Sample Application

Check out the sample application put together by the ZIP Launchpad staff below.

Click on the section headings below to see what we look for on an application. If you have any questions please email

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  1. I looked at the "Sample Application.

  2. Full Name
    CEO Seth Neal

  3. Email

  4. Phone Number 
    CEO (619) 594-5200

  5. CEO College of Engineering

  6. CEO Mechanical Engineering

  7. CEO Freshman (Expected Graduation 2021)

  8. CEO Undergraduate Student

10. Tell us about the problem that you are trying to solve and who experiences it

Customers often struggle to find a soccer cleat that fits them well. Consequently, many players suffer from foot and ankle pain due to ill-fitting footwear.
In addition, many players can’t find cleats that both look and feel good. As a result, some players will choose an ill-fitting cleat because they like the look of it, and because it’s not available in different shapes (for example, they don’t come in wide sizes).

11. Why is this a significant problem for your customer? Please provide supporting data and sources to back up your answers.

This problem of “Finding a Good Fit” is important because ill-fitting shoes lead to increased pain and chance of injury. According to Podiatry Today (https://www.podiatrytoday. com/guide-treating-common- soccer-injuries), “Easily 85 percent of patients…are wearing the wrong size shoe.” This can lead to: “neuroma pain, bunion pain, hammertoe pain…ingrown toenails, subungual hematoma, onychodystrophy, plantar fasciitis, turf toe and sesamoiditis.” Also, “An improperly fitting or excessively worn soccer shoe can cause ankle instability, sprains, strains or even fractures in an otherwise healthy foot.” Ill fitting cleats have serious consequences for players, but finding the right combination of looks and fit can be very difficult.

The other problem is the look of the soccer cleat - many soccer players place importance on standing out and being stylish. Players even gain confidence by wearing good-looking apparel and shoes. If they cannot find shoes that look great, they can be less confident on the field, or may be embarrassed in front of their teammates.

12. ZIP Launchpad invests time and resources into teams with innovative solutions. What innovative solution do you have for this problem?

We will provide a custom cleat that will be designed and manufactured using state of the art rapid manufacturing techniques that include 3D scanning and printing. Recent advances in these technologies mean that a company can start manufacturing products for less than $100k startup costs for machines.
The problem that we’re solving can be found in other markets such as:

Any product that requires a customized, physical fit to a person.

Once we establish a system that can cost effectively provide custom footwear, we can expand to other sports related products such as baseball/football helmets, hockey skates, track shoes, golf clubs, knee and elbow pads, personal protective equipment (safety glasses, hard-hats) etc.

13. Solving big problems requires creativity. Tell us about some other potential solutions to your problem.

Other solutions could be:
-Customer 3D Printed insoles for shoes
-Introducing a line of ultra comfortable cleats
-“Skins” for cleats, for example you could buy a really comfortable but ugly shoe, and then outfit it with a really cool looking skin.


 14. Competitor 1

  1. Printed Shoe Manufacturers: Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and New Balance
  2. These companies are all making 3D printed shoes. These companies have validated the underlying technology and demand for customized footwear based on rapid-prototyping technologies (aka 3D printing).
  3. This is insufficient because they are not targeting the soccer market. They also do not offer a consumer friendly method of customization based on the player’s foot size.

 15. Competitor 2

  1. Traditional Soccer Shoe Manufacturers:
  2. These companies (Nike, Adidas, Pumas, and others) offer a variety of different shoe styles and fits, and of varying quality depending on how much a customer wants to spend.
  3. This is insufficient because many players struggle to find a style or make that is comfortable for many hours of playing. It can take hours to find a suitable shoe, and some players never find one that balances comfort, performance and looks. This leads to injury and limited playing time.

 16. Competitor 3

  1. Customized Soccer Cleats from major Manufacturers:
  2. Nike and Adidas both offer looks-based customization of soccer cleats via their online stores. However, this customization includes a limited selection of sizes (for example, you cannot order a wide-size shoe).
  3. This is insufficient because it only addresses the look of the cleat. However the high price point ($350 for Nike) shows that customers are willing to pay for this service.

 17. Competitor 4

  1. Shock-Doctor and Superfeet
  2. These two companies attempt to tackle foot pain and instability problems associated with sports/soccer shoes.
  3. Their solution is insufficient because there simply isn’t room for a comfortable insert in soccer cleats. Also, inserts can’t help a customer fit in cleats that are the wrong shape for their foot, so only a percentage of the market is able to use inserts effectively.

18. Competitor 5

  1. Custom Orthotics
  2. Athletes sometimes use custom orthotics to reduce foot/ankle/leg pain
  3. This is insufficient because orthotics are traditionally difficult to include in soccer cleats because of the minimalistic design of soccer cleats. This design often leaves little or no room for typical orthotics. Also, a custom orthotic may cost several hundred dollars.

19. What potential ways can you make money by solving this problem for your customer?

  1. Direct sales of custom cleats or custom inserts via website
  2. Incorporation of technology into another brand (i.e. Adidas cleats featuring custom designed insoles)
  3. Partnerships with different channels like sporting good store and athletic teams.

20. What makes you passionate or well suited to solve this problem?

I am a mechanical engineer with experience in 3D printing/modeling and I have been interested in entrepreneurship for a while. I also have a lot of connections in the soccer world with potential customers and people to test my product.

I am passionate about solving this problem because I have played soccer for my whole life. I personally have suffered from this problem and have had many team mates that struggled with this as well. Soccer is my passion and this is the industry I want to make a splash in.