About Us

Josh working at white board with teamFostering Entrepreneurial Excellence at SDSU

The Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad (ZIP Launchpad) is an incubator and entrepreneurial community that supports San Diego State University (SDSU) innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs to launch viable startups. ZIP Launchpad’s top priority is to help SDSU students, faculty, and staff from all majors and departments to launch startups, in a way that brings valuable, rewarding, experiences our participants. On average, ZIP Launchpad is home to 40 start-up concepts, spanning several industries. We provide services and training to traditional start-ups, as well as Social Enterprises. The program at ZIP Launchpad has developed a strong supportive, and collaborative entrepreneurial community here at San Diego State University.

Teams admitted into ZIP Launchpad participate in the Experience Track (E-track), an intensive 10-week series of workshops based on lean start-up methodology. E-track provides student entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and training necessary to dream, design, and develop their ideas.

Student entrepreneurs begin our program with Entrepreneur Boot Camp, which prepares them for the rigorous demands of E-Track, regardless of experience and academic background. After successfully completing E-Track, teams go through a vetting process called the Review Panel, Students working at desks in the ZIP Launchpadwhere their ideas are scrutinized by experts to ensure they have the necessary clout to be accepted into Launch Track. Launch Track prepares student entrepreneurs for launch from ZIP Launchpad by working towards achieving a key business milestone.

Our launched teams have raised more than $3.4 million in early-stage funding, won several business competitions, and successfully achieved set revenue and crowdsourcing goals.

Providing Value to Start-ups

Through the generosity of our donors, including the Moxie Foundation, H.G. Fenton Company, and San Diego Gas & Electric, and in conjunction with support from SDSU, these benefits are provided at no cost to admitted start-ups. A sample of benefits and services is listed below.

  • Access to the H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab, which provides all the tools necessary for designing and creating a prototype.
  • Mentorship and guidance from successful local entrepreneurs and executives
  • Pro bono legal guidance from the law offices of Mintz Levin
  • Access to investors
  • Working capital grants for up to $5,000 to fund idea validation through the ZIP Launchpad Success Fund
  • Collaborative work space open 24/7, housed in EBA 419
  • Workshops around startup fundamentals

Apply to the ZIP Launchpad

ZIP Launchpad Class Presentation