Welcome Incubator A Cohort!

Information for Students & Parents


Catapult Incubator C is around the corner, so to help you prepare, we will be making important announcements in the time leading up to the Incubator. Below you will find details about:

  • Prep work (updated as of June 11th)

  • Signing up for optional airport shuttles each week

  • Hotel check-ins

  • Program Schedule

  • What to pack

  • Venues

  • And more!

We will be revealing information bit by bit, so make sure to stay tuned!

Prep For the Catapult Incubator


Our goal is to get you all speaking the same startup language - so that when you arrive you know your MVPs from your BMCs and your pivots from your pitches.

We will be sending out prep work intermittently between now and day 1, along with other tips and inspirations to help make sure you get the most out of your QØ experience.

Prep Work 2

Prep Work  1



Must Do Prep (~4 Hours)

One of the key methods you will be learning at the Incubator is the ‘Customer Development’ method developed by Stanford professors and used by startups all over the world.  While we don’t have ‘text books’ a key book we recommend you pick up is the ‘Startup Owner’s Manual,’ which outlines the Customer Development method.  This will be a great resource for you during the incubator and afterwards as you put these methods into practice on your own and with new teams and ventures.

You can pick up a hard copy of the book here, or download a smaller .pdf with only this week’s required reading.

Optional Prep (0-20 Hours!)

Take a peek at this Inc article which lists 15 must see Netflix documentaries for aspiring entrepreneurs. For those of you lucky enough to be on summer vacation, go wild!

(~2 Hours)

At Quarter Zero you will use a blend of best practices from across the startup industry. One of the best thought leaders in the startup process produced a free online series that will get you in the right mindset for the Incubator: Lesson 1 & 2 at Udacity’s course How To Build a Startup. This is a perfect primer about the history of the startup process and why it even came into existence in the first place. The lessons are a series of 1-3 minute videos which you can breeze through in one sitting or watch a few at a time.

When you finish you should be able to fill in the blanks below:

  • Startups are not ___________________

  • Startup companies _______________, large companies _______________

  • No plan survives ___________________

  • Most startups fail from ______________

(0-20 Hours!)

One of the best podcasts around is called Startup by Gimlet. It follows the founder of a company called Gimlet in its first season and then tells the origin stories of many companies in season 3. The podcast is a great look inside the heads of the founders and first few employees of a startup. You will deal with many of the same obstacles and feel the exhilaration of success that these folks go through. We recommend starting with Season 1, Episode 1 - it’s perfect for a study break between AP and final exams. Most of you will probably devour season 1 - if that’s you, go on to season 3 for some of the most cool, unknown, stories of the startup world.

Stay tuned for the next round of prep work & our introduction to our group channel!

Get on Slack + Meet Your Cohort


Slack will be students’ primary communication tool for the duration of the Incubator. Slack is used frequently in the startup world & a great way to communicate with your venture, the cohort, and soon the QØ Alumni Ecosystem. Slack has its own startup success story which you can read about here. Please let us know ASAP if your access to Slack will be impaired before program start date!


Read all these directions before doing anything!


Getting Set Up

Download Slack onto the personal phone and laptop you will be using this summer.

This week students will be receiving an invite via email to join the Quarter Zero workspace. Once you accept, you will automatically be added to the ‘General’ channel which also includes all QØ alumni from years past.

You will also be added to a private channel called ‘2019_c_incubator’ which contains your specific cohort plus QØ staff.

Introducing Yourself by Friday, June 14

Once you join the Quarter Zero workspace there are a few things you need to do by Friday, June 14.

  1. Change your Avatar to a closely cropped picture so folks can see your face clearly and start to put faces with names

  2. Use your real name for your screen name

  3. Post a short bio about yourself in the Incubator A channel (less than 200 words). Keep in mind your audience for this: peers that are similarly interested in startups and entrepreneurship that are scattered across the country and world. Make it interesting and memorable!

Sample avatar profile!

Sample avatar profile!


Keep In Mind

A few things to keep in mind about the QØ Slack Workspace

  • All QØ alumni are also on Slack and are part of the ‘General’ channel. They have their own private ‘alumni’ channel that you will be added to after the program.

  • Please turn on notifications on your phone and computer for Slack. This is the main tool we will use to communicate during the summer.

  • You cannot delete messages, so think twice before posting anything. Please also take the time to review the Student Respect & Expectations contract that you signed where we set ground rules on respect, professionalism, and responsibility. (Click here to read the full Participation Agreement & Release.)

Program Schedule


One of the most common questions we get is, “What is a typical day in the Incubator?” The truth is, each day is vastly different. From masterclasses to active working time to special city activities to time with advisors or specialists to fireside chats...a lot happens! Nevertheless, we have structured every bit carefully to best help you learn how to launch a successful startup (and to have a life-changing experience along the way!)

Below is an outline of what you’ll be doing each day of the Incubator:

Silicon Valley: Customer Discovery

  • Monday:

    • Afternoon: Arrivals & Hotel Check-in

    • Evening: Welcome to the Incubator, Special Activity

  • Tuesday:

    • Morning: Authentic Relationships, Customer Discovery Phase 1: Business Model Canvas Introduction

    • Afternoon: Founder/Free Agent Exposition

    • Evening: Venture Team Formation, Special Activity: Sunset Cruise

  • Wednesday

    • Morning: Team Announcement, Business Model Canvas Deep Dive

    • Afternoon: Customer Segments, Value Proposition Canvas, Customer Discovery Phase 2: Problem Presentations

    • Evening: Customer Interviews & Team Dinners

  • Thursday

    • Morning: Update BMC, Value Proposition Testing

    • Afternoon: Advisor Introductions & Pairings, Customer Discovery Phase 3: Product Testing

