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Intro to Financial Modeling



  Course Highlights

Video course aimed at beginners to financial modeling to teach the foundations of how to build financial models for startups. 2 hours of instruction over 27 videos.


Video course to teach you how to build financial models specific to your startup to guide decision making and impress investors. 2 hours of instruction over 27 lessons.

  Key features

This course is not about Excel and how to build Excel formulas; while we will cover many basic concepts of Excel used in building financial models, this is aimed to help you learn how to assess the viability of a new business idea or raise a round of capital. This is not specifically a how-to for the Foresight templates, but a foundational course for how to approach building a model from scratch.


Preview the first three lessons ›

  Used by

Made for entrepreneurs new to financial modeling that want to learn how to fundamentally think about modeling a business idea. This is a beginners-level course.

  Professional modeler and instructor

Built by a professional financial modeler with experience as an investor and running forecasting inside startups. Experienced at teaching financial modeling to thousands of entrepreneurs through Skillshare, General Assembly, and numerous workshops.


Questions? Chat, call, or email›

Made by a professional modeler with 20+ years of experience

Taylor Davidson
Founder, Foresight

I created the financial models behind Foresight so early-stage entrepreneurs can spend less time on finance and more time on their products.

  • Started building models for startups in 2000
  • Started Foresight in 2008, full-time since 2014
  • Former NYC-based venture capital investor
  • Experience in ecommerce growth and analytics
  • Former private equity analyst, strategy consulting associate
  • MBA in Finance and Accounting

I care about financial modeling because I believe that financial models can help us make critical business decisions even if the models themselves are not “always right”. Financial models can help even the earliest entrepreneurs if we build “minimum viable models” to focus on the decisions that matter most.

@tdavidson, and more about me ›

Product & Support Options

Video Course
 —  $0

2 hours of instruction over 27 videos, all available online. Learn at your own pace, available forever. Pay what you want. Free email customer support.



After you click on “Register” above, you will get an immediate email with a registration link to access the course.

We accept credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. The transmission of your billing information is encrypted using secure socket layer technology (SSL/TLS) and will be processed by Gumroad. Foresight does not have access to your payment details (why it’s safe).

VAT, if applicable, is additional. Businesses with a valid VAT number can get a VAT refund after purchase.

You’ll get a payment receipt by email immediately after purchase. Note, you will see Gumroad, not Foresight, on your payment card or PayPal statement.

Terms and Privacy Policy apply on all purchases.

Get help buying. Call 1-646-770-0052.

Frequently Asked Questions

Happy to help.

The forecast tools are all free tools that are built to handle specific kinds of forecasting, from wholesale sales and cash flow, or per-channel digital marketing and sales forecasts, to sales and inventories for ecommerce companies. They are not intended to be full financial models, but used appropriately can help you make important financial decisions about your business.

The base financial models are built to help an entrepreneur create financial projections for their business. The models provide an increasing amount of prebuilt detail and structure, from the Runway & Cash Budget Tool - the simplest - to the SaaS/Ecommerce/Services Models - the most complex - to help you find the right level of detail and structure you need in your forecasts.

The Standard is the best option for most businesses. The financial core contains all the details and reports necessary to build and present your financial model to executives and investors and make significant business decisions. The growth and revenue forecasts are prebuilt using the default revenue model, but the model also offers the Bring Your Own Model functionality to let use build or use your own revenue model with the financial core in the Standard.

If you need less detail - for example, if you’re an entrepreneur just getting started - then use the Runway & Cash Budget Tool (it’s free) or the Starter Model if you’re looking for the simplest, “Minimum Viable Model” for an entrepreneur to use to raise capital.

If you need more detail - for example, if you’re a SaaS, Ecommerce, or Services business and you need to model out lots of different subscription plans, SKUs, or projects - then the SaaS, Ecommerce, or Services modules / models would be the right fit. The Standard handles 1 “average” subscription, order, or project, and in most cases it’s still the right choice, but if you have a more evolved business and you need to detail each different plan, SKU or project that you offer, then you’ll want the more advanced models.

My general rule: start with the model that has less detail - just enough to accomplish what you need - and then either build in what you need or upgrade to a more advanced model with more features prebuilt. It’s usually easier and cheaper for you.

For a more detailed explanation, see how to select the right Foresight template ›

If you have questions, just email me at hello@foresight.is or call +1 646.770.0052 if it’s urgent.

Foresight’s models are Microsoft Excel™ files, and they are available for download immediately after purchase. You can also re-download them at any time in the future through your account on this site, and new versions are distributed to you by email for free.

The best way to use the templates is to first create a copy of the file you downloaded, rename it to something that makes sense to you, then open up the file in Excel or Google Sheets™, and start to familiarize yourself with how the model is structured. There are also a lot of explainers and how-to’s on this site under the Help section where I answer the most important and common questions people ask. But the models are extensively documented throughout, with notes and explainers on almost every line noting what the calculation is doing and it’s intent. The Outline sheet provides an overview of each sheet and a visual description of how the information is separated in the model and how the sheets flow together.

Then, start with the Get Started sheet(s) with the most important assumptions, and start filling in the inputs, which are clearly labeled. Then I typically start with modeling the operating costs to create a cost budget and an idea of predicted overhead expenses.

Next comes the revenues; with the Standard Model, start with the Get Started - Revenue Model sheet and use the labels to define the terminology you want to use in the default revenue model, then go through the inputs around growth channels, conversion and adoption, prices, and cost of sales. With other models, the structures are different, but the basic idea is the same.

By now, you’ll have a basic forecast, and now it comes down to looking at the Summary and Key Reports sheet(s) to see if the projections make sense: net income, top-line growth, margins, etc. And refining and iterating on the inputs until you get to a final result that makes sense for your business and your industry.

