CS/YC Startup Spring 2018

More than a class

Learn about development frameworks and tech startup business practices by working as a team. You will learn by doing. 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 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.

Apply as a team

Teams are encouraged to apply together as a team. Teams of three to four members is recommended. A successful startup requires team organization. Diversity in your team helps to solve different challenges in technology, design, marketing and in business planning. Since you will work on a Web-based app (an MVP) as a team, it is recommended that you have one or more team members who are familiar with Web programming or scripting. Make sure to apply as a group or as an individual looking to join a team, by the December 15 deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be considered if teams contact the instructor by email before January 5. 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.

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.

Intended audience

It is recommended that you, or at least one or more of your team members, are from familiar with Web programming or scripting. Basically, junior and senior majors of all disciplines (CS and non-CS majors) are welcome to apply!


The course officially counts as 3 credit hours, but students are permitted to sign up for 1 or 2 credit hours.

Lectures and talks

We meet twice a week in the Spring 2018 semester on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30am to 10:45am in LOV 301. A "normal" class has a 30 to 45 minute lecture or guest talk followed by time to work on your MVP and report progress. We are assembling a group of great speakers for our guest lectures (TBA).

Recognition and awards!

This course is recognized by Y-Combinator as a Y-Combinator startup course! Teams who are serious to bring an MVP to production and gain customers can look forward to receive awards by Y-Combinator.


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

See also Innovation and Entrepreneurship at FSU and TechNole.