Keller Center - Educating Leaders for a Technology-Driven Society

EGR 495: The Lean LaunchPad

EGR 495: The Lean LaunchPad

Jim Hornthal
Interested in starting your own company? Then consider enrolling in the Keller Center's new fall course, EGR 495: Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: The Lean LaunchPad!  Taught this coming fall by the 2012-13 James Wei Visiting Professor in Entrepreneurship, Jim Hornthal '76, the course provides real world, hands-on learning about what it's like to actually start a company. Taking the course will enable you to get your hands dirty talking to customers, partners, competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works. You'll work in teams and be paired with experienced mentors, learning how to turn a great idea into a great company. Watch a YouTube clip of Jim Hornthal describing the Lean LaunchPad.  

Prerequisite: interest and passion in exploring whether a technology idea can become a real company. Open to sophomores, juniors, seniors, and grad students.


About  the course
Apply emerging entrepreneurship principles including the popular "lean startups" and "customer development" frameworks to prototype, test and iterate your product while discovering if you have a profitable business model. Work and study in teams. Admission to the course is by application only, and includes proposals of possible ideas for team projects. After review of applications, interviews will be held on April 25. Actual teams and projects will be formed during the first week of the semester. Proposals can be software, physical goods, or services of any kind (note: they do not have to be high-tech). Projects are treated as real start-ups, so work will be intense.

This class is not about how to write a business plan. It's not an exercise on how smart you are in a classroom, or how well you use the research library to size markets. And the end result is not a PowerPoint slide deck for a VC presentation. You'll work in teams and be paired with experienced mentors, learning how to turn a great idea into a great company. You'll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company. You'll get out of the classroom to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product.

Finally, based on the customer and market feedback you gathered, you will use agile development to rapidly iterate your product to build something customers would actually use and buy.  Each week will be a new adventure outside the classroom, as you test each part of your business model and then share the hard earned knowledge with the rest of the class.

Class Schedule
Class and Team Meetings: 
T/TH from 3:30-4:20 p.m.
Mandatory Lab (weekly team presentations and lecture): W 1:30-4:20 p.m.

About Jim Hornthal
Jim is a life-long entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist who is also a Fellow of The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, where he co-teaches the Lean LaunchPad course for engineering, MBA and Executive MBA students. He has also co-taught the Lean LaunchPad for Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA students.

Jim began his entrepreneurial career as a freshman at Princeton, where he started several student agencies, and eventually managed the Student Agency organization his senior year. He has been part of the founding team for five high tech companies, including Preview Travel, the first publically traded online travel service. In 2000, Preview merged with a division of The Sabre Group to form, which was subsequently acquired in full by Sabre in 2002.

Jim's active angel investing activities are complemented by his role as a Venture Partner with CMEA Capital, an established venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management that invests primarily in early stage technology, energy and life science companies.

Currently, Jim is the co-founder and Chairman Triporati, Inc. and PolitEar, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors of KIND Snacks and (Bangalore, India), and is on the Board of Trustees of the One Voice Movement.

Jim received his AB in Economics in 1976, cum laude, and his MBA from Harvard in 1978, where he was a Baker Scholar.