Who is the program for?

Deeptech Founders was designed for public and private research scientists and engineers and i-PhD Laureates to understand what scientific entrepreneurship is about, and specifically how to evaluate the commercial potential of a new technology. The program is also open to other members of the scientific ecosystem: project managers in technology transfer organisms, licensing managers in institutions, IP engineers, etc. The program will help them to better understand and support the next wave of entrepreneurs.

Deeptech Founders is also designed for young Deeptech Startups willing to prepare for their seed or series A round or their commercial launch.

What are the requirements to take part in the program?

There are two key requirements to participate: a project and a team.

The program is entirely built around the evaluation of a technology’s potential. It is therefore necessary to have a subject to study. Deeptech Founders might offer a selection of technologies to study on the behalf of third parties for future cohorts. In this case, participants without a technology will be admitted. It is nonetheless necessary that their scientific expertise be in line with the technology being studied.

A team is another key requirement. Starting a company is first about getting the right people, so it is necessary to have a team before you apply. In rare exceptions, individuals can apply when teams need to be completed or to study a technology without a team.

In any case, please reach out if you have any questions.

Do I need to get my institution’s approval if I wish to study one of their proprietary technologies?

Yes, you need to get your institution’s approval to evaluate your project alongside Deeptech Founders. If you don’t know whom to contact, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We can help you find the right person to contact. Furthermore, we can provide you with templates to validate your program participation.

What is the ideal team size and composition?

Ideally, teams will be made up of two to three people who will take on the following roles: Scientific Expert (or Technical Lead, TL) and Project Leader (or Entrepreneurial Lead, EL).

The Scientific Expert is usually a senior researcher, Lecturer, Professor, Research Fellow or Research Director (occasionally a post-doc) who has supervised the development of the technology and has a deep understanding of the field overall.

Project Leaders must study the technology’s market context and be able to lead a company if the team decides to go further. Their role is to turn the technology into a product that meets user needs. They can be a permanent researcher, a post-doc, a PhD student or an external member. They should be involved in the technology’s development and understand its context.

When applying, roles must be very clearly defined for each team member. The context and the relationship between team members are also key. For teams of more than three, each person should clearly justify their involvement.

Does one of the team members have to have a background in business?

No, it isn’t necessary.

I do not have a project, can I still participate?

Yes, but as an independent candidate (classes only).

Is it absolutely necessary that a permanent researcher participates in the project?

In the case that projects are a spin-off of a public research lab, it is important that the senior researcher who supervised the project be involved with the team. Indeed, their involvement is an important factor in the future success of the company if it is created. They will act as the bridge between the company and the laboratory and their support will be vital.

Do I need to be French to participate?

No, the program is open to participants of all nationalities, as long as they agree to regularly attend the sessions (physically or remotely).

What language is the program delivered in?

The program is mainly taught in English to allow anyone to participate. In some cases, interactions with instructors, mentors and other teams can also be in French.

What is the application process?

Applications for the ninth, October 2022 – February 2023 cohort are open from June 20th, 2022 to September 21st, 2022.

Applications can be submitted on the website: www.deeptechfounders.com/

You must be authorized by the Intellectual Property rights holder and fill out the application questionnaire to apply.

I am an industry researcher, can I participate?

Yes, of course. We recommend that you speak with your manager and your HR service to validate your participation in Deeptech Founders. It is possible we may already be in contact with your company, so do not hesitate to reach out to us to find the right person to contact in your organization.

What are the selection criteria?

Each project is judged based on three important elements:

  1. The team: its motivation, team spirit and its potential
  2. The technology’s potential
  3. The ecosystem’s support for your project (lab director, supervisor, IP holder)


Do participating teams interact with one another?

We have made sure that teams can help each other, discuss their difficulties and discoveries, etc. during the feedback sessions in the “Outside the Lab” phase of the program. Moreover, networking time is planned after each session. Do not forget, one of the key takeaways from the six-month program is developing one’s network.

What if I cannot physically attend a session?

We film and live stream all the sessions in order to accommodate the teams that are not in Paris. You will also have access to the videos after the sessions if you need to listen to them again.

In previous sessions we welcomed teams from all regions of France and abroad (eg. the U.K., New-Zealand) during the program. On average less than 50% of the teams are based in Paris.

What makes Deeptech Founders different from other programs?

Deeptech Founders values practical experience and learning-by-doing. There is no better way to discover entrepreneurship than to do it yourself! Moreover, the program gives teams a lot of support, thanks to dedicated operating partners who are available at any time to provide advice and help teams progress. Deeptech Founders is also only dedicated to deeptech projects, so all participants will share the same questions and problem that you will face.

How much time will I need to dedicate to the program?

Even though the program is designed to let participants continue their normal activities, it’s important to allocate as much free time as possible during the day, in the evenings, and weekends to your project. This is why support from your superiors, your HR service, and your lab director is vital. You should also be able to allocate two days of leave for the bootcamp. For the “Outside the Lab” phase, feedback sessions are carried out in late afternoons and interviews can take place anytime during the day, depending on your schedule.

What are the deadlines to participate?

Applications for the fall 2020 program open on June 8, 2020, and close September 20th, 2020.

What language is the program delivered in?

The program is mainly taught in English to allow anyone to participate. In some cases, interactions with instructors, mentors and other teams can also be in French.


How does Deeptech Founders deal with conflicts of interest between mentors and teams?

Mentors and teams will be warned ahead of time if there is overlap. If a team is not comfortable sharing information with certain mentors, then mentors will not be given access to it. We also set in place a non disclosure agreement at the start of the program.

What happens if two teams are competitors?

Even though this case is unlikely, we will make provisions so that the two teams do not need to overlap.

Does Deeptech Founders claim IP rights on our proceeds?

