Services offered under Founders Choice include:

  • Scene setting - Including letting you know about potential challenges, helping you to understand the rewards of forming a startup, and informing you of all the stakeholders at Imperial you will need to bring along with you.
  • Turning your idea into a business - Including assessing customers and markets, undertaking market research, identifying key target markets, helping you understand KPIs and formulating a market penetration plan
  • Business planning - Building a financial model, helping you prepare your business plan and providing specific advice on developing an IP strategy
  • Preparing for funding - Grant-funding support, pitching practice and investor pitch-deck, company valuation, capitalisation table and introductions to investors
  • Building the Startup Team - Including matching you to the right external mentors, providing external recruitment service and access to specialist firms and alternate sources of talent.
  • The startup process - Access to template documents for company formation; full consultation and support on process; access to vetted legal panel; specialist admin support; shell company formation (optional)
  • Building value in the startup - Provision of a board director to offer continued support and access to our networks; product/service development expertise; support for funding rounds; identification of experts and advisers; due diligence support; exit planning
  • Wider support - Guidance on working with the Imperial White City Incubator, support to find alternative office and laboratory space, and access to a range of training seminars provided under the Innovation Academy, along with external events
Activity suggested by Startups team for those participating in Founders Choice programmeEnhanced support (Jointly-Driven)Basic support (Founder-Driven)
Scene setting
Communicate potential challenges and rewards for scientific entrepreneurs embarking on an entrepreneurial journey Yes Yes
Ensure awareness of the various stakeholders within the Imperial entrepreneurial community and what will be expected in the startup process   Yes Yes
Provide initial assessment of potential customers and the size of the market so that all parties reach a common understanding of the key unique selling points (USPs) of the company/value proposition Yes No
Turning your idea into a business
Find credible sources of information for detailed customer/market analysis and undertake an iterative process of market and customer evaluation.  Yes No
Brainstorm to help determine the initial target markets, competitive advantage in those markets, and commercial rationale to test with customers Yes No
Identify key market metrics and impact on the business proposition Yes No
Undertake an iterative process of market and customer evaluation and formulate a technology marketing plan Yes No
 Planning the business
Build the financial modelling template that will underpin the business plan. This involves identification of input data and main KPIs of the company, and cross-checking these against the competition and available market data  Yes Yes
Help prepare the business plan including: interim goals and strategies, a three-year vision and identification of resources needed to reach business goals Yes Yes
Provide specific advice on developing an IP strategy for the startup  Yes Yes
Preparing for funding
Support founders in finding potential sources of grants and assist in writing bids. Imperial has built a relationship with an independent company that can provide specialist grant-writing support in exchange for a fee Yes Yes
Help to prepare an executive summary, public one-pager and investor presentation deck  Yes No
Assist with preparing and practising the pitch to investors. Usually this is an iterative process that may involve ‘friendly’ external feedback on the investment deck and pitch Yes Yes
Undertake initial company valuation exercise based on comparable market data, discounted cash flow analysis of future revenue streams, and experience and feedback from the investor network Yes  No
Prepare a share capitalisation table and model the impact of different investment scenarios on founders’ percentage ownership (dilution) Yes No
Provide an equity modelling tool to enable founders to see what the effect of different- sized future funding rounds and non-dilute provisions might be on a founder’s shareholding Yes Yes
Introducing founders’ company proposition to network of investors Yes Yes
Provide warm introductions to appropriate early-stage venture capital investors (VCs) and angel investors from extensive networks  Yes Yes
Building the startup team
Match founders to the right external mentors and domain expert consultants as needed. This support and access to Imperial’s networks will continue during the whole startup journey  Yes Yes
Provide low-cost external recruitment service for senior leaders and team members. Imperial has agreed a low-cost bespoke service for cash-constrained early-stage companies Yes Yes
Access to mentorship through the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS) Yes  Yes
Access to technology and market expert advice through the Imperial Technology Experts Service Scheme Yes Yes
The startup process
Provide access to a range of template legal documents (vetted by external legal firms) for company formation, licensing of IP and the investment process — including a tax-efficient HMRC-approved process for academic staff  Yes Yes
Provide access to a range of template subsidiary documents such as consultancy agreements and non-disclosure agreements, as needed Yes  Yes
Provide plain-English explanation of all aspects of the startup process and what to expect as the company grows and raises further funding. Imperial is available to discuss all aspects of the process in detail until founders are comfortable Yes No
Grant access to a panel of external legal firms who offer a fixed-price package to cover the company set-up and licensing process  Yes Yes
Offer specialist help to open a bank account Yes No
Provide ‘preferred suppliers’ list of specialist service providers used by our portfolio of startups (wide range of services from manufacturers to designers)  Yes Yes
Building value in the startup
Provide a board director offering continued support and access to the wider Imperial network as the company grows and faces commercial challenges. This may include guidance on running and documenting board meetings, regular review of the company strategy, and advice on corporate governance  Yes No
Offer product/service development. If needed Imperial will bring together the commercial experience needed to help founders address issues and answer questions from prospective customers and users  Yes No
Help founders identify experts and advisers who can advise on regulatory requirements and help founders overcome regulatory hurdles  Yes No
Provide continuous support in all aspects of successive funding rounds Yes No
Co-ordinate Due Diligence. Larger funding rounds will require a data room – Imperial will help founders outline the documents needed and review those from the prospective Investor to highlight any concerns in advance Yes No
Provide support in preparing for an exit (acquisition or IPO) process including engaging the right advisers and lawyers and working with founders on all aspects of the process Yes No
Wider support
Introduce founders to the Imperial White City Incubator (lab and office space or virtual tenancy)  Yes Yes
Support founders to find alternative locations if no space is available in the Imperial White City Incubator  Yes No
Provide access to a range of training seminars (for example roles and responsibilities of a director) under the Innovation Academy programme, and provide access to Imperial community networking events, workshops and seminars with other startups Yes Yes