In his recent San Jose Mercury News column, Mike Cassidy wrote, “John Herndon's Venture Capital Acquisition class at Cal State East Bay could just as easily have been called Silicon Valley 101.” He chronicled Herndon's innovative teaching approach in his piece titled, "Venture Capital course a real study in Silicon Valley." Read article.
Rather than use case studies or simulations to teach business scenarios, Herndon, who lectures part-time in the accounting and finance department, used LinkedIn to offer student assistance to young companies that were currently seeking funding. Cassidy writes, “…Herndon figures, if you're going to work in the real world, then it helps to learn in the real world, too.” Herndon had whittled the 36 responses he received via LinkedIn down to nine, all which had plans for tangible products.
Herndon ran his student through a business “boot camp” during the first few weeks of class to ensure they knew the basics of writing business plans, creating forecasts, assessing markets and effectively communicating with C-level executives. Students then worked with the selected start-ups to eventually produce a financial plan along with a presentation that the companies could use to pitch possible investors.
Was it successful? “One of the nine companies, Gryphontech Industries, a fledgling Bay Area firm that would serve semiconductor manufacturers, landed $525,000 from an angel investor using the material from Herndon's students," writes Cassidy.
CSUEB senior Edward Ryan Florendo best summed up Herndon’s innovative teaching, “It was one of the best classes that I had at CSU East Bay."
Princeton Review has rated Cal State East Bay as one of the country's 300 "Best Business Schools" for five consecutive years.