PhD students sitting and talking at the Crick.

KQ Labs The programme and applications

KQ Labs is an intensive accelerator programme for startup teams in data-driven health. Applications for cohort #4 will open in May 2021.


Application criteria

The selection process will be open to start-ups who have:

  1. A focus on areas which have the potential to have a significant impact on health, and where use of data is a core part of the business model
  2. Two or more founders or team members
  3. A Minimum Viable Product, prototype or proof of concept
  4. An early stage company (pre-series A)
  5. A team based in the UK 
  6. The start-up’s legal entity must be UK-based

Applications will open in May 2021 for our fourth annual cohort of KQ Labs.

Guidance for applicants

When applications open, applicants will need to fill out a quick online form, submit a 2 minute video pitch, and submit a start-up deck of up to 15 slides covering:

  • The problem you are aiming to solve
  • Your solution 
  • Technology (including IP)
  • Market opportunity
  • Competitors, including other approaches to solving this problem
  • Business model - how you will make money and route to commercialisation 
  • Traction (what evidence do you have so far for interest in, or potential uptake of, your product? What funds, if any, have you raised so far?)
  • Your team 
  • Financials (what will you do with the KQ Labs funding? How much additional money will you need to achieve your key milestones?)
  • Roadmap and key milestones
  • Exit for investors


Logo for KQ Labs, the Crick's start-up accelerator.

What does the KQ Labs programme involve? 

The programme kicks off with three intensive days for the selected startup teams, which all of the startups are expected to attend. This is to allow the KQ Labs team to get to know the new startups so as to identify any gaps and mentoring needs.

This is followed by a five month programme with once-weekly workshops (generally on Wednesdays) and seminars covering topics such as fundraising, pitch training, business models, team building and leadership, scaling, intellectual property, regulatory aspects, market access (UK and internationally), and various aspects of access to data including ethics. We will also facilitate introductions and mentoring with a hand-picked network of experts, investors and corporates.

The programme culminates in a Demo Day in March, where the startups will pitch their ideas to potential investors and partners, including VCs, angel investors and pharma.


Do we have to participate for the whole five month period? 

Yes. This will give you the opportunity to take full advantage of the numerous acceleration opportunities, networking events and coaching. 

Do we have to attend in person?

No. Due to the pandemic, the core programme content will be delivered virtually, supplemented with in-person or hybrid networking opportunities if circumstances allow. The virtual delivery of the core programme is aimed to facilitate participation from companies all over the UK, and also to give people more certainty for planning purposes.

Do we have to be UK citizens? 

No, as long as your start-up's legal entity is based in the UK, and the founding team is living in the UK, you are welcome to apply.

Do you only accept data-driven health startups? 

Yes. The programme and all of its experts, mentors and network will be tailored towards data-driven health start-ups, who will most benefit from this programme.

Do you offer funding?

Yes, we offer £40,000 as a convertible loan with valuation at the next funding round.  

We don’t really need any funding at this point. Does it still make sense to apply? 

Yes, funding is only a small part of what the accelerator will provide.

We know that we will require much more substantial investment. Does it still make sense to apply? 

Yes. We’ll help you build a solid proof of concept to take to later stage investors, and help you with introductions.

We have already obtained some funding. Can we still apply? 

Yes. It’s great you have generated some investor traction already, as long as you are pre-Series A.

Our start-up’s activities are already advancing quite well. Is the KQ Labs Accelerator right for us? 

Companies who have started but are still at the early stage are an ideal candidate for our programme. We are a perfect fit for startups that haven’t already raised a Series A round from investors.

Can a single person apply for the programme? 

Our advice is that one-person startups are tough and you’re more likely to succeed with a co-founder or team of like-minded entrepreneurs.

The accelerator is intensive and both the CEO and scientific team will be put through their paces for the duration of the programme. We look for balanced teams who have a full range of skills.

We strongly advise you to seek co-founders or team members who balance your skill-set. However, even if you do not have a full team yet, it might still be worth emailing us a pitch deck so that you are on our radar for future programmes.

What happens at the end of the KQ Labs accelerator, am I on my own? 

No! So long as you have made good progress on your objectives and milestones, you will continue to be supported by our post-accelerator activities such as ongoing advice and coaching from our team of mentors, as well as introductions to potential investors, corporate partners and other useful contacts.

Questions about your application?

Get in touch with the team at

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