Email the TAs for any information not covered here.  Soumya Mohan at and Stephanie Zhan at


  • Admission is by teams of 4 Stanford students from any school or department
  • Teams must interview with the teaching team prior to the class start date.
  • Your entire team must attend the first class to be enrolled.
    • The class list and any wait-listed students will be posted online
  • Teams must submit a business model canvas and interview with the teaching team prior to the class start date. ..



▪   Non graduates and non students can serve as advisors to the teams but our priority is providing a learning environment for Stanford Graduate students.

▪   Exceptions for team size and external members will be made on a case-by-case basis.

▪    There are no remote options for this course – you must take the class on campus.

▪   This is very intense class with a very high workload. We expect you to invest at least 5-10 hours per week.

▪   You cannot miss the first class without prior approval


Company Ideas

Company Ideas

▪    Is this class for web startups only?

No, anyone with any idea and preferably a product can form or join a team

▪    What if I do want to test a web idea?

Great.  Only condition is that you have to get the site up and deliver the minimum product feature set during the quarter.


Attendance and Participation

▪     You cannot miss the first class without prior approval

▪     This is very intense class with a very high workload. If you cannot commit to 15-20 hours a week outside the classroom, this class is not for you.

▪     The startup culture at times can feel brusque and impersonal, but in reality is focused and oriented to create immediate action in time- and cash-constrained environments.

▪     If during the semester you find you cannot continue to commit the time, immediately notify your team members and teaching team and drop the class.

▪     If you expect to miss a class, please let the TA and your team members know ahead of time via email.

▪     We expect your attention during our presentations and those of your fellow students. If you’re getting bored, tired or inattentive step outside for some air. If we see you reading email or browsing the web we will ask you to leave the class.

▪     We ask that you use a name card during every session of the quarter.

▪     During your classmates’ presentations you will be required to give feedback online via the LaunchPad Central system. Please bring a laptop to every class and be prepared to give your undivided attention to the team at the front of the room.



Intellectual Property

Who owns the intellectual property tested in the Business Model?

If you’re working with a Stanford related-technology (i.e. either research from one of the team members or University IP), you must check with the Office of Technology, Licensing to understand Stanford ownership rights in any resulting IP.


1. You own what Intellectual Property (patents, hardware, algorithms, etc.) you brought to class with you. No one (other than Stanford) has claim to anything you brought to class.

2. You all own any intellectual property developed for the class (such as code for a web-based project) developed during class.

3. You and your team members need to disclose to each other what IP/Licensing rights any company you’ve worked at has to inventions you make at school.

4. If any or you decide to start a company based on the class, you own only what was written and completed in the class. You have no claim for work done before or after the class quarter.

5. If a subset of the team decides to start a company they do NOT “owe” anything to any other team members for work done in and during the class. All team members are free to start the same company, without permission of the others. (We would hope that a modicum of common sense and fairness would apply.)


  • I feel my idea / Business Model may become a real company and the “next killer app” and I want to own it myself what should I do?

This is more than likely the wrong class to take. Your slides, notes and findings will be publically shared. Your team owns everything done in class. Discuss Intellectual Property rights with your team from the beginning.  If you can’t come to agreement with the team, join another team, pick another project, or drop the class. Remember anything you do and learn in the class is public.


  • Will my Intellectual Property rights be protected when I discuss my ideas with the class?

NO. This is an open class.  There are no non-disclosures.  All your presentations and Customer Discovery and Validation notes, business model canvas, blogs and slides can, and more likely will, be made public.


  •   This class is not an incubator. At times you will learn by seeing how previous classes solved the same class of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs.

Keep in mind that successful companies are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution.  (That’s the purpose of this class.) Therefore you must be prepared to share your ideas openly with the class. It is a forum for you to “bounce” your ideas off your peers.


  • I’m not comfortable sharing what I learn with others what should I do?

Don’t take this class.


  •   This class is not an incubator. At times you will learn by seeing how previous classes solved the same class of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs.



  • What kind of support will our team have?

The teaching team consists of professors, a TA and a mentor per team.  A mentor is an experienced entrepreneur, investor or consultant assigned to your team. They’ve volunteered to help with the class and your team because they love startups. Their job is to guide you as you get out of the building.

  • How often can we/should we meet with our mentor?

Your mentor is expecting to meet with you at least every two weeks face-to-face or by Skype..  You can email them or meet with them more often if they have time.

  • Can I talk to a mentor not assigned to my team?

By all means, do so.  All the mentors are happy to help. However they cannot support your team full time unless your mentor decides to swap places with them.

  • I have a busy schedule and my mentor can’t meet when I want them to.

Mentors have day jobs. Asking them to meet or reply to you ASAP is not acceptable. So plan ahead to allow for a reasonable amount of time for a reply or meeting. Be concise with your request and be respectful of their time.

  • I need help now.

You first stop is your TAs.  Email or sit down with them during the week if you have a problem.  Your professors have office hours every Wednesday at 4:30-5:30pm.  If you need something resolved sooner, email us.


Team Dynamics

  • What roles are in each team?

Traditionally, each team member is part of the “customer development team”. You have to figure out how to allocate the work.

  • What if my team becomes dysfunctional?

Prepare to work through difficult issues. If the situation continues, approach the teaching team.  Do not wait until the end of the quarter to raise the issue.

  • What if one of my teammates is not “pulling his/her weight”?

Try to resolve it within your team. If the situation continues longer than a week, please approach the teaching team. Final grades will also reflect individual participation and contribution.


  • What kind of feedback can I expect?

Continual feedback weekly. Substandard quality work will be immediately brought to your attention.


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