Looking for subject-specific advice? We have over 90 experts from every corner of the startup world. From IP to legal, design to investment, whatever your need or knowledge gap, we've got the right expert for you.

What’s Experts-in-Residence?

The question ought to be – Who are the experts in residence?

And the answer is a group of advisors with tons of real-life startup experience ready to pass on their knowledge, answer your questions and help you develop your understanding and confidence. Here are the main subject areas our experts cover:

  • Commercialisation
  • Idea Development
  • Legal & Compliance
  • Pitching & Selling 
  • Marketing & Communication 
  • People Management  

Who is it for?

Experts-in-Residence is available to all Imperial students and alumni (provided you have graduated within the last three years), but you need to have attended an Idea Surgery and shown us that you’d benefit from some expert advice to take your idea or business forward.

Some subjects will only be useful at a specific stage of your startup’s development. For example, most businesses need legal and IP expert advice at a very early stage, but PR and Sales can wait until you’re further along your journey.

To be eligible for Experts-in-Residence you must:

Be an Imperial student or alum (must’ve graduated within the last three years) with a business idea

Have recently attended an Idea Surgery and received approval for coaching or advice

Have demonstrated that you’d benefit from expert advice in a specific area

How do they work?

Experts-in-Residence sessions are one-to-one sessions (that’s you/you and your team) where we pair you up with an expert who can help you with a specific objective or problem, or give you some advice to help broaden your knowledge. 

Once we’ve identified that you’d benefit from meeting an expert or several experts, we’ll email you with details of their availability so you can book your slot. You’ll also need to provide a short explanation of what you’d specifically like help with. Once we’ve received your booking, we’ll email you confirming your slot, so you know you’re good to go.

Sessions are generally 30-45 minutes long and are totally confidential.

When do sessions happen?

We run sessions throughout the academic year.

Meet some of our experts

Business Coaching

Amanda You Headshot
Janet Murray

Business Coach Expert-in-Residence
Janet is an inspirational business coach with over twenty year’s experience in both the corporate world and as a successful entrepreneur. Her coaching has taken her from coaching future leaders at the UN Youth Assembly in New York on climate change innovation, coaching Forbes 30 Under 30, to mentoring and coaching on leading science and health accelerators and innovation programmes across Europe. 

David Pollington Headshot
Peter Haycocks

Business Coach Expert-in-Residence

Seasoned business coach Peter has a passion that combines his training as a measurement physicist with his interest in functional design, technology and performance. He’s coached numerous high growth and start-up entrepreneurs and is results-driven. He likes to make things happen and will help you do the same! 

Business Development

Amanda You Headshot
Amanda You

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Amanda has a PhD in bioengineering, 5 years of pre-incorporation to seed stage start-up experience in novel water filtration materials and analytical tools and services for novel nanoparticle therapeutics. She is currently involved with a Series B company in the immune-oncology field. 
David Pollington Headshot
David Pollington

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

David is an experienced technologist with 26+ years pioneering in the mobile industry starting at Vodafone R&D where he led teams across four geographies and more recently at GSMA where as a Senior Technical Director he led strategic programmes with mobile operators and industry partners on a worldwide basis. David is now the Head of Research for Bloc Ventures, using his extensive knowledge and expertise to advise Bloc on its Dealflow as well as helping Bloc's portfolio companies to succeed. He is a Chartered engineer (IET) with a Masters degree (MEng) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Imperial College, London and has 7 patents. 


Rune Betien

Commercialisation Expert-in-Residence

Rune has spent most of his career working in commercially focused roles bringing new software and hardware products to market at Google. In 2016 he established and led the European part of the Ex-Googler community which supports former Google employees on their entrepreneurial journeys. 

