UCL Computer Science


Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Collaborate, Innovate, Pioneer

London Knowledge Quarter

We are in one of the greatest knowledge clusters anywhere in the world, located in a small area around King’s Cross, the Euston Road and Bloomsbury. Google, Facebook, the British Library, the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science, The Crick, Silicon Roundabout and thousands of start-ups; all within walking distance of UCL. For entrepreneurs London is unique: world-class technology companies, financial institutions, pharmaceutics, legal firms, and premier universities, such as UCL. 

Our Pivotal Innovation Role

UCL has a fine tradition of encouraging entrepreneurship, especially Computer Science. Being the UK’s world-leading centre of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and now blockchain technology we play a pivotal role in London’s start-up revolution. In data science research, especially machine learning, an increasing number of academics and students are seeking to commercialise their research. In fact, Engineering departments in premier universities potentially provide an excellent ‘incubation’ environment for PhD, Masters and undergraduate students to launch start-ups. Grants provide (seed) funding, training courses, office-space, labs, equipment, technical advice & mentoring, and customer collaboration & networking; all as part of their research. 


UCL Computer Science has always emphasised the practical engineering side of computing and has encouraged all students to undertake the thesis and dissertation projects with industry. Recently high-profile spinouts like DeepMind, Satalia, MediaGamma, and Prediction.io (started by two PhD students), has led to an entrepreneurship ‘feeding frenzy’ amongst our students.

Entrepreneurship in Computer Science

We encourage students to use their time in the Department to collaborate with industry, but also to consider commercialising their project work and launching a start-up. Many students – PhD, Masters and undergrads – are already doing this. UCL’s Industry Exchange Network (UCL IXN) currently matches students to industry projects, and over 1200 students have been matched to real world clients since it began in 2012; 340 students worked with clients and over 70 apps have been in development in 2015-2016. And an increasing number of students are coming to UCL either with start-ups or the ambition to start a company.

Support for students

When students have an idea for a start-up, need advice on execution or are seeking partners, they can start by approaching Philip Treleaven, Daniel Hulme or some of our existing student entrepreneurs below for advice. We often recommend coming along with a 5 slide ‘pitch’ template about an idea or start-up.

Staff Profiles

Jane Butler

Jane Butler is Vice Dean Enterprise for UCL Engineering. Jane has had a 30 year career in the IT and telecommunications industry, firstly with Exxon and Shell designing and deploying the first global corporate Intranets and then, on joining Cisco as a small company helped to grow it to the multinational company it is today. Jane designed and helped deploy many public and private networks and was instrumental in many aspects of the Internet that we all use today.

Contact Jane Butler

John Taysom

John Taysom is Visiting Professor at UCL Computer Science, formally CEO of Reuters Venture Capital, and Founder of the privacy start-up PRIVITAR. John is raising an investment fund for UCL Engineering and mentors start-ups. John Taysom is best known as the man who has invested in 18 private companies that have subsequently achieved to IPO – including his first investment Yahoo. He also holds ground- breaking new patents on data and is currently sharing his expertise through a Policy Fellowship at Cambridge University with the British government.

Contact John Taysom.