24 January 2019


2 months, online
4-6 hours/week


£1,500 ($1,950)

Flexible payment available

Myth-busting business models: the old is new again.

There’s a myth in startup communities that the best way to get off the ground is to come up with a smashing idea, write a slick business plan, present to venture capital firms (VCs) and then collect the money and get rich. And if that doesn’t go your way, then it’s game over. But nothing could be further from the truth.


The research says that more than three in four firms that attract VC investments don’t repay the capital that goes into them.



According to a study by U.S. Bank, 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.



According to the OECD, small to medium-sized enterprises typically contribute 50% or more to GDP and create 70% of new employment opportunities.

Most successful businesses never took investments from VCs or angel investors, and even fewer did so in the early stages. They grew by choosing the right business model and offering a product or service that brought enough cashflow to cover operations and early-stage growth. It’s the customer-funded business model. It’s not new, it’s just under-represented in today’s startup culture. This programme changes all that.


Programme Topics

Module 1:

Growing Your Venture: Funding Options and Market Uncertainties

Learn and apply tools for exploring market uncertainties and evaluate whether or not to seek VC in a new venture.

Module 2:

From Uber to DogVacay: Lessons in Developing Sustainable Matchmaker Models

Apply strategies for balancing supply and demand in two-sided (matchmaker) markets and assess the potential challenges and opportunities faced by various matchmaker companies.

Module 3:

The Importance of Courage and Trust: Pay-in-Advance Models

Learn and apply tools for developing relationships with early customers and managing cash flow using a pay-in-advance model.

Module 4:

Making the Economics Work: Subscription Models

Evaluate the merits and drawbacks of various subscription models across industries and understand strategies for maximizing return on investment in customer acquisition.

Module 5:

When Less is More: Scarcity Models

Assess customer-funded scarcity models that maximize cash flow and the conditions under which they are likely to work.

Module 6:

Implementing Customer-Funded Models

Apply the strategies learned in this programme to selecting and applying a customer-funded model to a business idea.

Five Customer-Funded Business Models for Startup Success

Matchmaker models

  • Uber
  • Airbnb
  • eBay


  • Pobble: Social enterprise to improve children's literacy
  • Funovation: Entertainment
  • The Loot: Failure story from India

Subscription models

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Naked Wines


  • Zara: Fast fashion
  • Ryzex: Used Equipment

Service-toproduct models

  • Go Viral: Video Advertising

What will you learn?

Join London Business School (LBS) as we take entrepreneurs and change-makers on a journey through five proven models for startup success. We’ll interview founders of companies and analyse cases from all different domains: from B2B and B2C… from India to London to Denmark… from e-commerce to retail to second-hand business equipment. When exploring the following situations, we'll ask:

Economic elements
Ideal price point
SaaS models
Funding source
Manage downturn
Limited resources

Programme Faculty

John Mullins

John Mullins

Associate Professor of Management Practice
in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

An award-winning teacher and scholar and one of the world’s foremost thought leaders in entrepreneurship, John Mullins brings to his teaching and research 20 years of executive experience in high-growth retailing firms, including two ventures he founded and one he took public. Widely published, he is the author of The New Business Road Test: What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Writing a Business Plan.


Upon successful completion of the programme, you'll earn a digital certificate of completion from LBS.



Upon successful completion of the programme, you'll earn a digital certificate of completion from LBS.

All certificate images are for illustrative purposes only and may be subject to change at the discretion of LBS.


Early applications are encouraged. Seats fill up quickly!

Flexible payment options available. Click here to know more.