Kam Pooni Headshot
Kam Pooni

Commercialisation Expert-in-Residence

Kam is a resourceful, entrepreneurial and influential Senior Executive, with particular expertise, credibility and passion for Healthcare. He has extensive experience at board-level, operating in culturally diverse organisations in UK, EMEA, APAC and MENA. Kam brings a combination of strategic vision and insight, together with hands-on operational delivery. He enjoys the process of looking at a problem, finding a solution, then building something exciting. Kam has a consistent track record of success with life-sciences SMEs, start-ups and large global businesses. 
Gaurav Chawla

Tech Commercialisation Expert-in-Residence

Gaurav is a tech entrepreneur and corporate tech innovation specialist. He has a technical background in engineering, data science and computer science - complemented with business and law degrees, specialising in IP law and is passionate about commercialising technology.
Mayank Somaiya

Commercialisation Expert-in-Residence

Mayank is an entrepreneurial leader in the payments and fintech industry, heading up New Venture Initiatives & Partnerships at Visa for Europe. He has been with Visa since 2012 in various leadership roles. He is an alumnus of the University of Oxford earning his Masters PGD in Strategy & Innovation. 

Remy Husein

Commercialisation Expert-in-Residence

Remy is a Partner at QUAERIT Consultants LP with more than 30 years’ experience in product design & consulting. He advises companies from start-ups to large multinationals on innovation, financing, and intellectual property.


Jonny Prynn Headshot
Jonny Prynn

Consumer Expert-in-Residence

After graduating university, Jonny co-founded One Third Stories to teach children about other languages through stories. From the early days writing the books himself to managing a team of creatives, Jonny has learnt a lot about making products customers love. He enjoys using that experience to help new entrepreneurs rapidly develop their ideas into products, acquire their first customers and build a successful business.  

Alex Somervell

Consumer Expert-in-Residence

Alex studied Politics with Italian and Portuguese at Exeter University. He grew up bilingual speaking English and Spanish and went onto study Italian and Portuguese.  Alex is the co-founder and CEO of One Third Stories, a company that helps children learn another language in a fun way! One Third Stories started in 2014 as a side project while Alex and his friend Jonny were studying at (different) universities. It started off as a side-project to help them in interviews. Little did they know the project would end be something they would be working on full-time and go on create 21 titles, appear on Dragons' Den, ship over a hundred thousand boxes to customers in 41 countries and receive over half a million pounds in investment.  

Digital Business Development

David Lefevre Headshot
David Lefevre

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

David is the director of the Edtech Lab at the Imperial College Business School which he helped to create in 2004. The team launched Imperial’s first online module in 2005, Imperial’s first online degree programme (the Global Online MBA programme) in 2015, the first blended degree programme in 2017 and now delivers a portfolio of 225 online modules per year. In 2005, David was co-founder of the digital publishing firm Epigeum (now a successful part of the Oxford University Press) and in 2018 co-founded Insendi Epigeum a rapidly growing Edtech Firm that offers a next generation learning experience platform together with a range of related services.  He is currently incubating ideas for a further Edtech firm.
Daniel Roe

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Daniel is a CTO/Founder, with experience both in the agency and in the SaaS startup worlds. He has expertise in building a tech stack or infrastructure strategy, developing and building a tech team, but has a passion for communication and the user perspective and making sure that the tech serves a useful purpose. 
Tom Grey Headshot
Tom Grey

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Tom is a founding member of the cloud team at Google and has learnt what it takes to sell early-stage products, how to define a go-to-market, and how to scale by building a team. As an architect, he understands how to build products, make technical decisions, and design something that's deliverable. As a CTO at bp Launchpad, Tom knows what VCs are looking for in a company. 
Vignesh Venkataraman

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Vignesh is experienced in area of data analytics: AI company detecting breast cancer, and trade executions with Bank of America. He has prior involvement with entrepreneur programs/hackathons, often with a social/healthcare focus. He is an Imperial College Alumnus with a PhD in Quantum Physics. Vignesh says his key skill is communicating technical topics. 
Tom Grey Headshot
Javed Maqsood

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Javed is a startup scaling expert with over 20 years of experience in the field. He has led many companies’ post-sales divisions, with stellar results, resulting in successful exits. His specialty is early level validation of product market fit, product launch and post sales go-to-market strategies. Javed is currently engaged with several Silicon Valley VC companies helping, advising, mentoring their portfolio companies towards success through maturity, growth and scale.  
Sarah Gurney

Digital Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Sarah has 30 years of experience in data collection and analysis for companies including UBS, eBay, Essence and Secret Escapes. Her particular expertise lies in gathering data from disparate sources to create Data Marts and client specific reports. For all her clients Sarah has provided advanced training to enable her clients to maintain their customised systems and provide a high standard of Excel and Data Literacy. 


