Startup Bootcamp

Learn how to take your idea from zero to startup in ninety days

Sept. 5th - Dec. 5th 2017

Applications are open from June 19th to July 31st. Decisions will be made by August 11th.

Follow Along with the Bootcamp

To learn more about the program, check out The Bootcamp Blog



At the PSL bootcamp you'll learn the fundamental elements of starting a business and get a chance to experiment and receive instant feedback from Philly's best startup minds like Keith Gornish (SmartyPal),Taryn Cahill (CurrenC), Ted Mann (Slyce/SnipSnap) and others.

Each week participants will be given a different framework for tackling different parts of the startup puzzle. You will prepare for the session by doing reading or research and will follow up with assignments that you will present the next week. Local startup leaders will teach the frameworks, share their experiences and help you put it into practice.

This training program will help you gain the skills you'll need to join or launch your own business. We're looking for ambitious, self driven people who are committed to their personal growth and to the completion of the program. Students, recent grads or experienced professionals are welcome!

Cost: $250


The Curtis Center
601 Walnut Street
Benjamin's Desk - 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Questions? Contact us at

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Bootcamp Curriculum

Finding a Problem You're Passionate About

Segment 1 - Sept. 5th & Sept. 12th

Segment Info

During his epic 2011 Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs told students "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." For those who wish to take the leap into entrepreneurship, finding something that ignites your fire and passion is the ideal way to start on your journey to building a successful business. But how do you identify these passions?

Panel Members

Ideation and Vision, Market Research

Segment 2 - Sept. 26th & Oct. 3rd

Segment Info

Ideation and vision isn’t just about saying you have a great idea; it’s about knowing you have a great idea! But how do you know? Startup ideas are educated guesses. But what if your guess is wrong? You must teach yourself to think big and often. And you must teach yourself to be intellectually honest about the merits and market potential of each idea before you invest weeks, months, or years pursuing it. In this segment you will learn a framework for brainstorming and assessing your idea, as well as performing intelligent market research, to set the stage for all that is to come.

Lean Thinking

Segment 3 - Oct. 10th & Oct. 17th

Segment Info

Lean thinking is a method for developing businesses and products first proposed in 2008 by Eric Ries. Based on his previous experience working in several U.S. startups, Ries claims that startups can shorten their product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and what he calls validated learning. Ries' overall claim is that if startups invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, they can reduce the market risks and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches and failures. Originally developed with high-tech companies in mind, the lean thinking philosophy has since been expanded to apply to any individual, team, or company looking to introduce new products or services into the market.

Closing Your First 10 Customers / Gaining Traction

Segment 4 - Oct. 24th & Nov. 7th

Segment Info

Landing your first ten customers is one of the most difficult milestones any company must meet in its quest for success. And meeting this milestone is simply one step towards gaining traction, some clearly identifiable momentum and progress. Entrepreneurs' attention is nearly always stretched, very often shifting focus to the most urgent project rather than most important. Furthermore, many entrepreneurs believe adoption will come easily if they've built a high quality product. However, this is less than straightforward. There are specific frameworks that can be used to assess various traction channels and evaluate which one fits best. During this session you will be exposed to these frameworks as well as hear strategies for landing those first few critical customers.

Mapping the Product

Segment 5 - Nov. 14th & Nov. 21st

Segment Info

By this point in the bootcamp our theme is becoming very clear: data leads decision making! Mapping the Product is our first venture towards creating a "real" product. The goal of this segment is to learn to translate your idea and the market feedback you’ve gathered into a product that will provide just the essential features, a true MVP (minimum viable product), necessary to gather a new set of data points that will bring us closer to a market validated product. In this segment you will learn an iterative process for moving efficiently from idea to validated product. Topics include test-driven design, high-level UI/UX, prototyping tools, and product design.

Building a Business Model and an MVP

Segment 6 - Nov. 28th

Segment Info

Can your business make money and become profitable? This is perhaps the most critically important question an entrepreneur must ask. There are strategies and tactics to become profitable, just like there are strategies and tactics to maximize profits. A business model with its related financial plan describes how an organization creates, delivers and captures value. This, in turn, drives your cash flow. Ultimately, building and relying on a good business model is one of the keys to the success of any venture. In this session, you will build the first iteration of your business model and related financial model. You will understand a business model and complete each of the nine building blocks for your business, build your first iteration and complete your first financial model using the business model canvas, and run through the checklist for a crystal clear business model.

Final Group Presentations

Presentation - Dec. 5th

Segment Info

The culmination of all of your hard work; your moment of truth! It’s time to validate the business idea your team has been working on over the last 90 days. In this final session of PSL Bootcamp, you will present your business model “pitch-style” to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs.