Founders Choice is Imperial’s staff startup programme. It allows researchers to choose the support level that is right for them and their startup.

Academic inventors at Imperial are part of a mature entrepreneurial ecosystem. Many have experience of forming and building businesses. Others have personal networks that can support the creation and management of startup companies.

Staff with this experience may not require substantial levels of support from Imperial’s Startup Team to set up their company. They will be able to handle many aspects of the startup journey themselves.

Founders Choice allows researchers who believe they will be able to find the resources, finance and expertise to make their startup successful to pursue this option. Researchers who think they will need more substantive support can still access this through Imperial’s Startup Team.

Your options under Founders Choice

Founders of Imperial startup companies may select between two options under Founders Choice, each of which offers different levels of support from Imperial’s Startup Team:

Founder Driven Route

Under the Founder Driven route, startup founders take responsibility for key aspects of company development. The Startup Team provides a basic level of support. University founding equity is 5%  10% and is un-diluted up to a cumulative investment cap between £3m and £15m.  The range is reflective of the range of sectors at Imperial and allows the special circumstances of the startup to be taken into account.

Jointly Driven Route

Imperial’s Startup Team provides an enhanced support package, in which founders benefit from the team’s resources, networks and experience in founding startups.

Support documents and guidance

We have tried to supply sufficient information on these web-pages to allow you to understand and consider the Founders Choice pilot programme. However, you may also find these supporting documents (PDF / Excel) useful.

  • Founders Choice Mini Guide - 2021‌ - A PDF download of our mini-guide to the Founders Choice programme. Contains information on the Founder Driven and Jointly Driven routes and a summary of support received under both options
  • Imperial College London guidance - Visit the Imperial College London Research Office’s website for information they have provided on the Founders Choice progamme
  • Services comparison - A PDF download comparing services received under the Jointly Driven and Founder Driven routes in Founders Choice
  • Equity modelling tool - An Excel spreadsheet containing a tool enabling founders to explore a range of starting equity positions at foundation and through a number of funding rounds
  • Preferred Suppliers Brochure - A document containing information on the Imperial Startup Team’s preferred suppliers
  • A founder’s guide to spinouts - second edition  - A comprehensive guide to founding a startup at Imperial College London. This guide is intended for all academic founders, regardless of the level of support they opt for under Founders Choice
  • Founders FAQ - Frequently asked questions about founding startups and Founders Choice
  • Guide to allocating equity in startups  - Guidance on factors to consider when allocating founding equity among startup founders.
  • Licensing IP to a College startup - An overview of the process of licensing Imperial IP to a staff startup.
  • Licensing glossary - A guide to common words and phrases found in licensing agreements.