Muhammad Altalib Headshot
Muhammad Altalib

Financial Expert-in-Residence

Muhammad is an investor and start-up operator who has spent his career building and launching new products. He is an investor at IFG.VC backing tech start-ups at the early-stage.He also leads product at IFG Wills - the largest online Islamic Wills provider in the UK. Previously, he was the founder of Seedlink, a start-up digitising logistics for farmers in Malawi.

Sarah Finegan Headshot
Sarah Finegan

Financial Expert-in-Residence

Sarah is a Director at Antler, a global early stage VC. Sarah brings a depth of experience working across finance, early stage technology companies and venture capital including with Goldman Sachs, MiddleGame Ventures and Outlier Ventures. She has spent the past 2 years helping build and invest in early-stage companies with a focus across energy, fintech and blockchain. 
Kia Nejad

Financial Expert-in-Residence

Kia has spent the last couple years of his career in VC, and is currently an Investor at A/O PropTech, a stage agnostic VC fund. He thoroughly enjoy supporting their portfolio companies in all areas they need and is eager to do the same to some of the exciting companies coming out of the Enterprise Lab. His expertise is not limited to PropTech and he is able to assist companies in all sectors! 

Idea Development

Andrew Burgess

Artifical Intelligence Expert-in-Residence

Andrew is a thought-leader and practitioner in AI and Robotic Process Automation, and is regularly invited to speak at conferences on both subjects. He is a strategic advisor to a number of companies and is the author of ‘The Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence' and ‘The Rise of Legal Services Outsourcing’.
Emma Sexton

Design Expert-in-Residence

Emma is one of the UK’s leading experts on in-house creative teams and the business value of design and has been bolstering the creative capabilities for some of the world’s best businesses and brands since 2013. She'll advise you on how to leverage design and branding to contribute to your business success.
Bryan Roberts

Product Expert-in-Residence

Bryan is an experienced product developer with a passion for sports and has worked as an R&D consultant for 100+ sporting goods brands. He's now a multiple business owner, and guides students through the product development process from concept to production, including the go-to-market strategy.

Legal & Compliance

Iain Russell

IP Expert-in-Residence

Iain is an experienced Patent and Design Attorney with particular expertise around software, telecomms and music technology. Iain co-founded an online recruitment platform, so has first-hand experience of running a start-up and he especially enjoys working with students and start-ups.
Justin Starling

Legal Expert-in-Residence

Justin is a partner in the law firm Osborne Clarke, one of the leading legal advisers for companies started up and spun out from UK universities. Justin leads our “Tech Transfer” team and has advised more than 40 ICL spin outs over 10+ years. He's also a mentor on the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service.

Jack Severs

IP Expert-in-Residence

Jack works across a wide range of technology areas within the broad subject areas of physics, engineering, materials science and electronics. Jack has gained particular experience working on inventions within the fields of telecoms, photonics and electronic devices.

Michael Hornsey

Legal Expert-in-Residence

Mike has a fundamental belief that business can be a force for good. After training at a major international law firm where he helped build the firm’s social enterprise training scheme, he now advises startups on a range of matters from VC funding rounds, to data protection issues and commercial contracts.

BDB Pitmans

Legal Expert-in-Residence

BDB Pitmas are a corporate partner who helps businesses of all sizes with growth plans, fund raising, M&A, constitutional matters (such as Shareholder/Founder Agreements) and investments 

Haley Guiliano International

IP Expert-in-Residence

The Haley Guiliano team has extensive experience with representing clients of all sizes and across a multitude of industries around the globe in connection with intellectual property (IP) matters. All of our attorneys have scientific backgrounds, and we rely on both our transatlantic legal expertise and technological know-how when providing our services. 

