Conception X by Barclays and UCL to create investable, early-stage deep tech start-ups

Conception X by Barclays and UCL to create investable, early-stage deep tech start-ups

LONDON, 27-Feb-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — PhDs in University College London’s top-ranked Computer Science programme will now be able to turn their dissertation into a deep tech start-up. This will become possible thanks to the new initiative launched by Barclays and University College London (UCL).

The new programme is called Conception X and aims at creating  investable, early-stage deep tech start-ups founded by the nation’s best and brightest PhD students.

The initiative will begin on 27 February and will kick-start with 27 teams that will explore deep tech areas across verticals such as finance and health. The programme is actually extended for the first time to include candidates from other universities outside of UCL.

Supporting diversity, the launch cohort of Conception X will include three all-female teams and six with at least one female founder.

During the nine-month duration of the sessions, the teams will work on their ideas in a sustained effort to create a viable start-up. During this period they will have quarterly goal-based mentoring sessions with seasoned entrepreneurs, academics, potential investors and future clients.

Aside this, the teams will also work on solving real problems within real businesses by teaming up with intraprenuers from the corporate world applying deep tech to an issue they would like to solve.

Students can retain all intellectual property (IP) rights associated with their projects under the Conception X incubation programme.

Last year, when the piloted Conception X took place, 14 teams worked on and have built a range of deep tech start-ups exploring areas such as AI, quantum computing, blockchain and augmented reality. And six of them have become fully-fledged start-ups while many secured their first clients in addition to further funding.

Due to the success of the Conception X trial in 2018, Barclays now provides funding for the launch of Conception X together with UCL. The plan is for the Conception X to extend and include other leading universities across the UK over the next few years.

In addition to the financial support, Barclays will also help Conception X teams through Eagle Labs. Eagle Labs is one of the largest co-working, collaboration and incubator networks for start-ups and scale-ups in the UK. During the Conception X programme, Barclays’ Eagle Labs team will commit to help with ongoing mentorship, access to funding and a network of potential investors and clients. And following successful completion the team from Conception X can base their operations in any of the 21 Eagle Labs across the UK.

Barclays UK (BUK) Ventures is going to be responsible for driving forward the Conception X venture together with UCL. Barclays UK (BUK) Ventures is a new business unit, part of Barclays, established in April 2018 with clear mission to deliver new customer experiences at pace and scale.

Both, Conception X and BUK Ventures will focus on ensuring that emerging technology in the fourth industrial revolution will be inclusive and accessible to everyone.

More than 4,000 people attended over 40 AI Frenzy events across UK and organised by BUK Ventures to learn about and discuss AI.

Steven Roberts, Managing Director of Barclays UK Ventures:

“Deep tech has the potential to transform communities, business and society, but only if talented individuals are given the opportunity to explore the art of the possible. We strongly believe that everyone should have that chance, which is why we’re partnering with UCL to launch Conception X. This will create the perfect space for the best and brightest students to experiment in fields that will shape the future.”

Riam Kanso, Lead of Conception X and Head of Student Entrepreneurship, UCL Engineering:

“PhD students are often encouraged to go into academia or business after graduation but Conception X provides a third path: becoming an entrepreneur. Our partnership with Barclays will ensure students have the best chance of success. Not only will they have access to research infrastructure and the ability to experiment with riskier technologies as a result of being in an academic environment – they will also be plugged into sources of funding and growth, bringing together the best of both our networks.”

SOURCE: Barclays and University College London (UCL)

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