Scale Up! Masterclass

From Idea to Exit

Scale Up! From Idea to Exit is one of the world’s leading methods to accelerate a startup’s successful funding journey. The Scale Up! Masterclass is designed to help founders understand the most common pitfalls in fundraising, help them learn about the global investor universe, craft long-term capital strategies and design a real-life successful capital strategy for their firm.

Online or In-Person

Can be delivered in person, or 100% online.

Different Formats

Can be delivered in two or three-day formats.

Flexible Groups

For groups of 5 to 100+ participants.

“I’ve never seen a more unique and powerful way to help startups learn how to scale, raise financing and truly understand how to build better companies than the Scale Up! simulation.”

Rick Rasmussen

Industry Fellow, Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, UC Berkeley

What is Scale Up!

Scale Up! From Idea to Exit is an advanced learning and development program to help startup founders understand venture capital fundraising and ‘crack the code’ on their own funding journeys.

The participants will work in teams and step into the role of founders, competing with other teams for industry leadership.  To scale, they will need to raise capital over multiple funding rounds, typically pre-seed, seed, seed extension, A, B, C and eventually exit. Along the way, they will need to develop a growth strategy, develop a capital strategy, build out the board, secure customers and early revenue and tackle a lot of the challenges most start-up founders face around the world.

Experience the Founders’ Journey

Improve the value you deliver to your start-ups and get your start-ups investor-ready in just hours, by gamifying entrepreneurship. From early PMF, setting up ESOPs, cleaning up cap tables, bringing in angels and dealing with complex term sheets; you get to experience the founders’ journey.

A Balancing Act

To win, you will need to be the first company to build an investor portfolio of 50 million and get across the finish line. However, that’s easier said than done.

You will need to collect investors along the way, match it with your company strategy, make difficult strategic choices, deal with a number of unforeseen circumstances, all without going bankrupt in your first round.

Better Growth Strategies

As you play, you will go through the different life-stages of a startup, and if you started out without a clear strategy, everything will soon come toppling down on you.

You’ll get valuable insights on how to successfully find and select the right investors, equip yourself with the skills and team you need to accelerate your growth.

Real World Lessons

Scale Up! The Entrepreneurship Simulator was built based on our work with hundreds of startups and scale-ups around the world and the typical issues they all face.

All the cases and cards featured in Scale Up! are based on real-life cases and real-world investors, which gives you a realistic view on the art and science of scaling better companies.

Who Can Join?

Scale Up! has been delivered to global accelerators, VC firms, business schools, innovation agencies, angel groups and ecosystems.

Pre-Seed, no capital raised

Participants with zero relevant experience in startup growth enjoy the simulation, albeit they also experience a (very) steep learning curve.

For this category, we recommend pre-teaching module(s) and extensive use of breakout teaching sessions.

Most common feedback:

“We have a lot to learn, but now we see what we need!”

Seed or Accelerator Stage

Participants with some experience in startups and fundraising, typically seed- or accelerator stage jump into the experience, quickly grasping most key concepts and terminology.

Many thrive on the challenge and really enjoy the competitive elements of the simulation.

In this category, short teaching sessions and team exercises is sufficient to get everyone up to speed.

Most common feedback:

 “Wow, this will set us up for success!”

A-B-Series and Beyond

Participants with extensive experience, most likely having completed 2-4 funding rounds and dealt with real-life challenges personally, tend to do very well, often stepping into key leadership roles (and teaching roles) within their teams.

These also take the most benefit from the advanced topics, like exits, investment bankers and Superinvestors.

Most common feedback:

 “Oh,l I wish we had done this earlier. Now we see all the mistakes we have done”

3-Day Masterclass

We spend a significant amount of time together with clients to truly understand current situation, aspiration and strategy challenges. Scale Up! is frequently used as a cornerstone of a larger accelerator or sprint program. Scale Up! can be delivered both in-person or 100% digital. We recommend the full 3-day format for maximum impact; or can deliver high impact in just two action-packed days.

DAY 1 (entry-level)


DAY 2 (intermediate)

Boards, strategy, value

DAY 3 (advanced)

Outcomes, exits

Introduction, welcome participants

Opening presentation: Scale Up! Introduction

Coffee Break

Start Scale Up! Simulation

Split into teams, 2-4 people per team. Work in teams

Lunch Break

Scale Up! Simulation

Finding your first investors. Understanding valuation, term sheets and deal structures.

Coffee Break

Deep dive into strategy, investors, capital strategy.

Recap & Reflections on Day 1

Scale Up! Simulation intermediate level. Work in Teams

Coffee Break

Scale Up! Simulation

Deal syndication, investor negotiations, scaling strategies, business models

Lunch Break

Scale Up! Simulation

Building world-class boards.


Coffee Break

Balancing the power equation in your negotiations. Working with investors.

Recap & Reflections on Day 2

Scale Up! Simulation advanced level. Work in Teams

Coffee Break

Scale Up! Simulation

Outcome canvas & strategy.
Developing exit strategies, IPO readiness.

