Become a Founder
Do you want to build your own high-growth digital startup?

Launchpad is an exclusive opportunity for software engineers, digital creatives and business developers. Work on real industry challenges with leading businesses supported by experienced coaches and mentors to help create an in-demand, cutting edge solution that investors want to buy into.

Receive £16k tax-free and study for a no-fees Masters to support and equip you on your startup journey.

Programme structure

Here’s how our elite, life changing, creative programme works.

  1. Become part of a team of specialists
    When you join Launchpad, you will be placed into a team of four. Your team will be made up of a group of people with complementary skills and personalities, specifically designed to be able to form into a high-performance team.
  2. Select a challenge from industry partners
    Your team will be presented with three challenges. Each of these challenges represents a market opportunity; a space where there is a need with commercial value that has not been met. You will need to answer two key questions about each challenge; “Is there a real market need?” and “Can a solution be delivered profitably?”. This initial market research phase takes around three months – by the end of it you will select the challenge that your company will take.
  3. Demonstrate your solution
    In the next phase, you will build the prototype, or minimum viable product, to demonstrate that your solution will work. Alongside the development of the product the business will continue to take shape, with the crafting of investor pitches and the initiation of key commercial relationships. This phase lasts around 8 months.
  4. Develop business plans, and incorporate
    As your product becomes a reality, so you develop a business plan around it. Towards the end of the year, your company is incorporated to be ready for the next stage.
  5. Seek investment
    Finally, you will reach the point where you start to negotiate in earnest with potential investors. At the end of the programme you will be incorporating a company, and unless you in the rare position of immediately having revenue to support the company out of the gate, then you will seek investment to support the ongoing work.
  6. Accelerate
    In your second year, after you have graduated, you will finalise investment plans, and the acceleration phase will begin. Launchpad companies are supplied with general infrastructure for the first year following incorporation, consisting of space in the Launchpad building, along with the attendant office facilities. During this time and afterwards, Falmouth University remains an active investor in your company.
  7. Academic programme – MA in Entrepreneurship
    The MA in Entrepreneurship is in place to support the effective development of your business, providing a rigorous training ground in which to grow as an entrepreneur. Find out more

 

How to Apply

Applications are open for a September 2018 start.

 

 

Need more information before applying?

Financial support

  • Year 1: you are provided with £16k tax free, divided into monthly installments, your business costs are met, and your MA fees are waived.
  • Year 2: You will be funded through the investment that you raise towards the end of year 1. Your business is provided with high quality workspace at low-cost rates, just downstairs from the incubation teams going through year 1

Commitment

  • This is a high-commitment programme.
  • Launchpad starts with a full 12-month incubation. It’s harder than a 9-5 job; you’ll be pushed hard and expected to learn constantly. We invest heavily in you and your business, and we expect that you do too.

How to apply

Applications are open for a September 2018 start.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the entry requirements?

    The academic entry requirements are a 2.1 in a relevant subject, or equivalent experience in your field. The qualification for “relevant subject” is a STEM subject if you are applying as a developer, a digital arts subject if you are applying as an artist, or business degree if you are applying as an entrepreneur. If your degree doesn’t tie up with one of these categories, but you nonetheless believe that you would make a good candidate for the programme then please apply with a clear justification in your personal statement. If you do not hold a degree but have equivalent experience then please apply, again with clear justification in your personal statement. All applicants must be EU citizens.
  • What support is available?
    Nationally, Falmouth University ranks second for the campus environment and third for student welfare (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017). During your first year, you will be a student of the University with all of the support services and wrap-around that this provides.For a cohort of 60 students (September 2018) we have a dedicated studio staff team of 7, who operate along with several academic staff to deliver the programme. However, these people are also your gateway to the significant support available through the university – the professionals who regularly perform the kinds of tasks that you will be involved with; business planning, designing products, rigorously performing due diligence on business opportunities. 
  • What kind of product might I be working on?
    The programme aligns itself with Cornwall’s wider goals and areas of expertise; these being Digital Economy, Marine-tech, Agri-tech, Aerospace and E-Health/Wellbeing.This means that the opportunities are wide – not simply focussed on one area. We have industry partners ranging from Amazon Web Services across to Cornwall Food and Drink, out to Sony Entertainment, and even Pendennis Shipyards, an award-winning superyacht company. The NHS and charities partner with us in the health area, and Goonhilly Earth Station (among others) provides challenges in the aerospace arena. What is more, these industry partners present problems, not solutions; you are tasked to find the solution.View our industry partners
  • Do I get to choose who to work with?
    No. We have a careful recruitment process making use of the significant experience on the studio team and across the university in recruiting effective individuals into high-performance teams.Through the process we build teams that have complimentary skills, and complimentary personalities. These skills and personalities are also considered as we determine which industry challenges are posed to each team.Once you are placed together as teams, we work with you to build effective team dynamics and working practices, and resolve any emergent issues as they arise.
  • How does the equity split work?
    Once you reach the end of the first year, and you incorporate a company, the default equity split is 24.9% for Falmouth University, and 18.75% per team member. However, it is likely that, at your team’s discretion, your equity will be partly diluted by investors and options for early employees.
  • What is my time commitment?
    Every student on the programme commits to a minimum of a 35-hour working week. The programme is a complete 12-month programme – any holidays are in negotiation with your team, and need to be aware of the fact that you are building a startup company through the programme. The expectation is that you will take less than 25 days holiday through the programme, in line with UK private company norms. Holiday is highly discouraged during the first 3 months of the programme, to avoid hindering team formation
  • Can you provide more details on the MA Entrepreneurship academic programme?
  • What happens after year 2?
    After the acceleration phase, you will find office space around Cornwall, and continue to grow your company, with Falmouth University as an active investor and your cohort (and other tech companies in Cornwall) in your local network. The terms of the programme require that the companies remain headquartered and incorporated in Cornwall for five years after incorporation. Although this doesn’t entirely preclude the directors living elsewhere, you and your investors will naturally want to ensure that such an arrangement will be in the best interests of your company.