The Delaware Startup Launchpad program provides hands‐on training and mentorship to promising startup teams while they work to validate novel business models. The program is based on lean startup methods and consists of a series of five, three‐hour workshops. All workshops are led by experienced instructors and involve extensive hands‐on work by team members; therefore, all members should plan to attend, if possible.

Delaware Startup Launchpad is particularly well-suited to technology‐based and technology‐facilitated startups seeking to discover a viable business model and position themselves to begin raising customers. However, any early stage startup with a novel business model vision is invited to apply.

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Participation & Fees

Selection for participation in the Delaware Startup Launchpad program is competitive and limited to no more than 8 teams. Teams must submit a completed application to be considered for selection.

There is no cost to apply; however, a fee of $399 per team will apply to all teams selected for participation. Please note: all team fees plus additional funding provided by program partners will be awarded back to teams through a competitive assessment process (see Award Funding below).


The Delaware Startup Launchpad program has five goals:

  1. Introduce best practices based on lean startup methods
  2. Guide initial customer discovery research
  3. Facilitate the completion of an initial assessment of business model viability
  4. Provide follow‐on opportunities, as appropriate
  5. Improve the likelihood of startup success


To facilitate goal accomplishment, the Delaware Startup Launchpad Program involves an active partnership between the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, Delaware Founders’ Initiative, Delaware Small Business Development Center, the Mill, Start It Up Delaware (and the coinLoft), 1313 Innovation and other ecosystem partners.

Session Schedule

All workshop sessions are scheduled for 6‐9 p.m. Please note that sessions will be hosted in three different locations to provide broad exposure to the Delaware startup community.

  1. Thursday, October 13, at the Mill – Introduction to Lean Startup Methods
  2. Thursday, October 20, at 1313 Innovation – Falsifiable hypotheses and customer interviewing
  3. Thursday, November 3, at 1313 Innovation – Extracting insights and value proposition design
  4. Thursday, November 17, at Start It Up Delaware – Lessons learned presentations (& tech meetup)
  5. Thursday, December 1, at 1313 Innovation – Follow-on opportunities and next steps

Startup Activities & Optional Mentoring Sessions

Over the course of the program, teams will be expected to actively work to advance their startups through the conduct of customer discovery research. As many questions can arise while engaging in customer discovery research, teams will have two supplemental opportunities to meet with mentors:

  1. Thursday, October 27, at the Mill, 6‐9 p.m.
  2. Thursday, November 10, at the Mill, 6‐9 p.m.

Award Funding

A panel consisting of seasoned entrepreneurs, angel investors and other key stakeholders will be invited to the workshop on November 17 to provide ratings of each startup’s feasibility and growth potential (based largely on evidence gathered during the Delaware Startup Launchpad program). Panelist ratings will be used to allocate a total of at least $5,000 in award funding.

Readings & Videos

Suggested/required readings and videos will be sourced from materials that are freely available on the internet or distributed during the workshops.

Intellectual Property & Business Ownership

Ownership of IP

You own any intellectual property (i.e., patents, hardware, algorithms, copyrights) you bring to the Delaware Startup Launchpad Program. IP developed through the process of business model testing and customer development is shared among the members of the team (in whatever proportion your team members have negotiated with each other; we suggest discussing this and related issues like founder vesting prior to participation in the Delaware Startup Launchpad program).


This is an open educational program. There are no non‐disclosures among participants, instructors, mentors or program guests. If you are uncomfortable with this policy, we ask that you please keep three things in mind. First, you will not be asked to disclose any technical details or trade secrets that may have prima facie value to others. Second, ideas are best viewed as liabilities, rather than assets, because there are significant costs associated with pursuing them (in terms of time & money). Third, initial ideas seldom prove successful; most companies succeed because the process of learning, discovery, and execution shapes an initial idea that is mostly wrong into something that people actually want to use. This process requires willingness to share your ideas openly with peers and others.