How To Masterclasses

Learn the fundamentals of starting a business from experts in the field. Whether you’re looking to perfect your pitch, scrub up on legals or make sure your idea is financially viable we have the masterclass for you. 

Did you know you can also use your attendance to Startup Masterclasses as part of your Imperial Award submission? Learn more about the award here.

Masterclasses for every aspect of startup life

We schedule classes throughout the year. Here’s what’s coming up next!

Upcoming How To Masterclass events

How To Masterclass:  How to Fund Your Idea (Entrepreneurial Finance 101)
How To Masterclass: How to Fund Your Idea (Entrepreneurial Finance 101)

Event dateJanuary 17, 2024

In this online session we will cover the key areas of entrepreneurial finance, so you can walk away with the foundations of a funding strategy. Sign up

How To Masterclass:  How to Find Your First Customers
How To Masterclass: How to Find Your First Customers

Event dateJanuary 23, 2024

Learn how to identify your first customers and how to talk to them in order to get the answers you need. Sign up

Looking for something specific?

Here are all the different masterclasses for this year.

How to Make your Programme Application Stand out

Are you and your team interested in taking part in WE Innovate 2024 or the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2024 and want to make the best application possible?

Come along to this virtual presentation about how to make your programme application stand out – led by WE Innovate Programme Manager Camille Reltien and VCC Programme Manager Euan Bell.

They’ll take you through the application form, show you how to make yours stand out from the crowd to give yourself the best chance to be successful, and answer all your questions about programme applications!

How to Raise your First Investment

Join San Francisco-based Ash Rust, Founder turned investor and Managing Partner at Sterling Road for a step-by-step guide to building your startup from idea to the first revenue and raising your first funding.

Ash is the Managing Partner of Sterling Road, a venture fund focused on pre-seed stage B2B companies. He was an advisor to Bullpen Capital and previously worked at Trinity Ventures. Ash has mentored hundreds of startups through accelerator programs including Y-Combinator, Techstars, Alchemist, and universities such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Oxford.Before investing, Ash was Cofounder and CEO of SendHub (acquired: Cameo Global, Y-Combinator W12) and Director of Ranking at Klout (acquired: Lithium). Ash earned a Masters in Computer Science from Oxford, served as an Officer in the British Army, and currently resides in San Francisco.

How to find your first customers

Is your idea a good one? Only your customers can answer that question.

This masterclass is an interactive workshop where we’ll cover how to identify your first customers and how to talk to them in order to get the answers you need to take your startup forward.

We’ll explore common pitfalls of customer discovery and how to avoid them. We’ll also demonstrate a couple of basic experiments you can run with your customers in order to test the assumptions you have about your idea.

This session is targeted at early-stage entrepreneurs trying to speak to their first customers.

How to fund your idea

Money, money, money. You need it to set up and grow your business, but how much, where from, and what are the risks involved?

For most entrepreneurs, securing that first cheque is a significant milestone in building a business and is the oxygen a startup needs to survive and thrive beyond the idea stage. Yet, unless you have a background in finance, building a solid funding strategy that will both allow you to convince an investor to part with their cash and stay solvent can be a daunting task.

Join our in-house investment services expert, Dr James Groves for this 60-minute session we will cover the key areas of entrepreneurial finance, so you can walk away with the foundations of a funding strategy, including:


  • Grants vs investment – which is right for you?
  • Dilution – the cost of taking investment
  • Investor types – Friends and Family vs Angels vs VCs
  • Funding rounds – Why you should raise money in chunks

How to protect you wellbeing as a founder

You are your startup’s biggest asset – and a successful business needs a healthy founder. 

Sometimes it’s hard to take a break and take time out so we’re bringing some fun straight into your place of study/work. Join us plus special guests over lunch.

How to Pitch Your Idea

So, you’ve got a cool idea for a new startup! There’s just one obstacle – you need to get the idea out of your head and into the real world with words and pictures that connect with your target audience – from teammates to mentors to investors.

This is a super practical session led by This session will be led by our own Director of Entrepreneurship Ben Mumby-Croft. Ben has worked in a variety of marketing and creative roles, including setting up his own agency and working with startups, before joining Imperial. He’s seen a lot of pitches.

He’ll take you through the key ingredients of what makes a successful pitch, including:

  • Different types of pitch
  • How to structure your pitch
  • Slide design do’s and don’ts

This masterclass is for everyone from complete pitch newbies to seasoned demo day pitch masters – wherever you are in your pitching progress, you’ll get plenty of helpful tips, pointers and feedback.

The most important thing is learning the basics and adapting your approach until you find the formula that works for you. Master that and you’ll be able to confidently craft your own pitch decks.

You can also book a Pitch Surgery at the end of each session for an opportunity to practice your pitch 1:1 with a member of the E-Lab team.