The course is mainly for students who want to build startups. If you are interested in startups this is the course for you. If you are looking for a course to just learn Data Science algorithms this may not be the course for you. We will cover only a few topics related to Data Science related with getting insights from customer data. Most of the class will be spent on trying to build a startup.

Professor : Sameer Maskey, PhD

Teaching Asst :

  • Neelam Brar - neelam.brar at
  • Nate Brennand - natebrennand at
  • Anna Prokofieva - prokofieva at
  • Polina Viro - pv2221 at

Time : 4:10 – 6pm, Mondays

Location : URIS 142 ( Note Jan 27 Lecture in 633 Mudd )

Office Hours : 2-4pm Wednesdays, 457 CSB Building

Mentors/Advisors : 20+ Mentors - Members from this group

Course Information

This course will pair up MBA students from Columbia Business School with Seniors/Master's/PhD students from Computer Science department to form teams of two (or more) who will be guided through an entrepreneurial experience of building a technology startup. The course will be very hands on! The course will also have a team of 20+ Industry Advisors/Mentors (CEOs, CTOs and VC Partners of various firms) who will engage with students to help them convert their idea into a sustainable technology business.

The course is primarily focused on building a technology startup. Student teams (composed of CS/Engineering and Business students) will test feasibility of the idea/innovation, build the product, develop customers, study sales channels and try to raise capital during the span of 4 months. Industry mentors will critique the student teams and their ideas through various stages of the startup implementation addressing such questions related to feasibility, market attractiveness, customer acquisition, metrics, launch strategy and more. The students will be able to interact with CEOs for business mentorship, CTOs for technical mentorship and VC firm partners for advice on the capital raising process.

NOTE to CS students - This is primarily geared towards Master's/PhD students. If you are senior undergraduates with experience in building web or mobile application you can join the class.

Industry Advisors/Mentors :

One of the important aspects of the course will be a selected group of successful CEOs, CTOs of various technology companies and Partners of VC firms who have had experience in building startups. Their experience will be vital in helping shape the startups the students will propose for the course. We have 21 mentors/advisors who have already signed up to mentor students.

Most of the previous semester's mentors have agreed to be mentors/advisors again. They can be found here

Teams from Last Class That are Doing It Full Time - Real Startups


This is a hands-on course! You as a team (CS and Business student together) are expected to take an idea and work towards launching a startup. You will be graded on the progress you make towards this goal. Deliverables include report on 5 sets of labs/exercises.



    • Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, 3rd edition By Thomas Byers, Richard Dorf, Andrew Nelson

Other Recommended readings:

    • The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company By Steve Blank and Bob Dorf


Week Date Topic Slides   Assignment Notes
Week0 Jan 27 Introduction (CS only class)        
Week1 Feb 3 Business Model Canvas, Learn Startup, Startup Analytics, Using Google Analytics and Google Ads        
Week2 Feb 10 Customer Discovery, Understanding Sales Funnel - B2B and B2C, Building Your Sales Funnel, Minimum Viable Product Development (Guest Lecture)        
Week3 Feb 17 Pitch Event 1        
Week4 Feb 24 Technology for Startups, Scalable Applications (Guest Lecture)        
Week5 Mar 3 Data Analytics tools for Startups        
Week6 Mar 10 Pitch Event 2        
Week7 Mar 17 No Class - Spring Break        
Week8 Mar 24 Customer Validation, Value Proposition, Funnel Optimization, A/B Testing        
Week9 Mar 31 Data Science Algorithms in Brief, Machine Learning tools for customer classification, segmentation        
Week10 Apr 7 Legal Aspects of Startups        
Week11 Apr 14 Pitch Event 3        
Week12 Apr 21 Fund Raising - (i) VC view (ii) Founder's View (Guest Lectures)        
Week13 Apr 28 Scaling Startup Technology        
Week14 May 5 Final Pitch Event        

Useful Slides for Web Application Development

Week Date Topics/Slides
Week1 - Life of a Web Request - Samuel Messing pdf linkAmazon EC2 : Using AWS to host your web app - Morgan Ulinski pdf link
Week 2 - Introduction to Javascript - Samuel Messing -pdf link
Week 3 - Using Web Frameworks - Samuel Messing - pdf linkGithub link -