Transforming PhD students into Deep Tech Startup Founders

Riam Kanso
May 15 · 2 min read

Conception X is a venture builder that creates deep tech startups from PhDs, during the degree, in the university. It has captured the imagination of students, universities, corporates, investors, and politicians. If you want to be a mentor on the programme, please register here. If you have wider interests in our mission and vision, please email us.

Every once in a while, I think about my PhD thesis. I feel sorry for it, as it is probably gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in Oxford. The truth is that some PhD students, with a deep passion for science and/or engineering, are just not cut out to be academics. It is a noble and beautiful career path; but it is not for everyone. Neither is joining the corporate world.

Some PhD students have founder DNA. They are driven to transform their research into something new, tangible, and exciting. But they either do not know it yet, or do not have the opportunity to explore it in a way that does not risk their career and relationships.

This is why I created Conception X. To give the opportunity to some of the brightest PhDs to become deep tech startup founders. To create something new, to be leaders, and to have a positive impact on society and the economy.

Conception X gives them an assembly line of resources to commercialise their research on the fly. We want to offer them the best chance of exploring entrepreneurship in the richness and safety of university environment. Fundamentally, we want to transform what a PhD can look like. The world is changing, our economy is transforming; and education has to change with it.

On Friday May 10, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Conception X. We are two cohorts in; with some beautiful results; from products created, clients signed, and capital raised. Look at our cohort 2 brochure here.

I am very proud of our student teams; who are creating deep tech products that have every chance of changing the world for the better; whether in early cancer diagnosis, quantum machine learning, and virtual reality for education.

This is a movement; and we are inviting you to join it.

Riam Kanso

Written by

CEO | Conception X | Creating Deep Tech Startups From PhDs | Neuroscience PhD | @riam_kanso