Zen Launchpad Incubation Program FAQ

The Frequently Asked Questions below is a somewhat exhaustive list and should give you a good sense of the Zen Launchpad Incubation Program. If you have a question that is not answered below please feel free to email us at contact@zenlaunchpad.com.

What does the Zen Launchpad Incubator cost? There is no cost to participate in the Zen Launchpad Incubator but incubator companies must agree to give Zen Launchpad 5% of the equity of the company via a SAFE note. We use a standard YC SAFE, no discount, Canadian version. Please note that there are a variety of costs associated with Visa support so if you are planning to move to Canada as part of the Zen Launchpad program a variety of fees will apply which will not be covered by Zen Launchpad. These program fees for companies requiring visa support are detailed in the specific visa FAQs.

What is the application process for the Zen Launchpad Incubator and how long does it take to be accepted? The exact application process is detailed below but at a high level, the process is a very simple three-step application that can be completed in less than two weeks.

Step 1: Send your expression of interest to apply@zenlaunchpad.com. We will reply within five business days if you are a potential fit with a link to a more in-depth due diligence form. 

Step 2: Complete the in-depth due diligence form. We will reply within ten business days if you are a potential fit for the program with a link to schedule an interview. Note if you require visa support as part of the application you will be required to provide the required background information at this stage. Please consult the FAQ for the visa you are considering for exact details on what is required.

Step 3: All founders must attend an online interview conducted by one or more of our Partners or Executives in Residence. We will reply within a few business days if you are a fit for the program.

Step 4: Upon acceptance, you will have five business days to accept your place in the program and return the signed term sheet and SAFE agreement. 

How many companies are accepted to the Zen Launchpad Incubator program? The incubator runs four cohorts of up to twenty startups per cohort each year. The number of applications we receive varies dramatically but based on historical numbers roughly 2% of the companies that apply to the program will be accepted. To maximize your chances of acceptance make sure you provide all the requested information and be truthful about the current status of the company, nothing will derail an application faster than a founder who stretches the truth.

How long is the  Zen Launchpad Incubator? The Zen Launchpad Incubator has three distinct stages. The first stage is the incubator which is three months of full-time participation focused on building your company and product and achieving product market fit. The next nine-month stage is the acceleration stage where the Zen Launchpad team acts as advisors to help you grow your company and obtain sufficient capital to further grow your business. Beyond the first year, the Zen Launchpad team serves as ad hoc advisors and will be available to assist as needed.  

When do the cohorts run? The annual incubator cohorts are held on the following dates in 2024: Jan 15 - Apr 8, Apr 15 - Jul 4, Jul 8 - Sept 26, and Sept 30 - Dec 12. 

How many companies complete the  Zen Launchpad Incubator program? The brutal reality is that starting a company is a very high failure proposition. The completion rate of a given cohort varies but our target is to have 100% of companies complete the incubator stage of the program and more than 50% of companies complete the accelerator stage of the program. 

Is the program in-person? Ideally yes but if you are unable to travel to Vancouver Canada we offer a hybrid option that will allow you to participate remotely.

What happens if we need to pivot? Pivots are part of building a company and we are happy to continue to support you as your business evolves. 

Will Zen Launchpad invest in startups that did not complete the Zen Launchpad Incubator? Not generally but feel free to send your pitch deck to pitch@zenlaunchpad.com.

What sectors or types of companies do you support? We are broadly sector-agnostic and are open to evaluating any company and founding team.  Historically we have supported companies ranging from Medical device manufacturers all the way to SaaS FinTech. If after evaluating your application we determine that your business is solid but we cannot support you we will be more than happy to introduce you to an incubator that can. 

How many founders can join with a single company? We have a strong bias towards teams of three founders but are open to solo founders or partners. We will consider larger teams but in general, we do not think they are ideal.

Can I still apply and participate in the incubator if I have yet to establish my business? While our focus is on founders or founding teams that have at least some initial traction with their venture, if you’re an entrepreneur at the idea stage and are interested in developing a clearly defined Minimum Viable Product (MPV) and launch plan, you may be eligible.  Just start your application by emailing us at apply@zenlaunchpad.com and we will discuss how we can help get your business launched. 

Can you help me build my product outside of the incubator program? Absolutely. We have over a decade of experience in building innovative solutions. Take a look at our innovation page for details.

Does Zen Launchpad support the Canada Startup Visa? Yes. Zen Launchpad has a partnership with Spring Activator one of the most established Canada Startup visa-designated entities and as such can support founders moving from around the world to Canada. To learn more about the Canada Startup Visa and our partnership with Spring Activator please review the Canada Startup Visa FAQ.

Does Zen Launchpad support the United States O1 Exceptional Talent VisaNot at this time but we are working on it.

Does Zen Launchpad support the United Kingdom Startup Visa? Not at this time but we are working on it.