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Receding Iceberg


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Info Sessions

​I am interested in a particular topic and would like more information. Whom should I contact?

Can I have more/less than 4 students on a team?

  • The ideal team size is 4, but with exceptions teams of 3 or 5 are allowed. Please reach out to the teaching team for more information.

Do all team members have to be active students?

  • Yes, all team members need to be enrolled Stanford Students. Other non-students can serve as advisors to the team. Learn more about teams

For the application, should I choose a specific problem or do I apply for all problems?

  • If applying as a team, please select your first and second problem choice.
  • If applying as an individual, please choose up to 4 topic areas
  • If applying with a technology and not a specific problem, please reach out to the teaching team.

I have an idea/project that I think is perfect for the class and it doesn't fit one of the problem topics, can I still apply for this class?

  • Yes, please reach out to the teaching team before the application deadline to discuss it.

What if I want to apply as an individual?

  • Yes, you can, but preference is given to teams


What is the difference between this class and E245 (the Lean Launchpad)?

  • This class is mission driven entrepreneurship focused on the specific area of Climate and Sustainability working on known problems. E245 is learning about lean focused on your team’s idea.

Do teams receive funding?

  • There will be a small pool of funds available to teams for prototyping or travel expenses.

Do I have to be a US citizen to take this class?

  • No.  Any active Stanford graduate student or junior or senior can apply to enroll.

Do I have to have previous experience with Climate and Sustainability to take the class.

  • No.  We hope that students from all departments apply to the class.

Team Formation & Ideas

How Do I Find Teams?

  • There are multiple ways:
    • Use the google sheet with the names of students interested in creating or joining teams
    • Come to the info sessions and mixer to meet others
    • Find them on your own
    • Send out emails to interested students

Do I have to choose an idea that a sponsor is providing?

  • Generally yes. But exceptions can be made, please email the teaching team if you have a different idea.

Intellectual Property

Who owns the intellectual property tested in the Mission 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.
  • 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.
  • You all own any intellectual property developed for the class (such as code for a web-based project) developed during class.
  • 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.
  • 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.

I feel my idea / Mission Model may become a real company and the "next killer app," and I want to own it myself.  What should I do?

  • 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 problems 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.

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

  • 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. 

Resource Available

What kind of support will our team have?

  • The teaching team consists of professors, experienced military professionals, and multiple Course Assistants.  Each team will be assigned a mentor. A mentor is an experience Climate/Sustainability expert, entrepreneur, investor or consultant assigned to your team. They’ve volunteered to help with the class and your team because they love hard problems, love startups and appreciate the importance of addressing problems facing the world. Their job is to guide you as you get out of the building and to interface effectively with your sponsors. 
  • In addition, teams will have access to (modest) funding that they can use to support problem discovery and rapid prototyping efforts. Admitted teams will learn more about this resource.

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

  • Your mentor is expecting to meet with you at least every week face-to-face or by video. You can email them or meet with them more often if they have time. They are volunteers.

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 week. 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” or a "startup team" seeking to identify problem-solution fit.  There are no CEOs on the 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 their 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