We know that communicating your founder ability isn’t an easy task. To help you, we’ve outlined exactly what we look for in applications, so you can decide what you want to focus on in your application.

Challenges convention

Drive to achieve


Smart, with clarity of thought

Technical Knowledge, and Applicability or Commerciality

Our criteria shouldn’t be read as a checklist, and they’re not designed to select people out. It’s extremely rare for someone to score highly on every criteria.

We want people with a variety of backgrounds. We’re looking for outliers, who have done unusual things. Typically, our founders are particularly strong on a couple of criteria, but not all.

What do we mean by ‘Drive to Achieve’?

Building a startup is hard. We’re looking for people with a consistent track record of striving to achieve.

Many of our best founders have an internal drive to do more – whether that’s building an exceptional product or developing their skills to become the best at what they do. They have a bias to action, and a drive to build, create or grow.

Our best founders usually stand out from their peers. They tend to go beyond the path set out for them. What that means will depend on who you are – what’s easy for one person might require incredible drive from another, due to circumstances, culture, background and so on.

We’re looking for evidence that you’ve run through walls to make things happen and get stuff done. We don’t necessarily mean in your work or academia, it could be in sports, hobbies, competitive gaming, side projects, organisations you’ve founded etc.

How do you demonstrate a ‘Drive to Achieve’?

  • Share examples of when you’ve achieved something, against all odds.
  • Tell us about a time when you did something difficult or unpleasant in order to get something done.
  • Tell us about when you’ve persisted through significant barriers.
  • What unusual things have you done that none of your peers would have done?

As a strategy consultant, Amelie Quilichini (CEO, Kolibri) launched and deployed a B2B hardware venture for one of her corporate clients. Alongside her primary career, Amélie trained to become a fitness instructor, which helped her expand her skillset to softer skills. In addition, she continued to play the piano at a semi-professional level at a conservatory even during her studies to become an engineer.

An Economics graduate, Artur Begyan (CTO, Voltz) taught himself machine learning and most of the undergraduate maths curriculum so that he could successfully apply for a Master’s in Statistical Science at the University of Oxford.

Jacob Haddad (CEO, AccuRx) was student union president, set up a TEDx conference, was selected to be a first aid responder at the London Olympics, and got to the final of MasterChef, a top TV cooking show.

Up next