Innovation & Enterprise


Join the Hatchery startup incubator

Get the co-working space, advice and connections that will help build your business by applying to UCL’s incubator programme.

The Hatchery is a dedicated startup space within BaseKX, UCL’s entrepreneurship hub in King’s Cross.

We play host to a community of the university’s most promising startups, providing free, tailored support and dedicated office space designed to fast track your success and get you investment ready. All completely free.

Who can join the Hatchery

The Hatchery incubator programme is available to startups with a viable business venture founded by UCL students, researchers and recent graduates. (If you're a graduate, you’ll need to apply within 3 years of graduating.)

It’s a competitive space. Your business will be assessed by a panel to make sure you’re the right fit, and spaces will only be awarded to the most promising ventures and entrepreneurial individuals. 

Your business can be in any sector.

For your best chance at entry, you’ll already have: 

  • shown passion and commitment in making your business happen
  • identified a gap in the market
  • tested some features of your product or service with potential users to demonstrate demand
  • established the practicalities involved in developing your venture
  • registered your business as a legal entity

Benefits of joining the Hatchery

Support can last up to 24 months and is intended to sharpen your entrepreneurial skills as much as helping your business take off. 

If you’re accepted into the incubator, you’ll get:

  • entry to BaseKX and use of all facilities, including meeting rooms and event space
  • up to four hot desks for your team
  • a dedicated mentor
  • monthly meetings with an experienced entrepreneurship advisor
  • office hours with lawyers, accountants and expert facilitators in minimum viable product (MVP) creation, negotiations, etc.
  • networking opportunities with angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs)
  • access to workshops and training events
  • peer support group sessions, monthly socials and opportunities to learn from and grow with like-minded entrepreneurs

After completing the incubator programme, you’ll be invited to participate in an investment readiness programme, clinics and targeted masterclasses. You’ll also be eligible to apply for post-incubation competitions with cash prizes.

The cost of our services is estimated at £30,000 for a three-person business, which you’ll receive without an exchange of equity.

“My mentor Ken had a genuine interest in me becoming a better business person. Every session we had was productive and focused. He gave me tools and feedback that have been instrumental in helping me develop a comprehensive business plan. Most importantly, his authenticity and humility shine through in every interaction, making my mentorship journey with him a truly fulfilling one.”

Lesley Bongajum, Founder and Managing Director, Bonga Ltd

When to apply for the Hatchery programme

We welcome new startups into the Hatchery twice a year, in May and November.

Applications for the next cohort will close at midnight on 9 September 2024. You'll find out if you've been successful 3 to 4 weeks later.

If you're successful, you'll need to attend 5 weeks of intensive business training, starting 4 November 2024.

How to apply

Step 1: Meet with an entrepreneurship advisor

Before you apply, you’ll need to meet with an entrepreneurship advisor who will assess your readiness and suitability for a place on the programme. At the end of the meeting, you’ll either be invited to apply or be given advice on what you need to do to be considered for the next cohort.

Request a meeting with an advisor by filling in the form on our online portal

All meetings take place on Wednesday afternoons and last 30 minutes.

You should request a meeting with an entrepreneurship adviser at least 2 weeks before the application deadline as this meeting is only the first step in the application process.

Step 2: Create a 4-minute video

If you’re invited to apply, you’ll need to record a video, no longer than 4 minutes, before completing the online application form.

The video does not need to be professional quality. You can be as creative as you like, you might want to use applications like Animoto or Loom to help enhance your video.

Your video should be uploaded to YouTube. You’ll need to include a link to the video in your application form (step 3). 

In the video, you should tell us about: 

  • your business 
  • the progress you’ve made so far on developing the business 
  • any traction your business has had or current customers that prove there is a market for your business 
  • you and your team (if you have one), what relevant skills and experience you/they have  
  • your biggest achievement(s) so far (related to your business) 
  • why you’d like to join the Hatchery and how you’ll contribute to the UCL entrepreneurship community 

Step 3: Complete the online application form

You’ll need to complete the online form by the deadline (9 September 2024).

The form has 3 parts:

  1. Basic details about your registered business
  2. Business status and progress. This is the most important part of the form. Please be concise with your answers, which should not be longer than 300 words each. If you go over this limit, we may not consider the remaining text.
  3. Optional demographic data

Step 4: Pitch your business in front of a panel

If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to attend an interview in person to pitch your business.

You’ll be told of the date and time of your interview within 10 working days after the application deadline.

You should prepare a 3-minute pitch. We recommend you include a maximum of 10 to 12 slides in your presentation. The slides should cover:

  1. Title page with your branding
  2. Problem 
  3. Solution: Product/service description  
  4. Market opportunity and other research
  5. Go-to-market strategy
  6. Business and financial model
  7. Assumptions, validation and traction
  8. Team
  9.  Your commitment to the Hatchery

Case studies

Margot and Alexia de Broglie, founders of Your Juno
Your Juno demystifies finances for women and non-binary people

Set up by a UCL alumna and her sister, the financial education app Your Juno already has over 65,000 users and has raised over £2.5 million in investment.

Katerina Spranger, founder and CEO of Oxford Heartbeat
Oxford Heartbeat: transforming brain surgery with the power of AI

Oxford Heartbeat is helping brain surgeons perform delicate procedures more accurately, ultimately improving outcomes for patients.