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Entrepreneur First for Postgraduates

​Maximise the impact of your research

You’ve spent the past few years making an original contribution to your field. You’re well-versed in the literature and cutting-edge technology in your area of expertise. Now what?

Why start a company?

Turning your research into a company is one of the few career options where you are the one deciding what you're working on and still have an impact on the world.  Staying in academia will allow you to continue working in your field of interest, but the reach of your work will be limited to the scientific community & the resources at your disposal are limited. Large tech corporates can give you access to more data, more distribution channels and more resources, but it's likely that you'll have to work on someone else's pet project. Creating a startup allows you to continue to dive deep into technology without compromising on impact. 

Be it applying your research or using the skills you've honed over your postgraduate career, building a startup enables you to harnesses your academic edge and find deep tech solutions to real problems.

Where do I find a co-founder? How do I meet investors? How do I commercialise?

This is why EF exists.

Finding a co-founder and investment are two of the most significant challenges facing potential founders. EF’s six month programme brings together the world's top technical individuals who want to be founders and helps them build investable startups.  The programme culminates in our Demo Day that convenes 200+ of the world's top investors and opens fundraising conversations for our startups.

Our Partners (exited tech entrepreneurs) guide you through the process of applying your research in the commercial sphere, helping you navigate the waters of IP & patents.  Additionally our extensive network of legal professionals can assist you further if the time comes. For example we facilitated Tractable in rolling out their innovative computer vision product.


What if I need more than six months to build what I want to build?

To support you on the technical side, we are lucky to have some of the world's leading academics on board. These include Zoubin Ghahramani, head of the Machine Learning department at the University of Cambridge, and Phil Blunsom, who is an Oxford professor whose  company was acquired by Google's Deepmind. If you're looking to build a deep tech company, we'd love to see how we can help. 

Zehan Wang

Zehan finished his PhD at Imperial College London with the Medical Image Processing Group. Zehan and his cofounder Rob started Magic Pony Technology straight after Zehan had his viva. They've developed a new form of video compression using Machine Learning, and were recently acquired by Twitter for a reported $150million.

"I found that the hardest part about transferring from PhD to startup was not having a fixed goal. The main difference is that you're working toward moving goal posts, rather than something fixed like a dissertation. Having a co-founder to provide moral support and help maintain focus when it all seems to be going wrong has made such a difference in how I approach work."

Vivian Chan

Vivian completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. Sparrho is a recommendation engine for scientists that aggregates content from thousands of sources to update users’ newsfeeds with personalized suggestions.

"I encountered a problem that many researchers can sympathise with: how to stay on top of the relevant literature? Although I experimented with a few ideas before EF, it was here that I decided to pursue a solution to this problem with my co-founder, Nilu. While doing my PhD, I worked within a research group with a strong network of peers, which provided me with a knowledgeable sounding board for ideas and modelled the professional and critical dynamic I wanted  and found with a co-founder."

Alesis Novik

Alesis paused his PhD at the University of Edinburgh to join EF where he met his co-founder Andrius and built AimBrain, whose first product is a biometric security layer that can be used with any mobile data-sensitive application.

"I was drawn to startups because they offered a chance to apply my skills practically rather than purely theoretically. There is a real difference in  the way you learn and store knowledge when you run your own startup compared to when studying for a PhD. While a PhD is a deep exploration with a very specific scope, building a startup requires much more breadth and, in some cases, requires a much steeper learning curve. Which makes the process both challenging and rewarding."

Apply now