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.

How To Pitch Your Idea

Boost your pitching know-how with our expert talks

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 – be it potential co-founders and team mates, early adopters and beach head customers or – most commonly – potential funders and investors.

In these super practical, 60-minute sessions we will go over the key ingredients of what makes a successful pitch, including:

  • The three different types of pitch (and which to use when)
  • Key pitch headings
  • Find your flow (structure + narrative) 
  • Slide design (do’s and don’ts!)

This masterclass will give you a grounding in the basics and the confidence to 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. 

Who is this masterclass for?

Everyone from complete pitch newbies to seasoned demo day pitch masters!

These interactive sessions are all about providing helpful tips, pointers and feedback – and what matters most is your commitment to learning the basics and adapting your approach until you find the formula that works for you.

About the speaker

This session will be led by Ben Mumby-Croft. Ben is Director of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London and, by his own admission, has seen “a LOT” of startup pitches. Prior to supporting student and postdoc entrepreneurs in the HE sector, Ben worked in a variety of marketing and creative roles, including setting up his own agency.


How To Build A Financial Model

Learn the fundamentals of how you can assess you idea’s potential to become a viable business

When assessing the potential of a new business idea, there are two big questions:

  1. Does the customer really want this?
  2. Could it actually be a sustainable business?

In other words, do the numbers add up?

There are plenty of tools you can access to help you understand how to validate your idea and get a sense of whether the world needs what you’ve got to offer, but unless you’re an experienced entrepreneur, they can be difficult to get your head around. That’s where this masterclass comes in!

In this 90-minute session, we’ll go over the key points of how you can assess your idea’s potential to become a viable business. It doesn’t have to be about becoming a billion-dollar unicorn, you just need to understand how you will sustain your operation. Where will the money come from? What other resources do you need? Ultimately, can your business make more money than you need to spend?

Financial modelling for startups is more of an art than a science, so don’t expect to go away from this session with all the answers. What you will leave this class with is a logical approach to assessing your idea’s financial potential.

Plus, you will get a template you can use after the session to build up your own business case/ financial forecast.

Who is this masterclass for?

Anyone who wants to learn the fundamental startup financial modelling skills. Even if you’re just starting out and having initial conversations with potential customers to understand the scope of the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s never too early to start thinking about the numbers behind your idea.

Startup finance is also quite different from corporate finance, so whether you’ve got some experience with finance or not, if you’re not sure how to quantify the business case for a new idea then this one’s for you.

About the speaker

These sessions will be led by Lisa Portz. Lisa has a portfolio career helping startups as a coach, consultant and entrepreneurship programme designer. She’s also a visiting lecturer at Imperial and has her own startup skills platform, ZebraFarm. Lisa has extensive first-hand entrepreneurship experience, including a successful funding round.

How To Fund Your Idea

Get the low-down on the foundations of entrepreneurial finance

Money, money, money. You know you’re going to need it to set up and grow your business, but how much, where from, and what are the risks of ‘selling’ a portion of your venture to an investor? 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. BUT! Unless you have a background in finance – building a solid funding strategy that will allow you to convince an investor to part with their cash and stay solvent can be a daunting task.

We’ll cover the key areas of entrepreneurial finance so that you walk away with the foundations of a funding strategy. All in 60 minutes!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • 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
  • Your funding strategy – building a cash roadmap

You’ll also get plenty of guidance mapping out the first draft of your funding strategy and be able to ask questions.

Who is this masterclass for?

Whether you’ve raised your first £50K and want to check if your plan is sound or haven’t even begun to think about where the first £ will come from, you’ll get loads out of this masterclass. We assume zero knowledge of entrepreneurial finance and certainly won’t be doing any calculations! Our aim is to cover the principles of startup funding and share insights into how the people who hold the purse strings choose their investments.

About the speaker

James Groves is an investment manager from Imperial’s Seed Investment team. He invests the Imperial College Enterprise Fund into ventures led by student, staff and alumni founders and also supports Imperial spinouts and startups by advising on investor readiness. Prior to joining Imperial College, James has plenty of experience at the coal face of academic venture financing, working as both ‘gamekeeper and poacher’ in the field of seed investment – having spent 8 years at Oxford University Innovation commercialising University IP through licensing and setting up spinouts.

How To Build An MVP (without a technical co-founder) 

Learn how to develop practical digital prototypes in the absence of a CTO/programming skills.

