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Imperial Founders’ Pledge: WCID CEOs support future innovators

White City Innovation District’s Henrik Hagemann – co-founder and CEO of cleantech pioneer Puraffinity – and Alex Bond, co-founder and CEO of foodtech innovator Fresh Check, have pledged support for future student innovators and their start-ups as part of Imperial College London’s Founders’ Pledge Programme.

Imperial College London is the first UK university to launch a Founders’ Pledge programme, which will see alumni entrepreneurs who have benefited from the College’s support making an active commitment to give back through philanthropy when they are in a position to do so. The Founders’ Pledge model has led to transformational gifts to other world-leading universities, and Imperial College London entrepreneurs – including those from White City Innovation District – are now pledging this key philanthropic support for future generations of innovators to help their businesses take off.

Imperial College London start-ups generated £134 million of investment in 2020-21, with £91 million raised by students alone. Many of Imperial’s student-founded businesses have gone on to achieve phenomenal success – including $1 billion virtual reality company Improbable, founded by Imperial graduate Peter Lipka; Magic Pony, founded by Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang, which was bought by Twitter for around $150 million, and AI company Tractable, founded by graduate Alex Dalyac, which has been valued at $1 billion.

Imperial offers a unique network of support for student entrepreneurs at all stages. The Enterprise Lab provided almost £200,000 of grant funding to student start-up businesses last year, alongside mentoring, training and access to investor networks. Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (ICAH) – based in White City – provides student inventors with free access to specialist manufacturing equipment and training to turn their ideas and IP into breakthrough prototypes.

“Imperial has supported me and Fresh Check for the entirety of Fresh Check’s existence. Imperial’s network, support and connections to other start-ups have all been fundamental. The whole reason we created a start-up was to effect change and being able to encourage other people to do that is inspiring.”

Alex Bond, co-founder and CEO of Fresh Check

You can read more about how the Imperial Founders’ Pledge is supporting the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs here: