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 and accelerator programmes are available to startups with a viable business venture founded by UCL students, researchers and recent graduates (you’ll need to apply within 3 years of graduating).

Your business can be in any sector, but must be unrelated to your university research if you're a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher.

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. 

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

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 acceleration activities. These include 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.

When to apply for the Hatchery programme

We welcome new startups into the Hatchery twice a year, in February and September.

You can apply at any time, but we only review applications twice a year.

To be considered for the next cohort, you’ll need to complete your application by 7 February 2022.

The Hatchery programme starts on Tuesday, 1 March 2022, and will be delivered in an intensive mode over 4 weeks. You’ll need to attend every day (Monday to Friday) from 10am to 4pm.

If you’re applying for a place in the Hatchery, we recommend that you book this time in your diary and be prepared to attend all compulsory sessions.

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. Meetings are currently being held online due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

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: Submit your application

If you’re invited to apply, you’ll need to record two videos, answering the questions below clearly and concisely, and complete the online form.

The videos do 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. Videos should be uploaded to YouTube, with the links to them included in the form.

Video 1: Your venture idea

This should be 6 minutes long (maximum) and answer these questions:

  1. What is the problem or need (job to done) that you’re addressing and how are people currently overcoming this?
  2. What’s your solution and what’s the true value people will get from it?
  3. What’s your business model?
  4. What's your strategy to develop your venture, and what will you work on first?
  5. Why are you doing this now? What are your next steps in this? What are the key motivating reasons?
  6. Explain how your business will support one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Video 2: Your execution capabilities 

This should be 8 minutes long (maximum) and cover these points:

  1. Tell us about each team member’s skills, experience and what they bring to the team
  2. List 5 key risks to your business in order of magnitude and tell us how you’re going to test or overcome the biggest risk
  3. What traction/evidence have you got/achieved to prove there’s a market for your business or that your startup has potential?
  4. How will or did you, get your first 5 customers (B2B) and 50 (B2C) with no resources/funding? Be specific
  5. What have been your biggest achievements to date individually and/or as a team?
  6. Why you and/or your team will make this startups a success? What’s unique or what competitive advantage do you have that others don’t have?

After you apply

After reviewing and assessing your first video, we’ll let you know if you have progressed to the second video assessment. If you’re successful after reviewing your second video, we’ll be in touch to let you know you have a place in the Hatchery.

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