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How much funding do Labs companies receive?

None. Labs is not an investment fund and will not invest cash nor take an equity stake.

What sorts of companies do you accept into Labs?

We look at technology-oriented companies, typically these are web-based or other software companies, but we will consider companies that don’t quite fit that mould as well. We’re also looking for companies that can have a worldwide reach. Specifically, we don’t accept consultancies or other local service oriented companies.

Who’s behind the programme and why are you doing this?

BBC Worldwide created Labs to promote and showcase emerging digital media and technology companies within the UK. During the six (6) month programme Labs will work closely with selected companies with the objective of helping them strike a commercial partnership with BBC Worldwide.

Do you accept companies that are competitive with each other?


Is my company “too far along” or not far enough to apply to Labs?

Participating companies should ideally have a commercial product with early customer traction and an aggressive growth strategy. Labs will also consider companies with working prototypes on the verge of launch if they can provide sufficient proof of concept and market potential.

Do I have to be there for the entire 6 month period?

No. It’s your company so you can come and go as you see fit. But we do require that you have a presence during the programme. This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided.

Do I have to stay in London when the programme ends?

No. It’s your company, so you’ll live where you want to.

Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the UK? Can you help with Visa / immigration issues?

Labs accepts only UK-registered companies into the programme. All founders will need to be able to work in the UK during the six (6) month period.

What does Labs provide? Office space, Internet, legal, hosting, etc?

Labs provides office space, Internet, and access to meeting rooms for the founders at the BBC Television Centre in White City, London.

How can we get funded after Labs ends?

Labs plans to organise an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists will check out your technology and listen to your pitch.

Can you tell me more about the networking and educational opportunities?

We plan to hold informal events with a theme and invite our mentors to speak on a relevant topic. These will be presented by highly successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, legal experts, venture capitalists, investment bankers, etc. Sometimes, we’ll just organize a brief talk with Q&A by a CEO or CTO of a well-known local startup. Top executives and technical executives from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and more visit and provide early feedback and opportunities to our companies. All of these sessions will be very informal and give you plenty of time to interact with the mentors personally.

What if my company doesn’t ultimately succeed?

Well, at least you tried. Because not just anyone is accepted into the Labs programme, you’ll have an impressive resume item for your next gig that will look way better than almost anything else you could have spent your time doing. And you will have met a large number of smart and well-connected people who can help you tremendously with whatever you do next.

What sort of control am I giving up by joining the programme?

None. We don’t take equity, board seats or anything that compromises your control.

How many people can be on my team to be accepted into Labs?

We are flexible on the number of people in the company, however, as have space restraints at the TVC, we aim to supply up to three desks per team.

Where will we live while we’re there?

That’s up to you – we don’t provide a place to live.

How do you choose which companies to accept into the programme and to fund?

We will choose great founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team and the synergies of the product with our core businesses.

Is my age a factor in your selection process?

No, so long as you are over the age of 18.

Do I need to send in a business plan?

Nope. Just fill out the application and we will contact you with more details.

When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?

30th September 2016 at 11:59pm BST.

Where is the Labs office and what’s it like?

You are in luck! We have a great office at the BBC TVC in White City. We provide the desks, internet and you can take advantage of the rest. It’s an entirely open office; even our CEO sits at an open desk like everyone else.

I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?

We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas and IP but we will not sign NDAs for practical reasons. Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.

My team outsources software development. Are we still qualified to apply?


Is Labs an incubator?

No. We are more like a business accelerator but even that name is a bit lacking.

Will you set up Labs in other countries?

We hope so. Once we get some traction in the UK, we will set our sights on the U.S. and Asia.

What criteria will you use to decide which companies to invite?

As we review applications we are going to focus on the following questions:

  • How BIG is the idea?
  • How big is the market opportunity?  
  • Can you complete a commercial deal with BBC Worldwide within 6 months?
  • Is the team comprised of bright, capable, enthusiastic people with whom we can work?

What is expected of me?

We want you to stay focused and work hard to build your prototype or market-ready product. We also hope that you will be open to our ideas and suggestions. Other than that, we want you to enjoy running your company!

Will you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

No, we don’t sign NDAs. We will do our best to protect your IP but ultimately, our reputation in the community speaks for itself.

I still have more questions. What do I do?

Check our BBC Worldwide page or email us at xxxx we are also on Twitter xxxx

What industries does Labs focus on?

Labs is looking for early-stage digital media companies focused on the intersection of technology and media, based in the UK but with a global reach. We welcome a broad range of companies from web applications, gaming, virtual worlds, mobile, advertising technologies, advanced video applications, connected TV, community and collaborative software and CRM, to name a few.

What is the deadline for applying to Labs?

All completed applications must be received by 30th September 2016 midnight BST. But don’t worry; if you don’t make it in for this round, we will have another one in six (6) months.

How will Labs companies be selected?

Our Advisory Board will review all applications and select up to eighteen (18) of the top ones for in-person interviews. The eighteen (18) selected companies will be given ten (10) minutes to pitch their companies followed by a 30-minute Q&A. The final six (6) companies will be announced on 21st October 2016.

When will interviews take place?

Companies will be contacted for in-person interviews between 3rd and 18th October 2016.

If I’ve already participated in an incubator, can I still apply?

By all means, yes. We aren’t interested in taking an equity stake, so that’s not a problem. We just want to help accelerate your growth potential with a commercial deal. If you are currently in an incubator programme you might want to wait till it’s finished but it’s not a prerequisite.

How is Labs different from Public Service Connected Studio?

Labs works closely with BBC Future Media, the creators of the Connect Studio, however, they remain two distinct programs with different objectives. Whilst the Connect Studio focuses on incubation of new projects, Labs is geared toward the acceleration of existing businesses with an eye on commercialization.

Can I apply to both the Connect Studio and Labs?

We see Labs as a natural extension of the Connected Studio. So in theory, a company or project that has been through the Connected Studio programme and has plans to commercialize the product will be a solid candidate for the Labs programme. You are of course able to apply to both programs at any time, just remember that our selection criteria and objectives are different.

If I have already participated in the Connected Studio, can I apply to Labs and does that give me a better chance of being accepted?

You can apply to Labs at any time. Although participation in the Connected Studio will not necessarily give you a better chance of getting into Labs, chances are that we will already know about you and you will be on our radar - always a good thing.

Is a commercial deal guaranteed as part of becoming a Labs company?

No. Participating in Labs does not guarantee a commercial contract. However, our main point of differentiation amongst the various incubators and accelerators already out there is the increased ability to partner with BBC Worldwide.

Can I apply if my company exists in other countries including but not limited to the UK?

Yes. So long as you are a UK-registered business with offices in the UK.

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