Foresight’s models are Microsoft Excel™ files, and they are available for download immediately after purchase.

I recommend using Excel or Google Sheets™ for financial modeling, both in general and for Foresight templates specifically. In practice, I use Excel to build and edit models, and Google Sheets to share or collaborate with users. Excel is usually a faster platform for building models, but Sheets can be easier for sharing models with people.

Foresight’s models can be used in both Excel and Google Sheets interchangeably; simply upload the Microsoft Excel model template from Foresight into Google Sheets, and everything will work fine.

Additionally, Foresight is compatible with a few software platforms. See Recommended software ›

It generally takes about an hour to go through the setup on the one (or two) Get Started sheets, the Revenue Model (Standard Model only), and input the operating expenses and hiring plan on the Costs sheet. Once you have a first draft of the model with the basic information, I find it takes another hour to adjust the inputs to create a set of forecasts that makes sense for your business, meaning the growth in revenues, gross margins, and net profit margins “make sense”.

If you are inputting past operational or financial data and creating rolling forecasts, or have a more complex business, it can take more time to get the added data into the model. If you are adding in a revenue model you’ve already built through the Bring Your Own Model functionality, the integration of the new revenue model is usually five to ten minutes. If you are creating your own revenue model from scratch, obviously the amount of time it takes is completely dependent on the complexity of your business, the level of detail you are modeling, and your own skills at spreadsheets and financial modeling.

Of course! All formulas, cells and sheets are completely open, so you can edit anything to your liking. Each row on every sheet has a note about what that row’s calculations are trying to do, and many of the components are explained in the help files, so that you can see how I did it - and help you figure out how to change it to your liking.

The models are updated no more than they have to, as changes can be disruptive to users. All purchasers get updates of new versions automatically by email, and the models come with Changelog sheets that describe the changes that happen in each model version. Most of the time the changes are new features that are optional for users to add.

Yes! You can email me anytime and I’ll try to respond as fast as I can. I’ve also spent a lot of time to build out the written and video documentation here on this site through the Help section, but I’m always happy to help. People say I provide good support, for what it’s worth.

Email support on how to use the models is free anytime, but I aso offer a 1 hour Get Started package which combines help on getting started using the model - walking through the inputs and struture with you on a phone call or screenshare, helping you set it up for your needs - and basic customization if necessary. This Get Started support can be purchased anytime: at time of model purchase or anytime thereafter. Details here ›

Yes. I work with startups and investment funds, assisting with financial models for fundraising, capital planning, and market development strategy. I have experience from both sides of the table as a venture capitalist and a part-time CFO, and I’ve worked with thousands of companies throughout my career.

Most custom models I build fall under 2 areas:

  • Growth and revenue models to use with the Starter Model or Standard Model, leveraging the financial core of the model to keep the projects efficient and cost-effective
  • Complex cap table and waterfall models to help entrepreneurs and investors understand how the proceeds from transactions will be distributed.

I’ve built hundreds of custom models for business planning and financial analysis I’m always happy to talk about what you want to accomplish.

Contact me at hello@foresight.is or +1 646.770.0052.

Yes! I’m happy to take a look at your existing model and offer advice on how you can improve on it, or help you add in features or edits you need. I usually focus on how to make models more flexible, accurate, structured, and transparent. Contact me at hello@foresight.is.

Yes! I’ve been a mentor at TechStars, ERA (Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Accelerator), AlphaLab, The Brandery, Launch Pad, and more accelerators, and I’ve worked with startups on product strategy, market strategy, financial projections, pitching, and fundraising. I love to teach entrepreneurs how to think about business strategy using the analytical processes that financial modeling builds, and I do in-person and virtual lectures, seminars, and one-day workshops on financial modeling for startups.

See Workshop Options ›

Yes. For incubators, accelerators, and universities looking to purchase a model for a group of startups or entrepreneurs, bulk license purchasing is available at a discount. A license covers one model, and can be used for any of the startup financial models available (venture capital model is not available for bulk licensing).

See Bulk Licensing ›

Yes. If you find that you need more detail or structure from a more advanced model, you can apply your purchase towards a more advanced model. The structures are fairly consistent so it’s usually fairly easy to take any inputs from your existing Foresight model and use it in a more advanced model.

It’s a manual process for me to process an upgrade purchase, and I like to talk to you to make sure the more advanced model will be helpful for what you want to accomplish, so simply email me at hello@foresight.is to learn more.

Sorry, but no. (Here’s why.) If you have any questions about the applicability of the models for your business or questions about the models, email me before purchase at hello@foresight.is so we can chat or schedule a demo.

After purchase, I generally offer exchanges, upgrades and downgrades to help you find the model that is the right fit for you. In all cases, just contact me.

Yes. We accept credit cards, debit card, and PayPal, and payments are handled by Gumroad. All transactions are TLS / SSL secured and no payment details are stored by Foresight (see here to understand the details behind our transaction provider, their security and how they never store payment details).

You’ll get a payment receipt by email immediately after purchase, and you can generate an official invoice through that receipt. Note, you will see Gumroad, not Foresight, on your credit card or PayPal statement.

If applicable, VAT is additional to the listed product prices. EU law requires businesses, even US-based businesses, to charge VAT for digital goods sold to EU customers.

Businesses with a valid VAT number issued by any Member State of the EU can get a VAT refund after purchase. My transaction provider’s process for issuing a VAT refund is pretty simple; just click on the Generate Invoice link in your emailed purhcase receipt, enter your VAT number, and your invoice will be updated to show the VAT refund, and you’ll get the refund back to your payment method within a few days.