Join the League
(of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs)
Apply Today

MGT 477E/577E Launching & Scaling New Enterprises
Spring 2022 – Mondays 4-6 PM – 3.0 Credit Hours
Professor Doug Villhard


What is The League?

Technically it is an advanced entrepreneurship class. Functionally it is an accelerator for extraordinary WashU student entrepreneurs in the tech/digital space.

What does it take to get accepted into the class?

Attend WashU as a student in any capacity. Have a tech/digital idea/team that is ready to launch and scale. Or have a desire to join a student team that does. And, be approved by our selection committee. 

Why is it nicknamed The League (of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs)?

Because it’s an opportunity to work with some of WashU’s most successful alumni: Jim McKelvey (Square), Andrew Rubin (Illumio), David Eckstein (Menlo Security), Lori Coulter (Summersalt), JD Ross (Opendoor), Lee Fixel (Addition), Deborah Barta (Mastercard Innovation), and Marc Bernstein (Balto).

They are all “unicorns”, having started (or invested in) companies (or business units) with billion-dollar valuations (or are well on their way to doing so). This group is basically our “Mount Rushmore” of most successful WashU graduates in tech/digital.

How do I apply? When will I be accepted?

Fill out this form by 11/19/21. We’ll update you on your status by 12/1/21. However, send an email to rianedwards@wustl.edu immediately to indicate your interest and for our planning purposes. You can apply with an idea/business or to join a team.

How do the teams work?

You can apply with your own team. You can also apply to join a team. Accepted teams can look through the LinkedIn profiles of those who applied individually to consider inviting them to join your team. Long story short, you’ll form your own teams before the class officially starts.

How does the class work?

Here is a working draft of the syllabus. It meets weekly on Mondays from 4-6 PM. Each week one of our successful alumni will drop by to impart wisdom on a certain topic helpful to launching and scaling your company. Over the course of the semester, each student team will set goals for themselves specific to their company. At the end, each team will pitch real VCs and Angels for potential investment.

What resources are available to me once I’m accepted?

In partnership with the Skandalaris Center, you’ll have 24/7 access to the co-working space and the Center’s full resources. WashU also has partnerships with hosting companies such as AWS and Azure. Not to mention access to our database of mentors, advisors, industry experts, potential customers, and investors. We’ll help you apply for $1,000 from the Holekamp Seed Fund, for a $50,000 Arch Grant, and for acceptance to other accelerators.

How is this class different from Introduction to Entrepreneurship or The Hatchery?

All of Olin’s entrepreneurship classes are fantastic. Introduction to Entrepreneurship is about discovering if an entrepreneurial career is right for you. The Hatchery is about learning what it takes to develop a competitive business pitch/plan. And this class is about actually launching and scaling a company. You are highly encouraged to take our other classes first, but students will be accepted into this class based on the efficacy of their idea, current traction, and specific skill sets they bring to the table that are desirable to startups. Taking the other classes is highly encouraged, but they are not a prerequisite if you can prove yourself to be “extraordinary.”

Who is Professor Doug Villhard?

Doug is also an alumnus of WashU, an innovator, founder, investor, and philanthropist who recently exited his software company and is now dedicated to teaching and investing in WashU startups. He is Olin’s Academic Director and Professor of Practice for Entrepreneurship. He works in partnership with Rian Edwards — Olin’s Entrepreneurship Program Manager — who is a great resource for connecting students to industry experts and potential customers based on your business idea.