Launchpad is home to fully resourced, innovative, high-performing elite teams ready to help your business solve any challenge.
Not only is this an opportunity for you to work with some of the freshest tech brains backed by one of the UK’s leading creative universities, it’s the chance to gain early access to emerging tech start-ups backed by a professionally built investment structure.
Becoming a strategic partner allows you to de-risk your innovation process while shaping a product or solution that solves a business challenge. You’ll be in good company with the likes of Amazon, Sony, and the BBC already benefiting from working with our teams.
If you want to be part of creating cutting-edge solutions that can help your business then contact one of the team from the award-winning Launchpad programme.
Either Launchpad staff approach Strategic Partners to discuss the Programme and what it is trying to achieve or, following awareness about the Launchpad programme, Strategic Partners approach the team to discuss their support or potential involvement.
This discussion between Launchpad staff and Strategic Partners will identify one or more potential challenges. Once identified and the basic idea is established, the Launchpad team will fully assess and evaluate the opportunity: market demand, chance of investment, commercial potential, skills required to deliver it, what can be delivered in the timescales (around 10 months) and what additional input would be required after that period to progress the solution further. Ideas/projects/opportunities that provide a clear commercial business opportunity will be accepted as a Launchpad challenge.
The Launchpad methodology reverses the traditional model of business incubation as it builds new companies in response to specific known market demand. This approach significantly reduces the high failure rates associated with conventional start-up and business incubation and support models.
Challenges must be based upon an identified real-world market opportunity; gaps in the market. By ensuring these opportunities are identified by individual industry partners it is possible to provide a high level ‘industry reference point’ for the teams throughout the first year as they develop a ‘solution’.
Challenges must be: real, investible and have scalability.
Challenges cannot: relate to a preconceived market opportunity that already has an identified solution or have pre-existing IPR, which would form part of the solution delivery (except licensed properties around which a unique product is built).
If a project is accepted as a Launchpad challenge it will become one of at least three challenges presented to each team of graduates. It is not possible to ensure that any challenge is selected by a team.
Much will depend on the teams’ own evaluation work and also the discussions they have with Industry Partners when they are recruited to the programme. At this point, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between Falmouth University and the Industry Partner. The MoU will seek to provide a clear framework for the engagement to take place.
What is the minimum level of engagement you expect from Strategic Partners? What type of engagement is required?
The level of engagement expected of a Strategic Partner will vary; however, there is a minimum engagement of two hours per month.Partners commit ‘time’ to promote their challenge and to help the teams understand the market they are operating in. They provide a high-level reference point for the teams throughout the first year, providing their knowledge and expertise.
There is a clear expectation that engagement with the team during the first couple of months will be essential. In the first instance this would be to explain the challenge (project brief) to the teams in more detail as a part of their due diligence and evaluation work, and second, if the challenge is accepted, a number of meetings to provide more detailed industry-specific information and market intelligence.
Thereafter the time required should be relatively minimal and will largely relate to providing feedback on the team’s ideas and solutions as part of the process leading to the development of a prototype or product.The method of communication will vary.
Experience suggests face-to-face contact at the start of the process is helpful, followed by online/telephone communication in the follow on stages.
Falmouth University, through the Launchpad Programme, provides all support framework required. It is designed to provide a full suite of facilities for incubating each team of graduates and their companies in an intensive hot-house environment providing full guidance, industry mentoring and support in all areas of business and project development.
In addition, all Launchpad students will undertake study to achieve a MSc Entrepreneurship.
The provision of a challenge does not require any up front financial commitment. The only input required is the time of a Strategic Partner.
Following completion of the prototype or project, a Strategic Partner may wish to invest in the company and there is an opportunity for this to occur.
Strategic Partners have a range of options at the point at which the student teams incorporate their businesses. These include the option to purchase IPR, to become a customer/supplier, to invest in the company, or to secure a period of exclusivity over the commercial product . They are also included in the wider marketing of the Launchpad Programme. Commercial terms will be developed with the project’s Commercialisation and Investment Manager.
Engaging as a Strategic Partner contributes to corporate social responsibility aims through support for the employment of graduates, creating new technology firms within the UK and encouraging growth within the economy.
Once a challenge has been accepted the Launchpad Team will work with Strategic Partners to establish a Memorandum of Understanding.
Launchpad is an innovative postgraduate incubation and acceleration programme. It is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Research England and Cornwall Council.