Lean Launchpad for Life Sciences & Healthcare

Course Dates: Weds. 5-8pm, June 15 - August 3, 2016 *

Lean LaunchPad is the groundbreaking course backed by the NSF I-Corps that results in greater venture success.  NSF has trained over 750 teams throughout the country and we participate under the I-Corps program.

UCSF is responsible for creating the life science/healthcare version of Lean LaunchPad.  One third of the teams that participated in our 2013 and  winter 2015 cohorts have raised money for their ventures.  This is proof that Lean LaunchPad makes a difference!  

Our class teaches scientists and clinicians how to assess whether their idea or technology has value in the commercial world and can serve as the basis of a business. Teams will learn whether they have a successful business model and if their value proposition resonates with the marketplace.  They will do this through "customer discovery" which involves going out into the world and interviewing potential stakeholders.

This vetting process will help teams:

  • Find out who their customer really is
  • Gather data essential to customer purchases before doing the science
  • Assess regulatory risk before spending resources
  • Define clinical utility before spending millions of dollars
  • Figure out who will pay for your product

The 7-week course takes teams down the pathway of building an idea into a venture.  You will not write a business plan or do library research.  Teams will talk to actual customers and partners for their idea.  They will experience 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 discovery to get out of the classroom, talking 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
  • Ventures can be in any sector of life science/healthcare
  • The course is open to UCSF, UC Berkeley, Stanford and the business community.  We are the only open Lean LaunchPad course in the Bay Area that does not require an academic affiliation.

Application Process information:

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with the final due date on May 4. 
  • In person interviews will take place at Mission Bay during the week of May 9.
  • Teams will be accepted the week of May 16.

Team Formation:

Course Fees:

Course fees are charged for each individual.   

  • Current UCSF/UCB student, postdoc or faculty.  No fee. (Alums are not included in this category).
  • UCSF/UCB/Stanford staff or researcher: $400
  • Stanford student: $200
  • Pre-funding startup: $475
  • Funded startup (raised more than $500k): $800
  • Corporate, revenues over $5MM: $975


Information Sessions and Mixers:

  • UCSF PARNASSUS: 11:45am-1:00pm March 29th: Parnassus Medical Sciences Building S-163 Register
  • UCSF MISSION BAY: 11:45am-1:00pm April 7th: Mission Hall 1407 Register
  • UCSF MISSION BAY: 5:30pm-7:30pm April 19th: Genentech Hall N-114 Register
  • UC BERKELEY: 11:30am-1:30pm April 29th: Haas School of Business Cheit Hall Room C330 Register

Additional information: on  Lean LaunchPad is 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.


June 15, 2016 to August 3, 2016
Mission Bay 
Registration Deadline: 
May 4, 2016
Syllabus above is from 2014 and does not reflect updates for 2016. 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 JeShaune.Jackson@ucsf.edu.

Course Directors

All Speakers