A free, focused programme for first-class founders.
At Forward, we believe in giving entrepreneurs their best shot at success.
But we know that going from an initial idea to something that is ready to scale is hard. That sometimes even the best early stage founders need support and advice to transform their idea into a great business.
Through the Founders Programme
, we will share our expertise and support with a small group of idea-stage founders to help them make the leap from idea to business.
This free, highly selective programme
is designed to give open access to founders of all backgrounds who are considering starting a company. We’ll teach you how to evaluate startup ideas, what investors are looking for and how to raise your first venture capital round. If your startup idea is a good fit for us, we hope to also be to fund you at the end.
have gone onto make exceptional progress with Kate Pljaskovova receiving pre-seed funding from us, Rich Serunjogi landing a place at world-class accelerator Y Combinator and Sam Murphy of Earthscope joining Insurtech Gateway.
Fast, focused venture development.
Join us for 5 deep-dive workshops delivered over 5 weeks. Each workshop is led by an expert from the Forward Partners’ team. These sessions will be supplemented with two mentorship sessions with a member of the investment team, as well as exercises to complete between each session.
Workshop 1: Customer Development
Get an introduction to the programme, and dive into the fundamentals of venture capital, how to research your idea, how to talk to customers and how to validate your solution.
Workshop 2: Lean Canvas
Construct a lean canvas for the solution you have identified, and understand the key assumptions in your business.
Workshop 3: Growth Marketing
Learn about growth marketing and how to implement growth marketing processes with real-life examples, find your first 10 customers and reach your wider customer base.
Workshop 4: Pitch Deck
Get clued up about how to craft and refine a great pitch deck.
Workshop 5: Fundraising
Learn about the fundraising process, tips & tricks and how investors evaluate entrepreneurs.
I’ve got an idea but I’m not ready to think about funding just yet.
This programme is best suited to founders who are looking to raise VC funding in the next 6 months. If you are in the very early idea stages, without a product idea just yet. We’d encourage you to apply anyway because you will automatically be enrolled into our online Founders Programme for early stage startups.
I’ve already started working on an idea/and have an early-stage product, can I apply?
Yes absolutely, we’d love to hear from you.
Can I participate in the Founder Programme if I’m still working full time?
Yes. However, you must be available to attend the two sessions in the programme. A full day of sessions and workshops and the pitch event. Side-hustles are encouraged but we believe the Founders who will benefit most from this programme are those who are in the early-stages of their business growth and working on their idea full-time.
Where will the sessions be run?
The sessions will be run in-person (hurray!) at our offices on Finsbury Square. Huckletree Shoreditch, Alphabeta Building, 18 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AH.
What can I expect from the sessions in the programme?
Each session will be highly interactive, combining instruction, conversation and activity. You will have an opportunity to ask your questions in the Q&A section at the end of each session.
Can I still apply if I am outside the UK?
Forward Partners only invests in companies that are based in the UK. As the programme is in-person, you will be required to be in London for the two main sessions of the programme.
What happens if I can’t make all of the sessions?
In order to get the most from the programme, it’s important that you are able to make both sessions in person. We are unable to accommodate virtual attendees to either session.
Is there any cost involved?
The Forward Funding Lab is completely free for participants.
Do you take equity?
No, we don’t take any equity for participation in the programme, although if your business is the right fit for Forward, we may schedule a conversation to discussed seed investment.
I don’t live near London - how can I be accommodated?
You will be required to be in London for the two main sessions of the programme. Whilst Forward Partners will not be covering any accommodation costs incurred, we can share local hotels with you if you are accepted onto the programme.
I have young children - how can I be accommodated?
We’ll happily provide a bursary to any parents for childcare. This bursary can cover your usual childcare arrangements at home, or alternatively you're welcome to look after your children during the session.If you have any specific childcare needs that may impact your ability to attend the sessions, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
I have a disability which means I may struggle to participate in the sessions - how can I be accommodated?
Please get in touch with us and we’ll work with you to find the best solution depending on your needs. Email Ann-Marie on firstname.lastname@example.org who can help make the relevant arrangements.
Can I apply for the Founders Programme and Office Hours?
You can apply to both the Founders Programme and Office Hours, however, if you are accepted onto the Founders Programme, we won’t accept your Office Hours application.
Who will be my mentor?
You will have the opportunity to speak with multiple members of our Studio team during the sessions.Your mentor will be a member of the Forward investment team and you’ll get two mentorships sessions. You will have the opportunity to speak with multiple members of our Studio team during the sessions.
Can I apply for the Founders Programme and Office Hours?
The purpose of the Founders Programme is to help founders formulate and then refine a business idea, therefore, isn’t suitable for seed-stage businesses. Seed stage companies should apply for investment via this link.You can apply to both the Founders Programme and Office Hours, however, if you are accepted onto the Founders Programme, we won’t accept your Office Hours application.
Can my co-founder/s attend too?
Unfortunately, we can only host one founder per company.
How does the programme finish?
You will leave the Pitch Event with some actionable, specific feedback about your pitch and deck. Our ambition is to invest in as many of the companies we believe are ready from the Funding Lab. If this isn’t the case for you, we will advise on what aspect of the business still needs some work and restart the conversation later down the line. We’re also more than happy to make introductions to other VCs if we don’t think we're good fit for the company.
When will I hear whether I’ve been successful?
We’ll get back to every applicant within 2 weeks.