Frequently Asked Questions


What is the ZIP Launchpad?

The ZIP Launchpad is an on campus incubator that helps students, staff and faculty at San Diego State University launch startup companies.


Who can join the ZIP Launchpad? 

Degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff at SDSU.

Teams in the program are required to have one SDSU student, faculty, or staff as a core member of their business venture. Core members actively participate in the day to day activities of the company and can attend all ZIP meetings and events on behalf of the team. Students from all majors are welcome at ZIP Launchpad. 


How much does the ZIP Launchpad cost? Do you take equity? 

$0 and no.

The ZIP Launchpad is donor funded by entrepreneurs who want to see the next wave of business leaders at San Diego State University. This allows us to offer advising, mentorship, resources, lab space, and funding opportunities at no cost to the teams involved, and we don't take any equity. 


What majors are eligible for the ZIP Launchpad? 

All majors are welcome. Many of our best companies come from teams of diverse backgrounds and skillsets and we believe that innovation can occur anywhere. 


When should I join the ZIP Launchpad?

The ZIP Launchpad's programming lasts 2-6 semesters depending on how far a team/individual advances in the program. We welcome students to apply at any time during their college career; however, we highly recommend applying sooner than later. The longer you are able to participate in the ZIP Launchpad, the more value you will gain. The best time to start is right now so apply today! 


Do I need to have a team? 

It is strongly encouraged to apply with a team, however solo founders are welcome too. 


Do I need to have a prototype or revenue? 

No, most teams start with just an idea. 


How can I improve my chances of being admitted?  

Sign up for Idea Office Hours to get help from ZIP staff, attend an Application Workshop, and read through the Sample Application. Make sure to fill out the application completely, including the competitor / alternatives section, and submit on time. We can always reset your application if you'd like to edit more, however we do not look at unsubmitted applications. 


How can I get involved if I don't have an idea? 

Events, workshops, and paid internships


What is the time commitment?

While the ZIP Launchpad programming requires 3-6 hours per week, many of our program participants commit more time voluntarily to launch their startup company. The more time a participant commits to their startup in ZIP Launchpad, the more value he/she gains from the program.. 


What resources do you offer? 

Once accepted, participants have the ability to access different resources as they advance in the ZIP Launchpad program. The resources include up to $10,000 in funding, legal guidance, access to over a dozen domain experts, an adviser, 24-7 workspace, as well as engineering and prototyping services. 


Is my idea at risk of being stolen or compromised at the ZIP Launchpad? 

All participants in the ZIP Launchpad program are required to sign a participation agreement that addresses these concerns. If you have any worries about intellectual property and are a participant in the ZIP Launchpad, we have attorneys who can advise you on what you are able to share. Please note that as a participant in the ZIP Launchpad, you will be expected to pitch your idea in front of peers, advisers, potential investors and community entrepreneurs. If this makes you uncomfortable, the ZIP Launchpad program may not be a great fit for you.