CS/YC Startup Spring 2017

CS/YC Startup

Based on the successful Y Combinator's How to Start a Startup, this class will teach you how to incorporate and run a startup to launch a product. Apply as a team to be a part of a prototype class to remove the mystery from starting a company, and to focus entirely on a tech product you're passionate about.

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More than a class

Learn about development frameworks and tech startup business practices by working as a team. You will learn by doing while getting help from experts and mentors. Learn from designing, coding, and selling your product to real customers. Learn business law, finances, marketing, sales, and customer relations.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning in this class is driven by focussing on incorporating a new startup to create a product based on an idea that solves a problem. We will spend more than half of the class meetings on individual attention to team progress. The other half of the class meetings consist of talks by experts, tech startup founders, videos, and lectures by instructors on various topics related to running a tech startup business, including programming and software development frameworks.

Apply as a team

Teams should apply together. Apply if you have a team in place and a product in mind. Teams of three to four are probably best. A successful startup requires team organization. A great team should include at least one non-CS major junior or senior FSU student. If you nearly have a team in place, and want to meet other students who are looking for a team (or vice versa), you might want to check out Technole for help. For this year, you'll need to apply as a group or as an individual looking to join a team, by the December 9 deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be considered if teams contact the instructor by email before January 6.

Minimum viable product (MVP)

We will focus on building MVPs that a small team can implement and launch in a few months. A web site and/or mobile app will be the norm. A mobile app can be native or hybrid. A great MVP should solve a problem. But it does not have to be the next Google. Every team will have their product launched and be able to acquire customers. Remember that if you aren't embarrassed by your MVP you launched too late!

Materials, resources, and assignments

Course materials and resources are freely available online. No textbook is required. Course assignments will be designed to apply to any company, with enough flexibility to ensure that you are always working on things that make sense for your business.

Lectures and talks

We meet twice a week in the Spring 2017 semester on Tuesday and Thursday at 5:15pm for one hour or up to 90 minutes in HCB 308. Usually one meeting is a "normal" class to work on your MVP and report progress, and the other is a guest lecture. We are assembling a group of great speakers for our guest lectures:

  • Emily Moorehouse and Frank Valcarcel of CuttleSoft - how to start a tech startup
  • Damon Snyder of Fandom powered by Wikia - understanding startups, hiring/joining & choosing a winning technology
  • Lucas Lindsey of Domi Station - startup incubators and co-working spaces
  • John Vecchio - angel investors and venture capital firms
  • Jake Kiker - legal matters for startups
  • Adrian Nistor - software engineering & tackling the impossible
  • ... more to come ...


This course is recognized by Y-Combinator as a Y-Combinator startup course. Awards (likely in the form of gift cards from YC) will be given to every team participating in CS/YC Startup!


Please contact Robert van Engelen engelen@cs.fsu.edu.

See also Innovation and Entrepreneurship at FSU and TechNole.