Looking for subject-specific advice? We’ve got more than 30 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.
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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 the experts


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. 

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.
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.

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.

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. 

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 

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.

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.


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.


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 us at: 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.