Lean Finance for Startups

Everything an entrepreneur needs to know about entrepreneurial finance and finding investors.
37 reviews
  • Lili Balfour Author of Master the Finance Game. CEO of Atelier Advisors.

    Lili Balfour is the founder of Atelier Advisors and author of Master the Finance Game.

    Lili spent over 15 years in investment banking (technology and healthcare) and investment management before creating Atelier Advisors, a firm that provides strategic and financial advisory services to early-stage companies. To date, she has helped over 100 early-stage companies raise over $200 million.

  • Lifetime access to 34 lectures and 30 quizzes
  • 2+ hours of high quality content
  • A community of 1400+ students learning together!

Lean Finance for Startups

Everything an entrepreneur needs to know about entrepreneurial finance and finding investors.
37 reviews


Discover courses made by experts from around the world.

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Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.


Building a company? Learn how SMART entrepreneurs raise the RIGHT type of capital FAST.


Lili Balfour has advised over 100 companies, who have gone on to raise over $200 million from investors around the world. She is the author of Master the Finance Game, a Wall Street Journal Guest Mentor, a contributor at Fox Business News, a blogger for The Huffington Post, a guest contributor for HuffPost Live and a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley.


Learn everything you need to know to grow revenue, to increase profitability, and to secure capital for $197. This course includes a downloadable financial model and cap table with step-by-step instructions, as well as a list of active investors who have recently raised funds.


“I've previously spent more than a thousand bucks on business financial consultations which didn't even explain 10% of what this course covers in less than two hours. You get to know real life metrics and milestones that your company must achieve to survive and prosper.” Oleg

“A must for start ups. This is the first course I finished on Udemy! This course covers a lot and Lili was able to condense it to the essential, important things everyone going into a start up should know. A very big bonus is the downloadable excel spreadsheet that contains pretty much everything you need to understand financially when starting a business. Highly recommend.” Mic

“Es un buen curso, Lili sabe mucho sobre el tema, pero quisiera haber tenido mas énfasis en el modelo financiero.” Mateo


We meet on Spreecast on the second Saturday of each month at 12:30 pm PST.

    • Basic understanding of excel or a willingness to learn
    • Over 34 lectures and 2.5 hours of content!
    • learn how to build a financial model, value a company, and raise the right type of capital
    • understand how to find revenue and expense assumptions
    • understand how to determine the best source of capital for your company
    • understand how to find and pitch investors
    • Entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs


30 day money back guarantee
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Available on Desktop, iOs and Android
Certificate of completion