No, we do not.

How is project confidentiality managed?

You are responsible for your project. In most cases, evaluating your project’s potential does not require you to share confidential information. However, DF can sign confidentiality agreements with your institution to protect your interactions with us. We recommend you focus your interactions with other teams on the skills you acquired and things you learned throughout the program. Operating Partners will also provide advice on how to manage confidentiality during interviews.

How do you interact with technology licensing offices?

Our goal is to work in harmony with the technology licensing offices and actively communicate with them. If you have not been in contact with your relevant TLO, we can help you arrange discussions with the right contact.


As a TTO, how do I make sure you are not negatively affecting my activity?

We recommend teams to meet their TTO and share their intention to participate in Deeptech Founders in advance. The objective of the program is to provide researchers with the tools to evaluate technology potential, improve their understanding of the ecosystem, and facilitate their interactions with you. The end-goal is not so much to push researchers into starting their own companies but rather for them to constructively assess their projects and whether there is a real commercial potential.

What will I get from the program as a participant?

You can expect three major benefits from the program:

  • First, you will develop your network in deeptech by interacting with investors, entrepreneurs, other researchers, and key players in industry.
  • Next, you will develop skills analyzing the market potential of technologies and developing products.
  • Ultimately, this six-month program will provide you with a clear understanding of your project’s roadmap. The program will guide you in your decision to either stop and move onto something else, continue working on the science, or launch a company to commercialize the technology.
Can you help me commercialize my technology?

We have no intention of replacing your technology transfer office. Deeptech Founders is a training program, we wish to provide you with the tools to commercialize the technology on your own if you decide to launch a business.

If you do not have a technology transfer office to refer to (individual inventor, intellectual property rights are your own, startup), do not hesitate to send us an email at contact@deeptechfounder.com to see how we can help.

As a lab director, why should my teams participate?

Your teams will develop their network and will take advantage of this in the context of European or national calls for project proposals (ANR, FUI, etc). Moreover, the program could be a source of industrial collaborations with our corporate partners or other startups from the program. Researchers in your team will also gain valuable competencies in partnership negotiation, calls for projects application, particularly when it comes to arguing in favor of their project’s impact. Finally, the program will ensure time and effort are no longer spent on projects with little or no market potential.

Do I need to create a company after completing the program?

The goal of Deeptech Founders is not to convert 100% of the participants into entrepreneurs. The decision of whether to start a company or not lies entirely in your hands. Whatever your decision turns out to be, you will always have access to the program’s network in the future.

Why should I sponsor a program?

Being a sponsor is an efficient way to identify the next high-potential projects well before they appear on the market. You will have the opportunity to meet future collaborators who will help you grow your company. We have already planned for themed cohorts (mobility, diagnostics, etc.) or using the program to help you evaluate the unexploited IP in your portfolio. For any sponsorship enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at contact@deeptechfounders.com.

As a company, why should I send participants to the Deeptech Founders program?

The program is a mean of rewarding your best collaborators by letting them tap into an external network and experience a different environment. Additionally, this is an efficient way to test the potential of new high-potential projects without suffering from the confirmation bias that often takes place when environments are too homogeneous.


Why create Deeptech Founders?

We launched Deeptech Founders because there is a big gap between research and entrepreneurship. Researchers often do not have the means themselves to analyze whether or not it is worthwhile to start a company and rely on third-parties. Deeptech Founders aims to solve this by providing researchers the tools to evaluate their technology’s potential and help gain a real understanding of what is involved in founding a science-based startup.

What is the link between Deeptech Founders and Hello Tomorrow?

Deeptech Founders was created by some of the founding members of Hello Tomorrow, in partnership with Bpifrance. The objective of Deeptech Founders is to accompany the French and worldwide deeptech ecosystem with three offers: acceleration, training, and ecosystem interactions (co-working space, events and seminars)

What inspired the program?

For over 10 years, the founding members of Deeptech Founders have been active in the scientific and entrepreneurial ecosystems. We have packed in a good part of what a founder will face over the course of their startup journey in the program, drawing from international best practices to build something that fits the European context.

What is the role of the operating partners?

Operating Partners have three missions. First, they will accompany you throughout the program and introduce you to the ecosystem: mentors, investment funds, industrialists, etc. In addition, they will provide an outsider’s perspective and prevent you from falling into confirmation biases. Finally, operating partners are there to transmit the tools and fundamentals required for you to evaluate projects.

What is the role of mentors?

Mentors are entrepreneurs or industry leaders who share their experiences around various topics related to creating and growing a technology-based company. They provide their field expertise and knowledge of the issues at hand.

What is the cost of the program?

Academic institutions & startups : the program costs €6500 per person for the two first team members and €2500 after. Independent participants are charged €3500.

Other companies : the program costs €9500 per person.

All prices are excl. VAT

How can I finance the program?

Academic scientist, PhD student, post-doc, etc: you should try to get support from your lab or tech transfer office to co-finance your participation to the program. Most of them are aware of the program and its benefits. Deeptech Founders teams will do their best to find sponsors to diminish the cost.Deeptech Founders can also be financed through the i-PhD program.

How is Bpifrance involved in the program?

Bpifrance is a key partner. They help design the modules, select candidates, and provide teams with access to their network and expertise, particularly on the financial aspects.

Whom should I contact to discuss my project’s potential?

Do not hesitate to reach out to contact@deeptechfounders.com for any questions.

Will Deeptech Founders qualify as training in my company?

Yes it might, depending on your employers. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We will guide you through the process dealing with your HR services.


ℹ️ About us

⚙️ Program



🎓 Alumni

🧠 Mentors

📬 News

Deeptech Founders

📬 contact@deeptechfounders.com

Changing the world, one science-founder at a time

© 2020, Collective Ventures