PreFlight is now PreLaunch!

Think entrepreneurship might play a role in your future?

Have an idea for a great new startup or non-profit?

About the PreLaunch Program

Formerly known as PreFlight, the Wond’ry offers a PreLaunch program for aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs. This course, centered around the Business Model Canvas and focused on customer discovery, offers participants an opportunity to determine whether an idea is truly novel and worth pursuing alongside a group of fellow inventors and creators. This program is offered free of charge to Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff and is limited to a maximum of 40 participants.

How to Determine if PreLaunch is Right for You:
PreLaunch is designed for members of the VU community that have an idea for a business or invention that is in the earliest stages of development. It may be an idea in your head or on a napkin, or you may be a little farther along and have put ideas to paper and recruited some friends, family members, or colleagues to assist. PreLaunch participants typically have not formed a business entity. Participants at this stage have not defined the customer segment they want to target and usually do not have a business plan, market analysis, etc. If you have any questions about whether you and your idea is best suited for PreLaunch vs. PostLaunch, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Wond’ry team at

The program is a total of 7 sessions. The first session will take place on September 26, 2018. The course will meet each Wednesday until November 14, 2018 (no meeting during Fall Break). Each participant will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a group of investors, entrepreneurs, faculty members, and Wond’ry staff for potential micro-grant funding and additional mentorship.

Time and Location:
Each session will take place from 4-6 pm at the Wond’ry on the 3rd floor.

Participants are required to attend all sessions of PreLaunch and conduct 15-20 customer interviews over the course of the 7 week program. Typically this program is oversubscribed and those that do not get in during a given semester are added to the top of the list for the following semester.

The application for the Fall 2018 cohort will open on August 22nd and remain open until September 19th. Applications are reviewed by an internal committee and those accepted will be notified by September 21st. Click here to apply online.

Course Outline

Session 1 (9/26): Orientation
In this session, we will provide an overview of the Wond’ry and the resources available to Vanderbilt inventors and entrepreneurs. CTTC will discuss the policies that govern inventions and products created at Vanderbilt and the process to engage with their office. Participants will introduce themselves and their ideas. The teaching team will provide an overview of the Business Model Canvas and preliminary information about microgrant funding opportunities.

Session 2 (10/3): Value Proposition Design
In this session, we take a deep dive into value propositions.

Session 3 (10/10): Conducting Customer Interviews- Techniques and Best Practices
In this session, we walk through best practices to prepare for, engage in, and learn from customer interviews. During the 6 week program, participants are expected to conduct 15-20 interviews with potential customers.

Session 4 (10/24): What is the Potential Market Size? Examining Customer Segments
In this session, we look at several different methods to profile and understand early adopters.

Session 5 (10/31): Perfecting Your Pitch- How to Present Your Idea
In this session, we discuss how to tell the story of your idea and both structure and present a convincing pitch.

Session 6 (11/7): Next Steps- Resources On and Off Campus
In this session, we discuss resources are available both on and off campus for pushing your idea forward after your PreLaunch journey concludes.

Session 7 (11/14): Pitch Night
Selected teams will be given the opportunity to present their ideas in a brief presentation to a panel of local investors and entrepreneurs. Winners of this Pitch Night will receive micro-grant funding of up to $2900. STEM-related ideas have the opportunity to pursue additional funding through the National I-Corps program (up to $50K).