About the programme
Techcelerate is a programme run by Imperial’s Enterprise department which aims to support researchers to create impact through commercialising research. Since 2018, 34 early career researchers have benefited from the programme and have raised over £4.8 million in investment and grants, providing employment and opportunities.
This year, we’ve redesigned the programme to suit the changing world and support as many researchers as possible to make real-world impact.
The New Techcelerate
Techcelerate Validate will continue to provide its participants with the training and resources to conduct customer discovery.
Participants will be trained to gain detailed understanding of the particular pain-points of a market in order to establish market need and will be given the resources to do this. Standard convention dictates that 60-100 customer/stakeholder interviews are necessary for an understanding of market need.
What’s new this year?
Online Learning Experience
Over the past year, Enterprise has been working on making our programmes more flexible and efficient while still giving you the best opportunities entrepreneurial education and venture creation.
Together with an online learning specialist, we developed a set of modules which will take you through the basics of finding customers, speaking to those customers and designing business experiments.
The online modules mean that you can fit your learning and work on customer discovery around your work and take it at your own pace.
Supporting more researchers
Not only will we be supporting triple the number of researchers by running three cohorts throughout the year, but we’ll also be opening the programme up to a wider range of researchers across the College. People who fall into these groups are eligible:
- Imperial College Research Staff
- Early career researchers
- Principal Investigators
- Late-stage PhD students who will either be at or employed by the College for the duration of the programme
All applicants will need to obtain permission from their respective Heads of Department.
"Customer discovery: a process of market validation whereby the participant creates a customer need hypothesis and identifies and interviews potential customers to validate or invalidate that hypotheses. Ventures that identify market need are likely to create deeper, lasting impact and survive long-term"
As part of the programme, participants will be given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of technology translation and industry experts, (including investors) for advice and funding to conduct customer discovery relevant to your own venture
Participants will have three opportunities to do this over the duration of the programme, with a slightly different panel each time.
Techcelerate runs over a three-month period. This year the programme will be split into orientation and two main parts, described below:
Pre-programme introduction to lean startup methodology and the programme to give participants time to prepare. Will include one day of contact time, plus preparation time.
Participants go through the online learning content and attend 3 complimentary sessions where they can work on their venture or project. They’ll also prepare for the next phase of the programme. About 15-20 hours of contact time, plus your own work on customer discovery.
Months 2 & 3
Each participant will do customer discovery in their own time, with regular half-day pitching sessions and 1:1 coaching sessions. About 15-20 hours of contact time, plus work on customer discovery.
The next cohort will run from January to April in 2021, with another following in June. While we don’t expect that participants will work full-time on the programme, they will receive the most value when they’re motivated to learn as much as possible and take full advantage of the opportunity. Specific session dates will be published on the application.
A full list of dates will be given on our application form.