Every successful business is built upon a foundation—an invisible infrastructure that makes user acquisition and revenue generation possible.
Some foundations are strong, and some are not so strong. But without that sturdy base, no business can thrive, much less scale to seven, eight figures, or beyond.
Every foundation is made up of several key pieces. Maybe the company has a unique brand that connects with its customers. Maybe it has an incredible product they can’t get enough of. Maybe it has a pricing system that’s a perfect fit for what and how users want to pay.
One of those pieces is overlooked all too often—finance. It’s easy to understand why entrepreneurs avoid it. It’s complicated, it can be a downer, and it seems irrelevant when you don’t have much money to speak of.
But finance is one of those few critical elements that allow an online business to succeed. It is one of the foundational pieces that, if planned correctly, makes all the difference to the future of a company.
Knowing this is such a huge challenge for so many emerging entrepreneurs, we recently invited one of the leading experts on the subject of entrepreneurship and finance to team up with Foundr on a new course. We asked Alexa von Tobel, founder of LearnVest and Inspired Capital, to share with our community her deep knowledge on the subject, to help you put your own financial plan together and build your own future-proof foundation.
We put everything we learned from her in our latest course, and today, we’re ready to introduce it to you. We believe that this course will change the way you view your finances, so you too can become a wizard at managing your business’s money.
Introducing: Finance for Founders
When you think about finances, you may think about Wall Street, complex Excel sheets, and messy projections. If you are an online entrepreneur with little formal business experience or education—still learning the ropes of market validation, marketing, sales, etc.—then it’s completely understandable that this topic would seem difficult.
But if you take out all the business jargon, finance can be summed up as the movement of money in and out of your business. Yes, there’s more to it than that, but in the most basic sense, finance is how you manage your costs and income, together.
The options can get complicated, whether you’re reinvesting, taking out loans, or seeking investments. And a lot of these concepts, sadly, aren’t taught in high school or even college. But early on, you want to keep things simple—where you’ll keep your money, what metrics to watch, how to budget for your costs, etc.
You need to strengthen your basic understanding of money management so you can start to grow with confidence. And based on the experiences of most of our community, we’re guessing you are probably far from that level of confidence.
So we decided to put a stop to this financial uncertainty. We brought in an expert with more than 10 years of experience in the trenches—including starting a financial technology company that sold for nine figures to a top financial institution—to help you master your business finances once and for all.
Without further ado, here’s our instructor.
Meet Alexa von Tobel
Alexa von Tobel has made a career out of helping people and startups find financial security. Through her work in financial education and investing, she’s helped countless people improve their understanding of money management. And it all started when she realized, at an early point in her career, how much she and her peers needed help managing their own finances.
At 22, Alexa had a bright future ahead of her on Wall Street, but ultimately decided to leave it behind and pursue the entrepreneurial life. Recognizing the clear need for greater financial literacy, she started the company that would become LearnVest. The online platform ended up becoming the fastest-growing financial planning company in the US.
Her skills, passion, and knowledge for the world of finance would help her take LearnVest from a bootstrapped NYC startup to raising $69 million in venture capital funding. By 2015, she had grown her company to the point that Northwestern Mutual would acquire it for $380 million—yes, a nine-figure exit!
Alexa continued to run LearnVest as CEO until 2019. Then, she decided to try her hand on the other side of the negotiating table, launching $200 million venture capital firm Inspired Capital, where she is currently a founder and managing partner.
If that weren’t enough, she’s the host of Inc. podcast The Founders Project with Alexa von Tobel, where she interviews notable entrepreneurs like Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, and Ben Horowitz, managing partner of Andressen Horowitz.
Influential magazines have included her in lists like:
- Business Insider’s 2010 ”Silicon Alley 100”
- Inc. Magazine’s ”30 under 30: The Top Young Entrepreneurs of 2010”
- “Women to Watch” by Forbes
- “18 Women Changing the World” in Marie Claire
- BusinessWeek’s annual list of “Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs.”
- Fortune listed her among the ”Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.”
Alexa Von Tobel has also been featured in several top publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, appeared on TV shows like The Today Show and Good Morning America, and been a featured speaker at conferences like SXSW and Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.
Across all of her impressive achievements, Alexa has remained dedicated to helping people and businesses alike master their financial education.
Who Is This Course For?
Finance for Founders isn’t for everybody. If you just want to learn the basics of finance but you have no business currently in the works, then you might want to buy her books or check some of the videos she has recorded with us (which soon will be published on our YouTube channel).
Finance for Founders is a course that was designed specifically for entrepreneurs with existing online businesses—even if it’s just a side hustle for now.
