From IP to legal, design to investment, we have the expert for you

The Experts-in-Residence is designed to ensure that Imperial-associated individuals engaged in entrepreneurial projects and their Imperial startups have access to experts who can help them conceive, form, and develop their business. The London ecosystem is complex and difficult to navigate, and therefore our Experts-in-Residence programme will represent a trusted resource for Imperial startups to access dedicated support.


From E-Lab to V-Lab

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19 and Imperial’s move to remote working and study, the Enterprise Lab co-working space will be closed until further notice and upcoming events have been postponed or moved online.

The good news is we’ve gone virtual! We’ve moved all of our Idea Surgeries, Business Coaching and Expert-in-Residence support online and are supporting MBA Connect in creating the COVID-19 Task Force. You can find out how they can support you and you venture here. and are working hard to ensure that our awesome community is still coming together, sharing ideas and supporting each other, albeit virtually.

Our community of Imperial’s innovators and entrepreneurs are still sharing great ideas, asking important questions and working out how to ‘get out of the building’ to speak to customers when you’re literally stuck IN the building. The Enterprise Lab will also be sharing our latest updates and some new virtual content on Slack and our social channels, so stay tuned! 

Seyed Nasrollahi, Founder, QuantumX (PhD Physics)

‘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.’

What’s Experts-in-Residence?

Experts-in-Residence is a group of experts across a range of areas that are relevant for developing entrepreneurial ideas and building startup companies.

These individuals act as advisors for entrepreneurial student teams and startups who can demonstrate that they need the expertise. Sessions are scheduled throughout the year, and before you meet the expert you will be asked what you would like to speak about and may be given suggested resources to look over.

Some experts will have different levels of validation needed to prove that you are ready to meet them. For example, legal and IP experts are often needed even for very early stage startups, but PR and Sales, for instance, are often most beneficial at later stages.
We are fortunate to have experts with the following specialisms:

  • AI/ML/Automation
  • Business Coaching
  • Commercialisation
  • Data Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Design
  • Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Investor
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Negotiation
  • Product Development (Physical)
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Sales
  • Team Building
  • Team Management

We’re adding new experts all the time and you can read more about our current experts below.

Meet the experts

Marketer in Residence – Ian Hunter

The constant thread throughout Iain’s career has been advising an increasingly wide range of clients about building brands and businesses.  He’s 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).

Intellectual Property Expert-in-Residence – Jeremy Holmes

Jeremy joined Innovations in January 2012 as Patent Attorney and Due Diligence Manager after 12 years working as an in-house patent attorney for ICI/Astra Zeneca and Reckitt Benckiser. Jeremy’s role at Innovations is to manage IP and Patent Searching resources and to ensure that thorough and timely due diligence is carried out on investment opportunities, as well as act as an in-house consultant on IP issues.

Negotiator in Residence – Devon Smiley

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. Devon’s insights on negotiation have been featured in The New York Times, Glamour magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

Commercial Expert-in-Residence –Rune Bentien

Rune spent the majority of his career working in commercially focused roles bringing new products to market in Google including software (APIs, SaaS, Platforms) as well as hardware across several industries. Since 2016 has he established and led the European part of the Ex-Googler community which supports former Google employees on their entrepreneurial journeys. Currently Rune is an investor in web3 technologies at ConsenSys, one of the global leaders in the blockchain industry. Prior to Google, Rune helped launch the world’s first legally unlimited music service out of Denmark with TDC. Rune holds a MSc of Innovation Management (Cand. Oecon) from Aarhus University and spent two years at the Danish military serving as a combat medics sergeant.

Product Expert-in-Residence –Bryan Roberts

Bryan is a experienced product developer with a passion for sports. Having worked as a R&D consultant for over 100 sporting goods brands, his favourite projects were England World Cup Football Shirt, NBA Basketball, Nike Sports Bras and Mizuno Running Shoes. Bryan has transitioned from the corporate world to multiple business owner. The most recent, is a launchpad for new sports equipment brands. Bryan hopes to guide students through the product development process from concept to production, including the go-to-market strategy.

