Lean Launchpad for Life Sciences & Healthcare

Course Dates: 5-8pm, January 8 - March 19, 2015 (no class January 15)

Following our success in creating the first Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences & Healthcare course last year as part of the NSF I-Corps program, we are proud to announce that the NIH is launching a pilot course in Washington DC this fall based on our curriculum. We will hold the second UCSF course in January.

Our class teaches scientists and clinicians how to assess whether the idea or technology they have can serve as the basis of a business. The focus is on the marketplace where you must validate that your idea has value in order to move into the commercial world.

We're going to help teams:

  • Assess regulatory risk before they design and build​
  • Gather data essential to customer purchases before doing the science
  • Define clinical utility now, before spending millions of dollars
  • Identify financing vehicles before they're needed

This coming year we will accept ventures that fit either one of two tracks:  therapeutics/diagnostics or digital health/Big Data.    Our teaching team is steeped in the Lean LaunchPad methodology and comes with a strong industry/business background either as entrepreneurs or investors. 

This 10-week course takes participants down the pathway to building an idea into a venture.  It is not about writing a business plan or doing library research.  You will be talking to actual customers and partners for your idea and learning the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works.  You’ll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to get out of the classroom and talk to real prospects to see if anyone other than you would want/use your product.  Each week will be a new adventure as you test another part of your business model and share this knowledge with the rest of the class.  

Application criteria:

  • You must apply in a team of 3-5 people who can attend all classes in person at Mission Bay and dedicate a significant amount of time outside of class
  • Whole team must be working on the same venture
  • Venture must be in digital health or therapeutic space

Application Process information:

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.  We will consider applications till December 2nd.
  • Phone interviews will occur November 24-25th.
  • In person interviews will take place at Mission Bay during the week of December 3rd-4th.
  • Teams will be accepted week of December 8th.
  • Payment for individuals on teams is due week of December 15th .

Team Formation:

  • If you are looking to create a team, please fill out this form.

Course Fees:

Course fees are charged by the person (not by the team).

  • Corporate: $950
  • Startup: $475 (also students from other UCs)
  • UCSF, UC Berkeley & Stanford Students + Faculty: $0 (almuni status not honored) 


  • Please send us this (1) powerpoint application and (2) one page or less executive summary (word doc or pdf acceptable) including the information outlined here (no need to repeat team information, but please do include if IP has been filed and if so, who owns it and has rights to it). If you are unfamilar, here a resource on the business model canvas.  Once completed, please email the (1) powerpoint and (2) executive summary to entrepreneurship@ucsf.edu with the subject line, "[Last of Team Lead] + [Name of venture]+ [Digital Health or Therapeutic Venture]" 

Additional information: on the Lean LaunchPad at http://steveblank.com, on the business model canvas here (part of the application), and the online videos for the course here.  See Steve Blank's blog posts on digital health and devices here and on drug discovery and diagnostics here.


January 8, 2015 to March 12, 2015
Mission Bay 
Registration Deadline: 
November 8, 2014
Syllabus above is from 2014 and does not reflect updates for 2015. Application: The application will need to be completed it as a team (at least three members, no exceptions), saved under the first name and last name of your lead member, and emailed it with a one-pager about your idea/venture to kyra.davis@ucsf.edu. Applications will be accepted through December 2nd.

Course Directors

All Speakers