Preparing For Your Startup Journey

Everything you need to know about starting a startup. Learn from 3x founders with successful exits and a $2B unicorn.


Course Overview

Deciding whether to start a startup is a pivotal decision many founders struggle with before they finally take the leap. Timing, idea, life circumstances and commitment all play big factors. How do you make this decision, and what can you expect if you decide to start a startup?

This course covers everything you need to know about starting a startup, including practical steps to prepare you to make the transition. Explore who should (and who shouldn't) venture into startups, evaluate your own readiness, learn how to generate good startup ideas, and gain insight into what you can expect from your first year as a startup founder.

By the end of the course, you'll have the information you need to decide if and when you should start a startup.

Learn from Successful Founders

This course was created by experienced founders turned investors: Brian Ma and Hsu Ken Ooi have started 3 companies (Decide, Weave, Divvy Homes), raised over $700M from renowned investors (a16z, GIC, Tiger Global, Index Ventures, etc), sold 2 of their companies and built 1 to unicorn status ($2B valuation).

Drawing from their own entrepreneurial journeys, Brian and Hsu Ken have also amassed invaluable experience engaging with thousands of startups as Managing Partners of Iterative, a YC-style program tailored for Southeast Asia.

Sign up for this free course to join over 3,000 aspiring, early stage and seasoned founders who turn to Iterative for expert guidance in building their startups.

Sneak peak into what you'll learn:

Key Takeaways

Practical things you should do before you start a startup
How to come up with startup ideas and how to determine which are good ideas
What you should and should not focus on during your first year
How to find and generate ideas from real-world problems
5 common mistakes first time founders make and how to avoid them
What the first 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of a new founder's journey could look like

Who Is This For

  • Aspiring Founders You are interested in starting a startup, but don't have ideas and don't know how to get started. If you need expert guidance on how to begin turning ideas into a business, this course is for you.
  • New Founders You recently began actively working on your idea full time and are unsure of whether you are focusing on the right things. If you're seeking structure and clarity about how to build your startup, this course is for you.
  • Everyone Else You are a full-time student interested in learning about startups, or a professional considering entrepreneurship as your next career move. If you are curious about entrepreneurship, this course is also for you.

What Founders Are Saying About Us

“Relevant, filled with insights and concise.”
“I wish that we know Iterative sooner so that we would not waste so much time figuring out things on our own.”
“I would recommend Iterative to other founders for its helpful guidance and support for the entrepreneurs.”
“It was helpful for us and I am sure it will help many others too.”

“Very useful and learned lots!”
“Operator experience from the Iterative team is really valuable for founders. It's like having an ad-hoc temporary cofounder.”
“Loved the specificity of Hsu Ken's feedback, especially when he gives examples to drive home the point he's making.”
“I came in with very high expectation and you delivered.”

Meet the Creators


Brian Ma Co-founder and Managing Partner, Iterative

Iterative is a Y Combinator-style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia.

Previously, Brian was co-founder and CEO of Divvy Homes ($2B), which raised over $700M in funding (a16z, GIC, Tiger Global). He was co-founder of, which raised over $16M total funding and was acquired by eBay in 2013. He was co-founder of Weave (YCS13).


Hsu Ken Ooi Co-founder and Managing Partner, Iterative

Iterative is a Y Combinator-style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia.

Previously, Hsu Ken was co-founder of, which raised over $16M total funding and was acquired by eBay in 2013. He was formerly VP of Product at Weave (YCS13). He was also Chief Product Officer at Workmate, which raised over $10M total funding.

This Course Includes

📚 Immediate access to all course material

📓 14 detailed lessons

📄 Digital and printable worksheets

📝 4 assignments to apply learnings

🧑‍🏫 2 live sessions with instructors

🎓 Certificate of completion

Course Content

Week 1: 20 May to 24 May

Module 1: Should You Start a Startup Explore factors influencing the decision to start a startup, including timing, readiness, personal motivations, and risk tolerance.
Module 2: 5 Common Mistakes Gain insights into common mistakes and challenges early founders commonly face, especially in the first year of a new startup.

Week 2: 27 May to 31 May

Module 3: Good Startup Ideas Dive into the basics of ideation to learn how the experienced founders come up with startup ideas. Discover techniques to validate, gather feedback, and refine your idea to maximize its potential for success.
Module 4: Year 1 Discover what the first 3, 6, 9 and 12 months could look like for new founders. Explore the role and responsibilities of being a founder, common challenges faced by startups, and strategies for overcoming obstacles along the way.

Week 3: 3 June to 7 June

Module 5: Traits of Successful Founders Learn common characteristics of successful founders. Explore techniques to manage the ups and downs of startup life, overcome setbacks, and stay focused on your goals.
Module 6: Advice Get insider tips and strategies from experienced 3x founders who have built and sold startups successfully.

Decide Your Future Today

Start your startup journey with confidence. Created by experienced founders, and it's completely free.


How much does this course cost?

It's completely free.

Is there homework?

There are optional assignments we recommend you do to apply your learnings.

What is the expected time commitment?

It will take 2-3 hours per week for 3 weeks to complete this course.

Do I need to know anything about startups before I take this course?

No, you don’t need to know anything about being a founder or startups before taking this course.

What if I have additional questions about the course?

Email with your questions and for more information.


Iterative is a YC-style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia. Iterative invests up to US500K in a batch of startups twice a year. The investment includes 3-months of targeted growth and fundraising support, which culminates in a Demo Day to a network of 400+ investors.

Iterative’s portfolio companies have raised $168 million in follow-on funding and are collectively worth more than $1.2 billion. Iterative companies include: fintech startup Spenmo (W21) that closed an $85M Series B round led by Tiger Global; travel startup GoZayaan (W21) which closed $8M in capital and acquired it’s counterpart in Pakistan; proptech startup Propseller (S20) which raised $12M Series A; Sendhelper (S20), a home services startup acquired by PropertyGuru.