Solving National Security Issues with the Lean Launchpad

H4D 2021 Applications will open in January 2021 and close in February 2021.


Learn Lean Startup techniques for startup success and solve real problems.

Tackle complex problems critical to the government around national security, energy networks, cyber security, AI and invent new technologies with a team of engineers, scientists, MBAs, and policy experts. See a few of our success stories.

Application is by teams of four Stanford students from any school or department. Limited enrollment by application.

​To learn about the projects from last year’s class, take a look at Steve Blank’s post: “Hacking For Defense @ Stanford 2019”. Click for the video recording of the 2019 Final Presentations, with guest speaker Palmer Luckey.

Course Title

MS&E 297 Hacking for Defense: Solving National Security Issues with the Lean Launchpad


Admission is by teams of 4 Stanford students. Limited enrollment by application.

Course Schedule

Spring Quarter, 2020
Tuesdays @ 4:30PM

2020 TAs

Messages from our key leaders in National Defense

See more videos from our key leaders in national defense, including Former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Former Director of the CIA David Petraeus, Former Commander of United States Forces Korea Vincent Brooks, and more!

Success Stories

H4D 2019 Team: Learn to Win

Learn to Win initially focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of pilot training in conjunction with the team’s sponsors at Air Combat Command. The team won the national H4D pitch competition at Founders Fund, participated in H4X Labs, won a Direct to Phase II SBIR with the Air Force, won a Direct to Phase II SBIR with the Navy, and became the first-ever H4D team to win a Phase III SBIR in the fall of 2020. Powered by those funding streams, Learn to Win has been adopted in a diverse variety of unit-level and classroom training environments across the Navy and the Air Force.

H4D 2017 Team: Librarian

Team Librarian began as a part of the 2017 H4D cohort. During the course, the team identified their first customer which provided $70,000 in funding to develop their solution just three months later. After the class, Librarian formed a company in September 2017 and built their business with help from their Hacking For Defense mentors and instructors. Librarian has been featured as one of the top student startups at SXSW and built an enterprise chatbot.

H4D 2016 Team: Capella Space

Capella Space began as a part of the 2016 H4D cohort and quickly raised funding following the class. The company is “building the world’s largest commercial radar satellite constellation to gather the information you need to make informed decisions” by “building constellations of SAR satellites.” They raised initial capital shortly after the class and have now raised over $33.9M in funding. See their class video in the 2016 archive.

Past Standout Teams