Innovation-Node Los Angeles (IN-LA)

LA’s Innovation Node

In late 2014, Caltech, in partnership with USC and UCLA, was awarded a three-year, $3.5M grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an innovation node in Los Angeles. The NSF's I-Corps program was created to help commercialize academic research, and focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills and knowledge in scientists and engineers by leading them through a curriculum based on the Lean Startup methodology. Caltech will offer I-Corps workshops throughout the year for interested students, post-docs, and faculty. See more:

Registration is now open for Innovation Node-Los Angeles's ZAP! courses at Caltech.  These 2-session courses will take place quarterly throughout the year.

ZAP! is based on the successful National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) methods of accelerating the translation of university engineering research to the marketplace. In 20 days you can qualify to apply for $50,000 in customer discovery grants from the NSF by completing IN-LA's ZAP and BOOM programs. If you complete ZAP!, you will be invited to IN-LA's Technology Scouting Workshop, as well as move forward in the IN-LA process toward eligibility for a $50,000 NSF I-Corps grant. 

It's really easy!  Here are the steps: 

Go to and enter "Caltech ZAP!":

  • 2 in-person sessions
  • Intro to the Business Model Canvas/Lean Startups
  • Deep technology teams are invited to continue with the NSF program
  • Before the first class, you'll be asked to fill in an attached two-slide template. Don't worry if you don't know all the terms – we'll teach them in our course – just give it a try.
  • In the first class, you'll learn about business terminology and more importantly, how to interview customers to understand their needs.
  • Interview 5 people in the week following the second session.
  • Tell us what you learned in the second session.

BOOM Follow-up to ZAP by invitation -please email to see if you qualify:

  • 2 online sessions
  • Learn more about the Business Model Canvas/Lean Startups
  • Complete 10 customer interviews
  • NSF I-Corps program overview

Upcoming 2017 Sessions - You do not need to be affiliated with hosting university to register @
Caltech ZAP!
November 10 & 17
October 27 & November 3
November 28 & December 6
BOOM (online)
November 10 & 17
December 13 & 20