Marketing & Communication

Sonal Dack

Email Marketing Expert-in-Residence

Sonal specialises in helping organisations craft engaging email campaigns. She believes that any business can use email to build a relationship with their audience, gain customers and grow their business, and will help you to get started and develop your own strategy.
Iain Hunter

Marketing Expert-in-Residence

Ian has worked extensively across many geographies, channels and disciplines helping to craft messaging, branding and positioning as well as providing expertise in the arena of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. He is also an Imperial Ventures Mentor (IVMS).

People Management

Callum Adamson

Team Management Expert-in-Residence

Callum Adamson is a Cofounder at Distributed; a platform that uses AI to help businesses manage teams remotely, so they are happy, engaged and productive. He has also led teams at BMI, The Digital Property Group and Reading Room in his career.

Sylvana Caloni

People Management Expert-in Residence

Sylvana is a leadership coach who works with clients internationally. Previously working in global financial markets, she blends the insights from the fast-paced financial services world and the latest training on learning and development to enable entrepreneurs, executives and self-starting individuals to become more self-aware, more effective and more successful. 
Carl Coddington

Team Building Expert-in-Residence

Carl is the other half of Hire&Scale and like Braham, helps companies to develop a talent hiring strategy that supports their business' growth and long-term success.
Braham Djidjelli

Team Building Expert-in Residence

Braham is one half of Hire&Scale - a consultancy that uses data to help companies to hire the right team for their business and scale effectively do you have the right people at every stage of your business' life.

Pitching & Selling

Lisa Makarova

Pitch Coach-in-Residence

Lisa has successfully raised capital and helped other founders succeed through her venture – ZebraFarm, a startup skills platform. She is also a coach and guest lecturer at Imperial and the Royal College of Art, and has helped many founders create a winning pitch by putting story-telling at the heart of their bids.

Byron McCaughey

Pitch Coach-in-Residence

Byron is a Full-Time MBA class of 2016-17 student and after graduating, he co-founded TRACK PropTech, raising £75k in pre-seed funding and winning Imperial Business Pitch. Byron also has a marketing & communications background and a keen interest in business psychology and brings all this experience to his coaching sessions
Paul Michael O'Donnell

Pitching & Selling Expert-in-Residence

Following a career leading large and complex financial services businesses in Australia, Asia, the UK and US. Paul works with startups and established businesses on their sales strategy and implementation, to help them expand their businesses, locally and across borders, and to push forward in terms of expansion of products, territories, or innovations. 

Devon Smiley

Sales & Negotiations Expert-in-Residence

Negotiation Consultant with 15 years of experience with Forbes’ finest and startups alike. Devon has closed more than $5 billion of commercial contracts and brings this experience to entrepreneurs and founders focused on securing strong commercial results without sacrificing relationships.


John Lee Allen Headshot
John Lee Allen

Strategy Expert-in-Residence

John is a physician scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur with a track record across healthcare and technology. He developed an implantable medical device at Oxford University and is a national NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow and Mentor.
Ian Hobday

Strategy Expert-in-Residence

Ian has spent 21 years working in large corporations (BASF and Arch) as a turnaround specialist at divisional MD / CEO level. He has experience across Europe, Australasia, USA, China and CIS, at senior management / Board Director level. Lived in UK, Australia, France and Italy. Ian has spent the last 10 years in the world of start-ups with some continued restructuring work all through own consultancy. His start-up work has involved Angel investing, fund raising, mentoring, acting as full or part time CEO / Director and / or sitting on the Board as a Non-Executive Director. He is mainly active in Automotive / EV’s; Renewables; Chemicals; Distribution; Financial Services; Retail & Hemp. 
Samuel Conway Headshot
Samuel Conway

Strategy Expert-in-Residence

Samuel is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader with a passion for business creativity, out of the box thinking and disruptive technology. Samuel holds a double degree in Biomedical Engineering (BSc BEng) and an MBA (Int Business) from Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia and a certificate in Venture Finance from the Said business school, Oxford. After a successful career within in the Automotive, manufacturing and Steel industries in Australia Samuel established Coritsu Group in 2011 a business consultancy focused on data analysis and information management. This led to a project with Oxford University, Zegami Limited where Samuel was appointed CEO and where he led the company through multiple funding rounds raising over ¬£4. Samuel has since  established Samvac consulting to help mentor and support the next generation of start- ups from throughout the world. 


