Facebook script Program Overview | ZIP Launchpad | SDSU

Program Overview

Check out the free resources ZIP teams gain access to!

In the ZIP Launchpad Program, teams gain access to a huge number of resources that they can use to propel their business to success. These resources are free for teams that show need, hard work and dedication.

The ZIP Launchpad is equipped to help teams iterate on their prototypes as they develop them. Hardware designs are created using the H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab and software prototyping is supported by our mentors.

Resources in the lab include:

  • 3D printer
  • Metalwork
  • Electronics
  • Laser cutter

As teams move through the ZIP Launchpad Tracks they work directly with our staff mentors and once they show a certain level of success teams are assigned a mentor,

You can get access to: 

  • Mentors that come from several industries
  • Business advise from advisors with years of experience
  • Feedback to guide you through business obstacles

Free legal guidance is provided to our teams through our supporting law firms, Mintz Levin and Troutman Sanders.

This is done through:

  • A series of workshop offered once a year on legal fundamentals for entrepreneurs
  • Scheduled office hours with the legal advisors

Teams can apply to receive the Success Fund from the ZIP Launchpad, which is up to $5,000 the team can use to purchase things and make payments to support their growing startup. The spending of the Success Fund is overseen closely by the ZIP Launchpad staff. Teams can also apply to access the Lavin Seed Fund which is up to $5,000 in funding. 

Learn more about ZIP Launchpad Funding Opportunities 


ZIP Launchpad Overview Infographic

Overview: Four Stages of Success

The ZIP Launchpad provides extracurricular, hands-on entrepreneur training at SDSU. Like the student athlete competing on a team, we will provide you structure, training, and resources, but ultimately it is up to your passion, commitment and tenacity to succeed.

To advance from track to track (described below), ZIP Launchpad teams participate in a Review Panel, every four months. This is an opportunity for teams to pitch to a panel of "investors" who help gauge if the team should, move forward, stay in their current track, or leave the program.

Stage 1: Application Cycle

Do you have an idea for a startup?

Increase your chances of admittance with these resources:

While this is not required, it is highly recommended. Teams that follow the process as outlined are 60% more likely to be accepted.
If the dates provided conflict with school or work, please email [email protected]

RSVP for the Application Innovation Workshop


Meet one-on-one with a ZIP Launchpad staff member and recieve direct feedback on your idea and your application. 

Sign up for Idea Office Hours


Stage 2: E-Track

Do you have a problem worth solving?

8-10 weeks of workshops were you will:
  • Build empathy with customers and identify your early adopter
  • Validate key assumptions concerning the problem
  • Lay the foundation to build an effective solution
The Experience Track (E-track) is an intensive 8 to 10 week cohort based experience that is designed to challenge a startup’s key assumptions concerning the problem they want to solve. Teams will participate in hands-on workshops that identify and build empathy with customers, validate key assumptions about the problem while laying the foundation for a scalable business. E-track guides teams in making sure they have identified a problem worth solving so they can move forward with confidence.
The ZIP Launchpad is a performance driven culture that rewards hard work, dedication, commitment and teamwork. Teams must attend E-track labs for 2-3 hours on Friday’s and commit a minimum of 5 hours per week on your startup. Like everything in life, you get out what you put in. Our most successful teams commit whatever time it takes to be successful.

Lab 1

 Teams will learn about LEAN Startup Methodology, problem sizing and developing a problem interview to conduct with potential customers.

Lab 2

 Teams will test hypotheses about the problem they are trying to solve by conducting in person interviews with potential customers.

Lab 3

 Teams will translate their interview notes into actionable insights to validate their customer persona. 

Lab 4

 Teams will identify the acute pain point based on evidence and learn how to conduct thorough secondary research.

Lab 5

 Teams will design a value proposition, learn how to conduct a competitive analysis and size their respective market.

Lab 6

Teams learn about Review Panel expectations and participate in a workshop to improve their presentation skills.

Lab 7

 Teams will develop multiple solutions to the problem they are trying to solve and identify the risks associated with each. 

Lab 8

 Teams will develop their pitch decks for Review Panel.

Lab 9

 Teams will practice their Review Panel Pitches and learn about next steps in the ZIP Launchpad program.

  • 24/7 access to the ZIP Launchpad Collaborative Workspace
  • Conference Room Reservation 
  • Mintz Levin Pro Bono Legal Guidance Office Hours(*)
  • Use of H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab (*@)
  • Use of 3D printers
  • Use of Electronics Station (*@)
  • Pitch Coaching
  • Web Builder Package
  • Office Hours
  • Entrepreneur Society Membership

 (*) requires Director approval
(@) may require training

Stage 3: Launch 1 Track

Do you have product worth selling?

Our staff helps you develop a working prototype to:
  • Learn more about the customer and their needs
  • Validate your solution's key, unique features
  • Prove customers' intent to purchase your solution
  • Results determine if you advance to Launch 2 Track
Launch 1 Track begins with creating prototypes that you will use to recruit and engage your early adopters. With the guidance of the ZIP Launchpad staff, you will use the latest tools and software to create your prototypes with minimal time and expense. You can use the prototypes to learn about your customer and determine if they value your solution enough to actually purchase it. 
  • All E-Track Resources
  • Ability to Apply for the Lavin Seed Fund (up to $5k) (*)
  • Introduction to Mentor and Domain Experts (upon request)
  • Support for Business Competitions (*)
  • Paid Attendance at SD Networking Events(*)
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Service Provider Partner Support
  • One on One Office Hours with Advisor (upon request)
  • Access to Advisory Board Members
  • Software Development Consultation (office hours)
  • Office hours with COB Faculty (as offered)
  • Introduction to Investors

(*) requires Director approval

Stage 4: Launch Track #2

Do you have a business worth investing?

We'll provide the framework to start and scale up:
  • How to obtain funding from angels and investors
  • How to crowdfund your project
  • Licensing or intellectual property, filling patents
  • Admission to a business incubator 


 Teams in the Launch Track 2 are working towards their Launch Goal.  A launch goal represents the achievement of a major milestone that enhances the value of your business.  The accomplishment of your launch goal should set your company up for continued progress and the ability to ramp up. Launch goals reflect external validation of your business such as:

  • Angel investment, grant and/or revenue goal
  • Licensing of your IP
  • Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign
  • Admission into a next-stage incubator such as  EvoNexus
  •  Demonstrable social impact for social enterprises and/or some combination of the above