Team Management Expert-in-Residence – Callum Anderson

Callum Adamson is a Cofounder at Distributed; a platform that allows businesses to deliver digital outcomes through the use of an AI powered Elastic Workforce. Callum studied Aeronautical Engineering at Perth UHI and has led teams at BMI, The Digital Property Group and Reading Room in his career. 

Intellectual Property Expert-in-Residence – Iain Russell

Iain is an experienced Patent and Design Attorney with particular expertise around software, telecommunications and music technology inventions. Iain co-founded an online recruitment platform, which has given him first-hand experience of running a start-up. He has been granted patents for his own inventions, ranging from dishwasher spray arms to drones, which he is actively looking to commercialise. Iain especially enjoys working with students and start-ups.

Justin Starling - Legal Expert-in-Residence

Justin is a partner in the law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper, one of the leading legal advisers for companies started up and spun out from UK universities, in particular Imperial, King’s, Oxford, UCL and Southampton. Justin is a Corporate partner and leads our “Tech Transfer” team, advising numerous high growth technology companies on spin-out, investment funding (from angel to major institutional investors) and exit deals, as well as the legal issues that need to be covered in establishing and growing a technology company, from company and IP through to employment, share incentives and tax. He has advised more than 40 Imperial companies over more than 10 years, and is a mentor on the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service.

Elizabeth Yell - Legal Expert-in-Residence

Elizabeth is a senior associate in the corporate team at the law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper, one of the leading legal advisers for companies started up and spun out from UK universities, in particular Imperial, King’s, Oxford, UCL and Southampton. She specialises in advising high growth technology businesses and has acted for numerous Imperial spin-outs (and start-ups connected to the Imperial community) over the past decade. Elizabeth advises companies on establishment, a range of fundraising transactions from start-up and pre-seed funding through seed and angel funding to large institutional syndicate investments and on to exit, as well as the legal issues that need to be covered in establishing and growing a technology company, from company and IP through to employment, share incentives and tax.

Poh-Leng Davare – Legal Expert-in-Residence

Poh-Leng is a legal and commercial consultant and currently practices as an in-house lawyer at Imperial College London. Poh-Leng previously worked as a contracts manger in the faculty for engineering. Prior to joining Imperial, Poh-Leng worked as a tax and commercial litigator in the City. Poh-Leng is experienced in assisting clients with the strategy and negotiation of commercial and research contracts to yield advantageous results and protections. Poh-Leng has worked with a range of clients extending from multinational corporations to brand new start-ups. Poh-Leng is passionate about improving access to opportunities and is co-chair of Imperial-As-One.

Sarah Gurney – Excel/Data Analyst 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.

Andrew Burgess - AI Expert-in-Residence

Andrew is considered a thought-leader and practitioner in Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation, and is regularly invited to speak at conferences on the subject. He is a strategic advisor to a number of ambitious companies in the field of disruptive technologies. He has written two books; ‘The Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) and, with the London School of Economics, ‘The Rise of Legal Services Outsourcing’ (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Lawyer in Residence – Ignition Law

Ignition Law is a unique entrepreneurial law firm, providing specialist corporate, commercial and employment advice to start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs at affordable prices. It was formed in January 2015 by Alex McPherson and David Farquharson, during this time Ignition Law has been nominated and won several prestigious legal awards.

Designer in Residence - Emma Sexton (MYWW)

Emma Sexton is one of the UK’s leading experts on in-house creative teams and the business value of design. A design thinker and doer having started her own creative agency – MYWW™. The ‘inside out creative agency’ has been bolstering the creative capabilities for some of the world’s best businesses and brands since 2013. An Expert in Residence with the Imperial Enterprise Lab since 2017, Emma has advised many start-up ventures across multiple industries on how to leverage design and branding to contribute to their business success.



Recruiter in Residence – Hire & Scale

Hire&Scale enable companies everywhere to hire and scale more effectively. Start engaging with talent, exciting your employees and growing your business by following their unique people strategy – the online learning hub provides everything you need to get started. Success is a team sport so become an all-star employer that is cultivating employee champions!

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