How is Experts-in-Residence different to an Idea Surgery?

Experts-in-Residence sessions are more formal one-to-one sessions (one individual or a team). We have up to 3 teams at an Idea Surgery, and they’re more informal to give you the chance to chat with your fellow entrepreneurs, share ideas and learn from one another’s experiences.

How is Experts-in-Residence different to Business Coaching?

The Experts-in-Residence sessions focus on a specific area of your business idea or plan, whereas the Business Coaching sessions are more about conducting a comprehensive review of your idea and helping you put a business plan together.

Are Experts-in-Residence sessions one-to-one?

Yes, it’s just you and your team (if applicable).

Are Experts-in-Residence sessions confidential?

Yes. All our experts will work with you in the strictest confidence.

How long are the sessions?

The duration of sessions will vary from expert-to-expert but will be between 30 and 45 minutes.

Can I book more than one session?

Yes you can. In fact, we may encourage you to if you’ve demonstrated a need for additional help in a specific area, or with a particular expert. We always supply guidance when we release session details, so do check that before booking. We also recommend that you read the instructions we provide you with ahead of your first session. All sessions are subject to demand/availability but don’t worry if we can’t fit you in, we’ll add you to the waiting list.

I attended an Idea Surgery last year. Can I book an Expert-in-Residence slot?

If we approved you to have sessions with an expert last year and you’re still working on the same idea, you can continue to book slots as before. You’re also welcome to book an Idea Surgery, so we can catch up on your progress and make sure that you’re making the most of all the opportunities on offer at the Lab.

If you’re working on a new business idea, you’ll need to book an Idea Surgery before you can book future Expert-in-Residence sessions.

I've completed one of the Enterprise Lab programmes. Am I eligible for Experts-in-Residence?

Yes! Anyone that has completed an E-Lab programm (VCC, WE Innovate, Discovery Fund or Summer Accelerator) automatically becomes eligible for Experts-in-Residence.

I’ve booked a session but can’t make it now what do I do?

Please cancel your session via your Calendly booking and email  Amy McDonnell ASAP so that we can offer your slot to someone else.


“Carl and Braham are sources of knowledge and wisdom with an undying passion to share them. When it comes to team building, leadership and human relations, they definitely know what they are talking about.”

Seyed Nasrollahi, Founder, QuantumX (PhD Physics)

Need an expert?

 You’ll need to book an Idea Surgery so we can help you find the right expert.


What's on

From community events to expert masterclasses… There’s always something going on at the E-Lab

Next events

Community Collider October
Community Collider October

Event dateOctober 18, 2023

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Summer Accelerator 2023 Showcase
Summer Accelerator 2023 Showcase

Event dateOctober 25, 2023

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Join our community, meet co-founders and grow your entrepreneurial network!

Our monthly social bringing together students and postdocs from every corner of Imperial College London.

Stay productive and focused while working on your business idea. Make the E-Lab your office and creative space.

Use your creativity and critical thinking to solve a challenge set by us. Win prizes for the best idea and best pitch!


Speak to someone about your idea and learn the skills you need to test it in the real world


Fast-track your idea on one of our cohort-based entrepreneurship programmes

Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurship programme for students and postdocs with an annual prize fund of £100K.

The UK’s leading university programme championing women-led startup teams with an annual £30K prize fund.

A 12 week programme for students looking to give their business idea a big developmental push over the summer months.

More available programmes


Get expert support and advice to turn your idea into a successful commercial venture


We’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs


Got a question, need some advice or just need directions to the best basement on campus? Get in touch!

Find us

Imperial College London
Level 0, Sherfield Building
(Access next to Great Hall)
South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