Do you have a great idea for building a new app or digital product but worry you can’t code, can’t find a technical co-founder, and don’t know what to do next? If so, this is the masterclass for you. Working alongside Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence, Dr Maria Vigliotti, this session will show you how you can design and build simple ‘no code’ prototypes that you can use to help you test and validate your ideas.

Who is this Masterclass for?

If you want to stop worrying about what you don’t have and put your creativity and imagination to the test in working towards developing practical digital prototypes you can actually test with users.

Please note, this is not a masterclass to learn programming, or an opportunity to find a technical co-founder, or a masterclass to learn about trending technical topics like AI or Blockchain

You will get the most out of this masterclass if you *:

  • have attended the How To Test Your Idea Masterclass and applied some of the tools and techniques

  • have a working idea of your product and have identified some of its key features and/or services

(*Not mandatory)

About the speaker

This session will be led by Dr Maria G. Vigliotti . Maria is the Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Imperial College London. She works on Green Finance at the Sustainable Tech Lab and at the latest venture Greenway Analytics. Her career in computing spans more than 20 years, many as an academic at Imperial College London. Maria is the first author of “The Executive Guide to Blockchain”( Palgrave MacMillan). The book demystifies blockchain by offering a jargon-free explanation on all aspects of the technology. She is also the CTO of Sandblocks Consulting a boutique consultancy specialising in blockchain technology and cybersecurity.

This masterclass will take place in the Enterprise Lab South Kensington Campus.


How To Sort Your Startup Legals 

The good, the bad and the ugly of scale-up legal documents: what every founder needs to know

So you’ve nailed the pitch deck, recruited an epic team, built your brand and have perhaps even started to sell, but the endless legal jargon has got your head spinning or, you haven’t got your head around exactly what legal documents you need.

This session will help you become familiar with the various legal documents you’ll come across as a startup.

It’s a comprehensive introduction to the legal framework – essential to anyone that’s planning a funding round for their company, now or in the future.

This is a super practical 60-minute session where we’ll get to grips with questions like:

  • What’s the A-grade legal document trajectory for a startup?
  • What documents will you need as you progress from incorporation to signing your first angel up, and/or banking your first chunk of cash?
  • What are Articles of association, founders agreements, consultancy agreements and accelerator programme contracts – and why might you need them? When do they go to the point of value?
  • What’s happening externally to make bright founders sign legal documents that work against their brilliant business plans?

We’ll also dig into the details of negotiating term sheets, the key points that you need to stand firm on in your investment and shareholder agreements and the nuts and bolts of revising Articles of Association.

Who is this for?

This interactive session is a must when it comes to getting a grounding in the basics, understanding legal jargon and learning how to establish a legal framework that helps you grow your business. There’s no never-ending Powerpoint presentation, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

About the speaker

Lindsay Chadwick and Dominique Sabatini are lawyers (*interesting lawyers) who work in the corporate team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, a law firm working founder-side with spinouts, start-ups and scale-ups. They are passionate about getting alongside founders and their management teams at points of change and helping them meet their goals with pragmatic context-based legal advice. Dominique is an experienced corporate lawyer and Lindsay has spent 8 years at The Sunday Times Fast Track, analysing fast-growth venture-backed companies seeking to scale – before returning to corporate law in 2021.


How To Test Your Idea 

Learn how to test your ideas and minimise risk and uncertainty


So, you’ve done the ‘hard work’ and come-up with a brilliant idea all you need to do now is raise investment and execute, right… what could possibly go wrong!?

In this super practical, 60-minute session we will look at the importance of testing early-stage ideas to reduce market risk (i.e. believing in and building something that nobody wants) and go over the basics of what to test and how to test your own ideas in a low cost, hands-on way, including:

  • Mapping critical assumptions
  • Turning assumptions into hypotheses
  • Finding YODA (Your Own Data)
  • The importance of signal strength

This masterclass will give you a grounding in Lean Startup basics and the confidence to get out of the building and test your own ideas in the real-world. You can also book an Idea Surgery at the end of each session with a member of the E-Lab team to talk through your assumptions and testing methodology.

Who is this for?

Any student or postdoc who has an idea they think would make a compelling commercial venture and who wants to understand how to test the critical assumptions underpinning their vision and generate real-world evidence to validate and support their case.

About the speaker

This session will be led by Ben Mumby-Croft. Ben is Director of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London and a passionate advocate of “hypothesis-driven experiential learning”, which is a fancy way of saying: “rolling your sleeves up and testing ideas in the real world.”