Maybe you are just making a little money on nights and weekends, or maybe you’re pulling in six figures—whatever the case, you’ll need to know how to handle your finances and set your business up for growth and future success without bleeding cash.
If you consider yourself more of a creative person whose main strength is marketing, branding, or product development, this course is perfect for you.
You may have started your business, but probably still have some basic questions like:
- Should I pay myself a salary?
- Is it bad to move money constantly between my personal and business accounts?
- How do I manage my cash flow?
- Should I take a loan or capital investment?
- When should I hire an employee?
If you feel embarrassed to ask any of these questions or otherwise don’t know where to start, you definitely need to check this course out. There’s no shame in having limited understanding on this topic—few people have any financial education to speak of.
Finance for Founders is also industry-agnostic, meaning entrepreneurs from almost any niche can benefit from it, including:
- Ecommerce entrepreneurs
- Consultants and freelancers
- Entrepreneurs who sell digital products (courses, books, etc.)
- SaaS founders
In short, it’s an ideal course for any entrepreneur who wants to make more, save more, and risk less.
What Do I Get From Finance for Founders?
Our 90-minute course includes 20+ videos filled with actionable lessons you can use for your online business, right away.
By the end of this course, you’ll have the knowledge and tools to grow and maintain a financially fit business, and a concrete three-year business plan to take your business to the next level.
In this step-by-step online course, you will learn proven ways to set up your business for success, all while taking less risk and avoiding money mistakes that so many entrepreneurs make.
Here’s what you will learn in each of the five modules:
Module 0: Goal-Setting for Financial Fitness
In this first module, you will take a step back before getting into the nitty-gritty of your financial education, so you can define your financial goals with clarity. This sets the stage for all that is to come.
Module 1: Getting Organized
In the official first module of the course, you will work with Alexa to know when to pay yourself, how to separate your business from your personal finances, and how to protect your business against any potential liabilities.
Module 2: Finance Basics
In this module, you will get into the metrics and reports you need to understand to measure your business financial performance. You will also learn how to find and hire an accountant.
Module 3: Multi-Year Business Plan & Budget
This is a critical module where you will develop a financially sound business plan with specific goals, budgets, and projections for future growth.
Module 4: The Finance of Scaling Up
Here, you will learn how to take your business to the next level. You will discover when to hire a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and other employees, and when to offer them equity instead of cash.
BONUS: Venture Capital Fundraising & Pitching
In this final extra module, you will learn about a hot topic—venture capital fundraising—from a pro who has been on both sides of the funding table. You will see behind the scenes of Alexa von Tobel’s pitching process, which allowed her to raise over $50 million in capital.
Throughout this course, Alexa offers in-depth advice like never before, including many incredibly detailed tips and strategies like:
- Key Mistakes to Look Out For When Structuring Up Your Business & Accounts – You want to make sure you don’t make these missteps when starting your business, as they can cost you a lot of pain and money in the future.
- Creating Your 3-Year Business Plan and Budget – When starting your business, you want to develop a long-term plan. In this video, Alexa will show you how she has developed her own business plans and budgets and how you can do it too.
- “The 9 Grid Checklist” – This is a unique system that all of Alexa’s companies have used for rapid, year-over-year growth.
- Tips & Hacks for Creating Your Financial Plan – A financial plan is complex yet essential when planning your growth. These tips will help you create one without getting bogged down with unnecessary details.
- The Finances of Scaling, Hiring, and Growth – Growth is necessary, but it has to be done prudently. Alexa shares the financial details that need to be in place when scaling.
What This Course Is Not
Finance for Founders is not meant for people who do not already have an online business. You have to be generating some type of revenue, otherwise the tips and advice shared here won’t be of much help.
We believe that when you are getting started in your entrepreneurial journey, you need to err on the side of action. With the help of some of our other online courses—Start & Scale, Consulting Empire, etc.—you can learn how to take those early steps. But Finance for Founders will only be worth investing in if you have some cash flow.
This course is also not for people who are content with the current scale of their business. Alexa will push you to plan your business so once it’s ready to grow, it can be done effectively. You have to be ambitious and interested in growing your business to benefit.
Does it sound like you’re a good fit? If so, we’d love to see you on the other side of the fence.
It’s Time To Master Your Business Finances
By the end of this course, you will have the skills and methods to grow and maintain a financially fit business, as well as a concrete, three-year business plan to move your company forward from where you are now to where you want to be.
Do you have any questions or comments about this course? We’d love to hear what you have in mind! Leave a comment below or contact us directly at [email protected], and we’ll reach back as soon as possible.