How it works: DSV programme
Twice a year - January and July - we recruit 30 to 40 talented STEM background Founders and Executive Fellows with outstanding technical or commercial expertise in their fields.

We fund candidates for the first 3 months to brainstorm ideas, meet co-founders, engage with industry and explore viable business opportunities.

We then invest £30k for a 15% equity stake into those teams and projects that have proven commercial and technical viability of their ideas and continue to support their growth over the next 3 months.
Founders vs. Executive Fellows
Founders join the program on a full time basis, attending in person five days per week. They are the lifeblood of venture building process, driven by a desire to see their technical know-how applied to make a change in the world.
The majority of our Founders are post-grad scientists from across diverse technical domains, from medicinal chemistry to computing, eager to start their own company.

Executive Fellows join the program on a part time basis, attending in person at least one full day per week.
They are experienced industry, academic or self-employed professionals who wish to transition to starting a new venture but cannot take the leap without first getting to the point at which they can raise funding.

Find out more about who should apply and the application process here.
What to expect from DSV
Candidate selection
Candidate selection
The selection process
We review expressions of interest continuously, if you look like a good fit you will hear back from us within a couple of weeks. We'll then set up a quick call and if successful customise a more in-depth interview process around you, often helping you to work up a project of your own interest. Our selection process is unique in it's own right - learn more about it here.
Month 1
Month 1
Finding the people and ideas that inspire you
The first month is about quickly testing out lots of ideas with different people to find the best personality and skill fit. Both the programme team and industry experts will work closely with you (meeting 2-3 times a week) to help you find and explore opportunities. There will also be skill sharing sessions, talks with industry and entrepreneurs and insight from investors to help you shape your ideas.
Month 2
Month 2
Begin to settle on vision and start exploring viability
By this point you will have a broad idea of the big vision and a team that could work. You will be spending a lot of time out with potential customers and exploring the technical viability. Some teams try 10s of ideas, some teams hit on the right thing straight away.
Month 3
Month 3
Sense check the biggest risks
By now you will have ruled out several routes and will be beginning to focus down on a particular customer and technical plan. You will still be meeting with the DSV team several times a week and we will be continually introducing you to contacts that can help to get you to the next step as quickly as possible. We can provide access to labs to test technical risks and work with your university on any IP concerns.
Pre-seed investment
Pre-seed investment
Most viable ideas recieve backing to explore further
Exciting and potentially feasible ideas will receive a £30k pre-seed investment to build prototypes and get the proof points required for grant and seed funding. We'll also help you with the grant funding. At Imperial most teams brought in at least £200k non-dilutive funding and some as much as £2m.
Months 3-6
Months 3-6
Getting ready for seed
During this time you will be further de-risking the venture by creating proof of customer interest and technical feasibility, all whilst starting to talk to relevant investors and bringing expertise in to the team (both within our network and outside).
Beyond 6 months
Beyond 6 months
Growing beyond DSV
By this time you will be fairly independent and beginning to work with downstream investors. However we will always be available to help, from connections to sourcing talent.

Our focus is on opportunities emerging at the interface of science and engineering.

What happens when a computer scientist and a medicinal chemist get together to explore how to accelerate drug development? How about when a microbiologist and an architect investigate the bio-remediation of precious metals? Just two of hundreds of combinations that have already led to exciting ideas that would rarely happen organically.
Frequently Asked Questions
If it's not covered here feel free to drop us a line at or @deepsciventures
Do I need an idea / team / experience?
Absolutely not. We look for technically exceptional individuals that are the sort of people who have lots of ideas but haven't necessarily found the idea yet, or more importantly the right people to work with. Some real world commercial experience is helpful from the perspective of insight on opportunities, however the processes of starting up is a series of experiments, it's more like science than it is running a traditional business so academics are perfectly placed.
How do teams form?
Three main ways: firstly, through structured ideation around briefs, experts and challenges, from which teams will arise where a clear fit occurs. Secondly, we matchmake to help you explore ideas and interests that you have, meeting you twice a week to ensure the match works. Finally, you may decide to work with someone else in the cohort with whom you have a particularly strong affinity, with the idea arising from the skills profile of the partnership.
Is that really enough money for science?
The DSV process removes a large portion of the initial cost by a) having all of the expertise in the room to start - people are expensive, b) focusing on building protectable steps on existing research, not conducting open ended research, c) leveraging existing infrastructure and d) getting Founders far enough to leverage abundant grant funding which we typically find averages £200k and is often over £1m. This is one area where high-tech scientists have an advantage over web-tech.
How do you handle university IP?
We previously worked at Imperial's Technology Transfer office so we understand the complexities of IP within the university environment. We aren't focused on commercialising university IP, rather we expect you to develop new protectable IP on open work. However, some overlap is inevitable, where this is the case we will work with you and the relevant TTO to understand where ownership lies and how to move forward. Best to get in contact with specific questions.
Is 6 months really enough time?
In 6 months you will work up 10s of ideas, rapidly testing the riskiest aspects of the project's market and technical assumptions (if that sounds crazy read how Google does it). With this approach you can move very quickly as all of the input you need is easily within reach. We are not looking for perfectly rounded products and business plans, we are looking to invest in teams that have made exceptional progress, are aiming towards something really exciting and have what looks like a potentially viable way of starting even if the approach ends up changing in time.

Are there lab facilities?
We are currently building London's first shared wet co-lab facility with the aim of significantly lowering the barrier to entry for deep science companies. We are partnered with SynbiCITE who provide experimental design expertise, high throughput robot driven facilities and CRO capabilities. We also have links to a wide range of commercial and academic labs for specific experiments. The focus of DSV isn't on research, it's on finding a commercial need and a potential technical solution that builds on existing research.
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