Lunch Break

Scale Up! Simulation

Value creation for the win.


Coffee Break

Reflection in teams; from idea to exit, personal mastery, next steps

Outcomes Day 1
  • Develop a high-level transformation strategy
  • Understand the management role in leading dual transformation
  • Handle industry shifts and how to deal with them
  • Identify and invest in the right investment opportunities
  • Develop a business model portfolio
  • Complete basic management accounting
  • Connect business models and finance
  • Execute a transformation strategy
  • Align strategic decision-making in diverse teams
  • Manage financial analysts
  • Understand industry shifts and weak signals
Outcomes Day 2
  • Develop and execute an Innovation strategy
  • Build a corporate venture capital strategy and portfolio
  • Manage the Board of Directors during a transformation
  • Shareholder updates and shareholder meetings
  • Understand basic corporate finance
  • Understand how to connect strategy and finance
  • Finance the transformation, through debt, bonds, cash flow or corporate finance magic
  • Complete (passive or aggressive) investments in the transformation strategy
  • Deal with challenging financial analysts
  • Design an ESG & sustainability strategy
  • Lead the team through strategic challenges
  • Align strategic decision-making across corporate functions
Outcomes Day 3
  • Manage and respond to activist investors
  • From organic to inorganic growth
  • Understand value creation in capital markets
  • Dealmaking, mergers & acquisitions for value creation
  • Dealmaking and negotiation skills
  • Using finance as a strategic weapon
  • Defending against hostile take-overs
  • Managing successful M&A integration
  • Managing the egos and personality clashes of a potential M&A
  • Leading teams through complex situations
  • Managing and leading at the edge of chaos

What to Expect

Understand and master the entire startup journey in just hours. See how 100’s of global startups have cracked the code on investor readiness and accelerated their companies to €100M’s of valuation.

Understand the full journey from ‘idea to exit’

Understand how to think strategically for a startup

Learn how to deal with early-stage and growth investors

Learn how to think in terms of ‘value creation’

Practice your deal making skills, closely aligned to real-life fund raising

Master new tools for real life scale up success

Scaling-up, Investor Readiness, and Startup Strategy

Having founded, co-founded, invested in, supported, or mentored more than 100 startups, we often find that most teams have zero idea on how to think about investors, how to build a funding strategy, or how to think about their long-term value development. 


The Scale-Up Map helps startups to look beyond the now and build a short-, medium- and long-term growth strategy on a single page.


This is the investor segmentation tool that helps startups segment their investor prospects and select the right investor based on financial and strategic fit.


The canvas helps startups develop a long-term capital strategy and help them identify ways in which they can secure long-term growth capital.

simulation we use

Scale Up! Simulation

Scale Up! The Entrepreneurship Simulator has you step right into the shoes of a startup or scale-up company.

In the simulation, you will battle to grow your company, face obstacles typical to those of a startup and learn to strategize and scale your company against all odds. Make smart strategic choices, balance your liquidity and try to secure as much investor capital as you can without going bankrupt.

Expect a rollercoaster ride through the life of a startup founder.

High Impact Use Cases

Scale Up! is designed for startup founders, management teams, boards, business angels, advisors, national and regional innovation agencies, accelerators, incubators and innovation ecosystem programs.

Strategizing for Success: Scale Up! with Entrepreneurs’ Organization UAE
How Katapult Accelerator Gets Its Startups
Accelerating the Development of the Swiss Innovation Ecosystem


Most common questions we get for planning and delivering a masterclass.

How many people is the Masterclass suitable for?

The Masterclass is designed for 10-100 people, more available on demand. The ideal group size is between 20(small) and 60 (large) groups. Frequently, we have 30-45 people attending.

What level is the Masterclass suitable for?

The Masterclass can easily be adjusted based on the level- and experience of the participants. We have successfully run the Masterclass with participants ranging from C-level, Board roles and top executive roles to young founders and bachelor-level students. The content is slightly adjusted in line with the level and experience of the group.

What is expected of the participants?

The participants will participate in a 1-hour pre-session webinar, review some light materials in advance and join the full Masterclass. The participants are expected to participate fully, work in groups and generally be active during the program.

How many experts will run the Masterclass?

The standard minimum team is 2 people to run the Masterclass. Beyond that, we bring one expert per every 20 participants, to maximize learning, facilitation and outcome for the participants.

What is the background of the facilitators (experts)?

All facilitators are global experts in their respective domains. All of them are trained and fully certified on the sim and materials. Most are also faculty at leading business schools and hold extensive experience in their fields from years of practice in the field.

What is required for room, venue, working space?

A successful Masterclass requires significant, vast workspace to accommodate for group work and breakouts. We recommend one plenary room (conference hall or lecture setup) and multiple large working rooms (classrooms or conference rooms) for group works. We plan for ca. 10-20 people per group.

Bring Scale Up! to Your Startups

Get in touch with us to learn more and explore how we can work together, whether you’re looking to enhance entrepreneurship skills, foster teamwork, or cultivate strategic thinking.