EXCEL training- IF

14. IF: Startup and investor excel model training

TL;DR: Learn how to use the excel IF function. This is really important to learn!

IF? IF what? Exactly 😉 You can do super powerful things when you ask the question IF. IF is basically the foundation of any complex formula where something happens IF a condition is met. IF client’s ARPU is greater than 50 then mark them as a VIP. Sure you can see how that is useful, right? But do you know how to usepitch deck it?

UPDATE: I was originally planning on dealing with “IF” later, but writing the classes, I realised doing it earlier would enable us to make better uses of learnings and apply them to formulas. IF is really the workhorse of Excel!

Intro to excel model training

This is part of a series on excel model training focused on helping founders and investors to actually enjoy and get proficient in excel. It’s such an important skill to have, and there’s no excuse to not be able to do all the ‘advanced’ stuff, let alone the basics.

This is a pragmatic course where you will only learn the most useful things; those that I actually use regularly. We’ll go through the obvious applications, but also include some hacks I’ve developed over the years.

To get the excel example for this and all the other instalments, subscribe with the pretty box on the right and you’ll get the excel tip of the day sent directly to your inbox. Within a month and ten minutes practice, you’ll be a boss in no time.

You can join up to the training here.

What’s the point of the Excel IF function?

I make some pretty complex models. Nothing would be possible without IF.
Take a look at this formula:

if excel startup model

Pretty crazy right! Do you know what it does? It’s to calculate whether you are paying a salary to a staff member in any of my fundraising models.


So what does this formula do? First, have a look how it works in the 50Folds SaaS fundraising model for staff calculations:

The IF function helps us to:

  • Decide when staff join and get paid
  • The date you stop paying them
  • What salary to pay them
  • When to pay a higher salary and on what date

That’s pretty cool, right? It’s technically possible to do this without IF, but man, there would be tonnes and tonnes of cells and formulas to do it! Ain’t nobody got time for that.

How does the excel IF function work?

This is the structure of an IF formula in the world:
Something is True,
then do something,
otherwise, do something else)

Excel always gives you a hint how to structure a formula, You can see the blue text at the bottom.

if excel startup model hint

How IF works – With formulas

IF A=B Statement
THEN  Add C to A Action if true
OTHERWISE  Do nothing Action if false

if formula.png

How IF works – With text

You need to use quotes “Something”

if with text.png

Useful hints

  • You can embed multiple Excel IF functions
  • If you embed multiple IF functions, be really careful about where commas and brackets are. If something is not working that’s why
  • If you make a crazy long formula you can press option on a mac of alt or a PC and press enter to parse the data like a coder would in Python


The excel if function example sheet will help you to learn this with an example.
We will also up the game a little by embedding an Excel IF function.

if excel startup model hint
To get the training model, subscribe to the series below.

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