  • SECTION 1:
    Understanding Finance
  • 1
    The lecture 1 video outlines the goals for the course and provides a foundation to begin the learning process.
  • 2
    Quiz: Lecture 1
    1 question
  • 3
    Revenue Models
    The lecture 2 video describes basic revenue models and covers the evolution of revenue models over the past 100 years. 
  • 4
    Lecture 2
    1 question
  • 5
    Financial Statements
    The lecture 3 video explains standard financial statements and details why we use a "lean" version of financial statements in our model. 
  • 6
    Lecture 3
    1 question
  • 7
    Income Statement
    The lecture 4 video explains the basic components of the income statement and defines the most accurate explanation of profitability. 
  • 8
    Lecture 4
    1 question
  • 9
    Balance Sheet
    The lecture 5 video explains the balance sheet and details why we analyze cash, accounts receivable, and inventory. 
  • 10
    Lecture 5
    1 question
  • 11
    Financial Structure
    The lecture 6 video explains why the financial structure of a company is important.
  • 12
    Lecture 6
    1 question
  • 13
    Questions for Review
    Lecture 7 includes question that each student should be comfortable answering upon completion of the course.
  • 14
    Lecture 7
    1 question
  • SECTION 2:
    Financial Modeling and Metrics
  • 15
    Lecture 8 includes the spreadsheet that contains the financial model and valuation estimate. 
  • 16
    Lecture 8
    1 question
  • 17
    3 pages
    Lecture 9 includes a pdf that provides line-by-line and cell-by-cell instructions for the benchmarking which occurs in the spreadsheets. 
  • 18
    Lecture 9
    1 question
  • 19
    Revenue Assumptions
    2 pages
    Lecture 10 includes a pdf that provides line-by-line and cell-by-cell instructions for the revenue assumptions contained in the spreadsheets. 
  • 20
    Lecture 10
    1 question
  • 21
    Expense Assumptions
    5 pages
    Lecture 11 includes a pdf that provides line-by-line and cell-by-cell instructions for the expense assumptions contained in the spreadsheets. 
  • 22
    Lecture 11
    1 question
  • 23
    Metrics - Customer Acquisition Cost and Lifetime Value
    The lecture 12 video explains customer acquisition cost and lifetime value 
  • 24
    Lecture 12
    1 question
  • 25
    Metrics - Viral Coefficient, Funnel Analysis, and Traffic
    The lecture 13 video explains viral coefficient, funnel analysis, and traffic
  • 26
    Lecture 13
    1 question
  • 27
    Metrics - Monthly Active Users, Daily Active Users, and Churn
    The lecture 14 video explains monthly active users, daily active users, and churn
  • 28
    Lecture 14
    1 question
  • SECTION 3:
  • 29
    Related Transactions
    The lecture 15 video explains how to use related transactions to estimate the value of your company. 
  • 30
    Lecture 15
    1 question
  • 31
    Public Comparables
    The lecture 16 video explains how to use public comparables to estimate the value of your company. 
  • 32
    Lecture 16
    1 question
  • 33
    Discounted Cash Flow
    2 slides
    The lecture 17 video explains why we do not use discounted cash flow to value early-stage companies. 
  • 34
    Lecture 17
    1 question
  • 35
    2 slides
    The lecture 18 video explains the purpose of a 409A valuation. 
  • 36
    Lecture 18
    1 question
  • 37
    Funding Strategy
    The lecture 19 video explains how to use the information in Section 3 to determine your funding strategy.
  • 38
    Lecture 19
    1 question
  • SECTION 4:
    Capital Sources
  • 39
    Venture Capital
    The lecture 20 video explains venture capital and outlines which types of companies should pursue this form of capital.
  • 40
    Lecture 20
    1 question
  • 41
    Angel Investors
    The lecture 21 video explains angel investors and outlines which types of companies should pursue this form of capital. 
  • 42
    Lecture 21
    1 question
  • 43
    Crowd Funding
    The lecture 22 video explains crowd funding and provides a warning on the one fatal mistake entrepreneurs make with this form of capital. 
  • 44
    Lecture 22
    1 question
  • 45
    Convertible Notes
    The lecture 23 video explains convertible notes and details how to utilize this form of capital.
  • 46
    Lecture 23
    1 question
  • 47
    Revenue-based Loans
    The lecture 24 video explains revenue-based loans and details how to utilize this form of capital.
  • 48
    Lecture 24
    1 question
  • 49
    Asset-based Loans
    The lecture 25 video explains asset-based loans and details how to utilize this form of capital. 
  • 50
    Lecture 25
    1 question
  • SECTION 5:
    Pitching Investors
  • 51
    What Investors Really Want From You
    4 slides
    The lecture 26 presentation explains what you need to know about investors. 
  • 52
    Lecture 26
    1 question
  • 53
    Slide Basics
    11 slides
    The lecture 27 presentation provides the 10 slides you will need to sell your vision. 
  • 54
    Lecture 27
    1 question
  • 55
    Finding Investors
    4 slides
    The lecture 28 presentation outlines how you can find investors. 
  • 56
    Lecture 28
    1 question
  • 57
    How to Pitch Investors
    4 slides
    The lecture 29 presentation outlines how to pitch investors. 
  • 58
    Lecture 29
    1 question
  • 59
    Investor Follow Up
    2 slides
    The lecture 30 presentation outlines how to follow up with investors, even when they are not immediately interested in your company. 
  • 60
    Lecture 30
    1 question
  • 61
    3 slides

    The lecture 31 presentation provides resources for follow up and questions. I will answer all student questions within 48 hours.

    Be sure to join office hours on the 3rd Monday of each month at 12:00 pm pst. T

  • 62
    3 slides
  • SECTION 6:
    Case Studies
  • 63
  • SECTION 7:
    Cap(italization) Table
  • 64
    Cap Table - Example

    Use HD and full screen for the optimal viewing experience.


Hours of video content
Course Enrollments


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  • 4
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  • Shawn Arora

    This course was disappointing. The content was at a pretty basic level, and each lecture was very short. The quizzes are a waste of time -- 1 question each with extremely obvious answers (anyone could answer them without even watching the lectures). And for some of the topics, there was just a PDF that was uploaded rather than a video lecture.

  • Tolu Adeoye
    Easy to learn yet engaging for all regardless of their Financial background.

    The beauty of this program is in the simplicity that the concepts are taught. Lili does a fantastic job of walking the student through the concepts at a pace that is challenging which leads to a sense of accomplishment once the course has been finished. Highly recommended to anyone looking to increase their financial expertise.

  • Mike Newton
    Solid Course

    Great course! Although I already knew some of the basics, the instructor goes beyond these without giving information overload and I still managed to glean a lot of useful information and resources from this course. It's a good course for beginners and intermediate level entrepreneurs. Might also be an eye opener for those who think that they are advanced too.

  • Kevin Cheng
    Good intro to financial statements, business metrics, and other relevant info for entrepreneurs.

    The instructor does a good job of introducing us to financial statements, business metrics, the key aspects of pitching to investors and of crowdfunding, etc. Particularly useful is the downloadable financial spreadsheet containing the common statements an entrepreneur needs to understand the key drivers for their business growth. The instructor also responds very promptly to student questions. A willingness to plug in your own numbers into the spreadsheet, change them, and then see how they affect the rest of the statements would make for optimal learning.

  • Myron D. McPherson
    Lean Finance for Startups

    Excellent course! Basic/introductory in providing information, but gave you plenty to chew on and followup on. Went beyond basics without totally flooding the student with the material. Would highly recommend this course to beginning entrepreneur.

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