How To Navigate NDA’s 

Learn the fundamentals of NDA’s and how to use them


So, you’ve heard the term NDA thrown about but you aren’t sure what they are, when to use them or exactly how to use them.

It can be challenging to know how to keep your intellectual property safe while growing your business, but equally you can’t run your business under a shroud of secrecy.

Sam Wolfe Murray from Ropes & Gray will be sharing the do’s and dont’s on Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and how to use the legal contract to establishes confidentiality between two parties

This is a super practical session focussing on:

  • The purpose of NDAs
  • Minimum requirements of an NDA
  • Explanation of key terms
  • Common points for negotiation

About the speaker

Sam Wolfe Murray joined Ropes & Gray in 2021 as an associate. His practice focuses on private equity transactions, including leveraged buyouts, growth equity, and minority investments. Prior to Ropes & Gray, Sam was an associate in the private equity practice of another international law firm, and spent 6 months on secondment at Cinven. In addition to his corporate law experience, Sam spent a significant period of his training contract in intellectual property and commercial practice areas.

Sam has non-legal experience in science, technology and investment that brings an additional perspective to his practice. Prior to reading Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, Sam studied Chemistry at the University of Sydney. Between studying at Sydney and Oxford, Sam worked with family offices on early stage investments.



    How To Deal With Data & Privacy


    Get the low-down on all things data, privacy and cybersecurity

    This masterclass is a must when it comes to getting a grounding in the basics, and understanding some of the key data protection legislation that covers the EU and the UK, why they are important to you and your venture and what you need to do and have in place to stay compliant with them.

    In this knowledge boosting 90-minute session, we will be focussing on:

    • An intro to the key laws, along with the main principles and definitions
    • Key obligation you should be aware of including:
    • privacy notices and consents
    • international data transfers
    • individuals’ rights
    • vendor management
    • information security and breach reporting
    • direct marketing to individuals and consent requirements
    • Top tips and recommendations regarding where to focus compliance efforts

    About the speakers

    Robert joined Ropes & Gray in 2015 and has a wide range of experience advising UK and international clients in respect of intellectual property and commercial law, with a particular emphasis on media, e-commerce, outsourcing, sponsorship, IT and marketing issues. In addition to advising on intellectual property, IT and data protection issues arising in corporate transactions, he also has particular experience assisting with global data protection and privacy issues, including advising on international data transfers and compliance with the EU data protection regime.

    Robyn joined Ropes & Gray in 2021 and has experience acting for clients across a range of industries, particularly in relation to commercial, data and technology issues, previously spending a six month secondment with a leading consumer goods company.



      What’s on

      Upcoming How To Masterclass events

      How To Sort Your Startup Legals
      How To Sort Your Startup Legals

      Event dateJune 7, 2023

      The good, the bad and the ugly of scale-up legal documents: what every founder needs to know Sign up

      How To Pitch Your Idea
      How To Pitch Your Idea

      Event dateJune 14, 2023

      Learn how to bring your idea to life with words and pictures that connect with your target audience. Sign up

      How To Test Your Idea
      How To Test Your Idea

      Event dateJune 14, 2023

      Learn how to test your ideas and minimise risk and uncertainty. Sign up

      How To Fund Your Idea
      How To Fund Your Idea

      Event dateJuly 5, 2023

      Learn fundamentals of entrepreneurial finance in our 60 minute masterclass Sign up

      How To Test Your Idea
      How To Test Your Idea

      Event dateJuly 19, 2023

      Learn how to test your ideas and minimise risk and uncertainty. Sign up

      What's on

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

      Next events

      How To Sort Your Startup Legals
      How To Sort Your Startup Legals

      Event dateJune 7, 2023

      Sign up
      How To Pitch Your Idea
      How To Pitch Your Idea

      Event dateJune 14, 2023

      Sign up
      How To Test Your Idea
      How To Test Your Idea

      Event dateJune 14, 2023

      Sign up
      How To Fund Your Idea
      How To Fund Your Idea

      Event dateJuly 5, 2023

      Sign up
      How To Test Your Idea
      How To Test Your Idea

      Event dateJuly 19, 2023

      Sign up


      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.

      Work in international teams to find global solutions. This year's theme is "Affordable and Clean Energy". Registration is now open!

      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 unique programme designed to speed the commercial development of early-stage medical technologies

      All 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!

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