this course. And really so happy to complete this course. Much love to the professor.

By Davit I

Mar 12, 2020

The course gives structured knowledge about the startup valuation methods. I enjoyed it, and now it's time to go for deep diving into the startup valuation industry.

By Hari G R

Sep 11, 2020

This is a wonderful course for business students and those who aspire to become entrepreneurs.

By Stewart C

Mar 11, 2020

Very great course overall. Some of the lectures could use a bit more detail to avoid confusion. It would also be nice if there were solutions to the practice questions at the end of some of the videos. The week 3 quiz is finicky. For example, putting commas in a the answer for a value in the millions is counted as incorrect, but the exact same number is counted correct without the commas. Despite these issues, I am extremely glad I took this course. This subject is fascinating, and I look forward to the content provided by the subsequent courses in this specialization.

By Muhammad I

Mar 2, 2023

The overall course was great, but some material covered in week 3 & 4 were not well explained and need to be revised to improve overall course quality. Actually, I want to give 5-star for week 1 & week 2 teaching and 3-star for week 3 & week 4 teaching to be exact. I had difficult time to figure out some quiz questions in week 3 & 4, but once the answers understood, I then realized that the questions themselves were part of the very important source of information that were not provided in the video teaching.