    • Evening: Customer Interviews, Advisor Dinner, Special Activity

  • Friday

    • Morning: Preparing for Remote Weeks

    • Afternoon: Departure

Remote Weeks 1 & 2

*Tailored to Each Venture’s Development*

Customer Interviews

Advisor Meetings 1, 2, and 3

Customer Discovery Phase 4: Pivot or Proceed

Chicago: Customer Validation

  • Monday

    • Afternoon: Arrivals & Hotel Check-in

    • Evening: Team Presentations, Special Activity

  • Tuesday

    • Morning: Marketing and Branding

    • Afternoon: Company Positioning

    • Evening: Customer Validation Phase 1: Acquire Tests, Special Activity

  • Wednesday

    • Morning: Activate Tests

    • Afternoon: Competition Announcement

    • Evening: Competition Preparation, Special Activity

  • Thursday

    • Morning: Customer Validation Phase 2: Competition Kickoff

    • Afternoon: Compete!

    • Evening: Designer Calls, Advisor Calls, Special Activity

  • Friday

    • Morning: Preparing for Remote Weeks

    • Afternoon: Departure

Remote Week 3

*Tailored to Each Venture’s Development*

Customer Interviews

Advisor Meetings 5 and 6

Customer Validation Phase 2: Get Out and Sell

Demo Day Preparation

New York City: Storytelling

  • Monday

    • Afternoon: Arrivals & Hotel Check-in

    • Evening: Team Presentations, Special Activity

  • Tuesday

    • Morning: Storytelling Framework

    • Afternoon: Pitch Specialists Pairing, Pitch Creation

    • Evening: Full Pitchout 1

  • Wednesday

    • Morning: Storytelling Visuals

    • Afternoon: Judges Q&A

    • Evening: Demo Day Prep, Dress Rehearsal

  • Thursday

    • Morning: Demo Day Prep (Students Only)
      Afternoon: Demo Day (Parents Welcome)

  • Friday

    • Morning: Next Steps

    • Afternoon: Alumni Induction Ceremony


Packing & What To Expect

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What Do I Bring?

Beyond the standard stuff you would normally take when you travel, please bring the following each day:

What Should I Wear?

Feel free to dress comfortably & casually! Keep in mind that Quarter Zero is an opportunity for you to network with like-minded young entrepreneurs, advisors, and industry specialists.

We recommend packing mostly summer casual clothing and 1 business casual outfit.

For the San Francisco leg, we recommend packing warmer clothing as we’ll be in Fisherman’s Wharf and it gets chilly!

What Should I Expect For In-Person Weekends?

You’re about to embark on growing a legitimate business and will be operating in the real world where you’ll be treated as young adults and are expected to respond as such.

You can find the latest version of the schedule here & we’ll be revealing more details in our next email!

What Should I Expect For The Virtual Days?

Every team will be different but as an average expect to spend 20 hours during the four virtual days working actively with your venture team. This will include:

  • Daily or every-other-day team meeting (up to your team to decide)

  • One 90 min meeting per week with your Advisor

  • One 60 min meeting per week with your Community Team Member (CTM)


Airport Shuttles


Quarter Zero provides an airport shuttle for arrivals & departures that correspond with the program schedule. Please only sign up for the shuttle if your plans are confirmed & submit by the RSVP date.

If you do not sign up for the shuttle, we will assume you are organizing your own transportation (Ubers, taxis, or local airport shuttles) and will meet us directly at the hotel during check-in (4:00-5:30pm). Many students choose to organize their own transportation because they are traveling with a parent/friend, their flight time is too early, or they want to see the city. If students would like to connect with each other to organize transportation, the group channel will be the best option when it becomes available.


Arrivals: No Later Than 2:30pm

We suggest booking flights that land no later than 2:30pm local to allow enough time for a student to deplane, retrieve luggage, and walk to the meeting point which may be in a different terminal.


Departures: No Earlier Than 5:30pm

Sessions conclude at 2:30pm on Fridays. We suggest booking domestic flights that depart no earlier than 5:30pm and international flights no earlier than 7:00pm.

Shuttle Schedule & RSVPs

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San Francisco International Airport - SFO

Arrive: 6/24/19

Shuttle will depart airport at 3:30pm PST


Chicago O’Hare International Airport - ORD

Arrive: 7/15/19

Shuttle will depart airport at 3:30pm CST


John F. Kennedy International Airport - JFK

Arrive: 7/29/19

Shuttle will depart airport at 3:30pm EST

Depart: 6/28/19

Shuttle will depart program site at 2:30pm PST


Depart: 7/19/19

Shuttle will depart program site at 2:30pm CST


Depart: 8/2/19

Shuttle will depart program site at 2:30pm EST


Shuttle Guide

Double check if you have RSVP'd for the shuttle! Check the list here.

If you are on the arrival shuttle, we have created a handy Shuttle Guide that provides you exact details of which spot to meet us, who to look for, what to do if your flight is delayed, and more! In addition to that, you will be added to a group with QØ team members & other students on your shuttle to assist the group in communication on the day of travel. Students, make sure you have this downloaded (once available on this page) onto your phone ahead of time!

If you are on the departure shuttle, there's not too much to worry about since you'll already be with the program! We will be dropping students off at their respective terminals.

Please Note: Due to past issues of frequent changes & vendor charges, we have modified our airport shuttle policy this year. Because of the high volume of students & vendors we are working with this summer, please only sign up for the shuttle if your plans are confirmed. After the listed RSVP date, our team rents shuttles based off of confirmed numbers. Therefore, additions/cancellations cannot be accommodated. Cancellations after the RSVP date or no-shows on the day of the shuttle will incur a $15 cancellation charge.

Hotels, Check-Ins, and Departures