Funding Lab.

Applications for our next Funding Lab programme have now closed.

Information about the next programme will be announced soon on our Forward Fortnightly newsletter.

Applications for Funding Lab in April 2023 have now closed.

Subscribe to our Forward Fortnightly newsletter for more information about the next programme.

Looking to get VC ready? You're in the right place.

Funding Lab is a fast-paced, two part programme for founders looking to raise investment from a VC.

Join us to tune your pitch and prepare for a raise with straight-talking, actionable learnings direct from VC investors and industry specialists.

A lean, action-oriented VC funding crash course for ambitious founders.


How can Funding Lab help you?

No-fluff, action-orientated training.

We know that VC funding can be confusing, protracted and daunting for some. That’s why we’ve curated our Funding Lab programme. To give founders a head-start on their funding journey.

Connect with our network.

During Funding Lab, you will meet our team of investors, other entrepreneurs and startup specialists. You’ll also get the chance to collaborate with our Studio and Investment teams via the mentoring programme.

Built to help you secure VC funding.

This free, highly selective programme is designed to give open access to founders of all backgrounds who are looking to raise their first venture capital round.

Time to put the learning into practice.

The Pitch Event is an opportunity for you to apply the learning from the workshops and receive invaluable feedback from the Forward team about your progress.

Rated outstanding by our last cohort.


5 focused sessions, crafted to help you raise.

Our Funding Lab programme includes a full day workshop and an afternoon pitch event at our offices in London.  

Session 1: How do VC's assess deals?

Get the inside scoop on what a day in the life of a VC looks like. Understanding how the process works will enable you to make sure you stand out.

Session 2: Growing your VC network.

What are the most effective ways that founders can build their VC network? Our investors share their top tips on how to land an introduction.

Session 3: Startup finance 101.

Step into the world of venture returns, cap tables and equity. Learn about the core finance metrics that a VC will want to see.

Session 4: Differentiate your narrative.

A strong brand narrative is key to a successful fundraise. Run by our marketing team at Forward, you'll learn about how make sure your pitch is one that VCs will remember.

Session 5: Perfecting your pitch.

What makes a good pitch? In this session, our investors will dive into the do's and don'ts when crafting your deck and pitch for VCs.

Funding Lab pitch event

One week after our workshop day, you will be invited back to pitch to the Forward investment team and the Funding Lab cohort.

Funding Lab was an amazing experience to be involved in.

We were part of a group made up of some brilliant start-ups and mentored by some of the best investors in their field at Forward Partners. In such a short space of time, there was a wealth of knowledge shared by investors and start-up founders alike. Knowledge and experience that will be carried through to what Orders Made Simple is doing now and into the future.

Stephen, Founder and CEO Orders MADE SIMPLE

Funding Lab provided real, actionable pointers on how to go about structuring my pitch and fundraise.

I found the Funding Lab sessions incredibly helpful, and also appreciated the supportive and collegiate atmosphere among the Forward team and fellow founders!

Cherie Yang, Founder and CEO VISUALIST

Funding Lab was an excellent experience that added a lot of value to Abaton.

The presentations during the training day were packed with behind-the-scenes insights, the fireside chat with 2 portfolio founders was full of wisdom, and we got exceptionally helpful feedback after our pitch. As my co-founder put it afterwards: "You couldn't pay to get that".

dylan dryden, Co-founder and COO ABATON
Our criteria

What we're looking for.

We're looking out for traits that make a great founder and encourage founders of all backgrounds to apply to Funding Lab.


You’ll be passionate or knowledgable about a problem your business is trying to solve.


You’ll be able to commit to the programme. You're expected to give a lot to get the most out of Funding Lab to have the best chance of follow on investment.


You'll have an initial product idea or an MVP and are looking to raise in the next 6-12 months.

Expertise & knowledge

You’ll likely have domain expertise or will have made an effort to be knowledgeable about your space.

join us

Apply now

Applications are open until Monday 13th March 2023.


Funding Lab FAQ's

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 with an initial product idea or an MVP. If you are in the very early idea stages without a product idea just yet, you are still very welcome to apply.

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. 

Where will the sessions be run?

The sessions will be run in-person in London.

Can I participate in the Founder Programme if I’m still working full time?

Yes, but 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.

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?

Yes, however as the programme is in-person, you will be required to be in London for the two main sessions of the programme. Please note that Forward Partners only invests in companies that are based in the UK.

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?

Funding Lab is completely free for participants.

Do you take equity?

No, we don’t take any equity for participation in the programme, although our goal is to make pre-seed investments in successful participants.

I don’t live near London - how can I be accommodated?

You will be required to be in London for the two 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?

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.

Can I apply for Funding Lab and Office Hours?

You can apply to both Funding Lab and Office Hours, however, if you are accepted onto Funding Lab, we won’t accept your Office Hours application.

Who will be my mentor?

Your mentor will be a member of the Forward investment team. You will have the opportunity to speak with multiple members of our Studio team during the Funding Lab sessions.

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 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.