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Moxie Center

The Moxie Incubator

The Moxie Incubator provides workspace, tools and equipment in two lab facilities. The Incubator Program includes availability of advisors, including corporate and intellectual property law, marketing, manufacturing and design, as well as student and faculty advisors in engineering. The program requires participation in a Lean Startup educational program, which begins prior to admission.

If you are not sure how to begin, or just want to discuss your project before applying, we encourage you to meet with us informally to help in formulating your project plan and application. Just send an email to the Center with a few potential meeting times.

Moxie Center A: CSE B210

Moxie Center B: EBU2 333


Incubator admission is open to teams of UCSD students; we encourage cross-functional teams, since any business requires a wide variety of skills. All undergrads are welcome, as are any graduate students who are working on their own (not UCSD) technology. Admission is based on a project proposal described in the application, along with a preliminary Business Model Canvas.

A startup is a team effort, so it is advisable to begin with a diverse team with the different skills you'll need.  We can provide help in recruiting partners early in your process.
The Moxie Center uses aspects of both the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Model and the Lean Launchpad Model. The prerequisites to submitting an application are:

  • Read the first 72 pages of "Business Model Generation" by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, which is available for free download here.
  • Read Talking with Humans, about customer interviewing, available free at
  • Register with and view at least Lessons 1-3 of the free course "How to Build a Startup" by Steve Blank.
  • Following the process in the course, prepare a first version of your Business Model Canvas (a powerpoint template is available here), with particular emphasis on the Value Proposition Canvas []. This will require that you "get out of the building" to speak with potential customers in person, to get some feedback on your initial hypotheses toward your value proposition and Minimum Viable Product (MVP). You need to have spoken to enough customers in each segment to get some basic information on your hypotheses.

Having completed the prerequisites, teams may apply to the Moxie Center Incubator at any time by submitting an application. You will be asked for a description of the idea and how it could lead to a commercially viable product that better solves a customer segment's problem. In addition to your Business Model Canvas, we'll ask you to provide an estimate of the resources required to build a functional prototype and to do your Customer Development process. We can help you with these if you want.

Applications are evaluated by a review panel, made up of Moxie Center staff, Jacobs School faculty, and outside advisors. The panel will recommend whether the applicant should be admitted to the program. Financial awards will be made by the Moxie Center to purchase materials or services outlined in the project plan, following completion of the Customer Development course described below. Moxie Center legal advisors will also provide admitted startup teams with limited pro bono services as appropriate, and other advisors will be available with expertise in a variety of business areas, including marketing, branding, manufacturing, retailing, etc.

Upon admission, students sign a Participant Agreement accepting the Center rules, including policies on confidentiality, security, and safety.


Incubator Program

Once admitted to the Incubator, startup teams will be expected to make progress on their business model development as well as their prototype product, in accordance with the project plan. If the team has not attended an acceptable class that includes Customer Development / Primary Customer Research, they will be required to complete the next available Entrepreneur’s Academy class. Acceptable classes include Entrepreneur’s Academy, I-Corps, MGT 121A, MAE 154, and others that may be approved by the Executive Director.

An online teamwork tool will be provided for teams to document their work and communicate internally, and with staff and advisors.

Teams will have 24/7 access to Moxie Center facilities according to the rules in the Participation Agreement. All participants are required to complete Lab Safety Training before using the Incubator facilities. See below for general requirements. In addition, students who wish to use certain equipment will be required to submit specific training certification.

All teams in the Incubator may compete for the annual Zahn Prize. This competition, open only to Incubator teams, awards up to $20,000 to winning startups to further their projects. Named for Irwin Zahn, founder of the Moxie Foundation, the Zahn Prize competition is held each spring quarter. The competition, with judges from the San Diego business community, is based on Business Model Canvas presentations.

Lab Safety Training

At UC San Diego, all laboratory workers are required to complete two web-based courses on UC Learning Center to meet UCSD's basic lab safety training requirement:

Additional training requirements may apply. Worker, as defined in the UC policy, is an individual who actively performs work functions with hazardous materials or equipment in a laboratory/technical area. A “worker” may be faculty, staff, student volunteer assisting in a non-academic class, or visitor/visiting scholar. Read the UC policy: Laboratory Safety Training

To Complete Lab Safety Training:

    1. Click the link to the course(s) above and sign on using your UCSD login
    2. Complete the course
    3. Print out a certificate
    4. Turn in the certificate to the Moxie Center Administrator
    5. Take the refresher training as needed

* Expiration dates: San Diego County regulations require training annually – not 12 months from date of completion. Your annual training can be completed anytime this year, regardless of last year's expiration date.

If you need help navigating the UC Learning Center site take a look at their FAQ