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Imperial College Business School

6-Week AI and Innovation Training For Startup Founders

Building Your AI Unicorn: Fast-Track Your Tech Startup

11 May 2022
Registration closes 17 May

Payment options

6-Week AI and Innovation Training For Startup Founders

Building Your AI Unicorn: Fast-Track Your Tech Startup

  • Length:
    6 weeks
  • Language:
  • Effort:
    7-10 hours per week, self-paced online learning
Your Next-Gen AI Accelerator

When humans innovate with AI, the results can be transformative: pharmaceutical companies finding new links between diseases and drugs, financial institutions detecting fraud before it happens, e-commerce giants enhancing the customer experience. AI is more than tech – it’s a promise of a healthier, fairer, more dynamic future.

For entrepreneurs, corporate innovators and startup-ecosystem business professionals, AI offers an exciting yet immense challenge. AI ventures inevitably encounter unique issues, like obtaining voluminous amounts of data and compiling the right mix of talent and teamwork to clean and secure it. Machine learning can yield meaningful insights, but only if you solve the cost-benefit problem of AI computational power. Supercomputers don’t grow on trees.

In this programme, David Shrier, Professor of Practice in AI & Innovation at Imperial College Business School, and Christopher Tucci, Professor of Digital Strategy & Innovation, Imperial College Business School, give you the foundational tools to accelerate your AI venture from prototype to product. A leader in UK tech startups, Imperial College Business School has the industry experts to help startup founders sidestep traps and secure funding.

The programme is an opportunity for leaders and innovators to gain immediate expertise in AI and learn how to leverage it for business success. By the end of the programme, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the AI startup ecosystem, a functional AI prototype, a plan to execute your venture and a road map for AI business success in any industry.

“This programme gives you what you need to master AI innovation by providing guided assistance to launch a new AI company or an AI innovation project inside an established company.”

David Shrier

Programme Director
Professor of Practice, AI & Innovation, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London

Is This Programme Right for You?

  • An entrepreneur looking to venture into the dynamic field of artificial intelligence.

  • A startup-minded intrapreneur leading emerging tech innovation within an organisation.
  • A C-suite executive or senior leader overseeing AI innovation and R&D.
  • A functional business head interested in exploring cross-business AI opportunities.
  • A corporate professional – product manager, marketer, sales executive, technologist – eyeing entrepreneurship as your next move.
  • A lawyer, accountant, consultant or professional services/advisor eager for insights into AI entrepreneurs and your AI clients.
  • A current or future SMB leader seeking innovative business transformations.
  • A business professional looking for upskill and career advancement opportunities driven by advancement in AI applications.
  • An investor or analyst seeking AI business analytics tools, perspectives on venture implications and a deeper understanding of investment feasibility.
  • A policymaker responsible for building and growing AI-based innovation tools.
  • A government advisor or regulator in risk management, venture promotion, competition enhancement or consumer protection looking to leverage data to protect against unintended consequences of AI.

Programme Content

Meet your instructors and international cohort members while engaging in your AI-enabled next-gen learning platform. Preview the programme content and capstone project, a concept for a new venture that aims to solve a problem with AI.

Explore types of AI technologies, their applications and their market potential:

  • Differentiate amongst expert systems, machine learning, deep learning and extended intelligence.
  • Understand privacy and security challenges of AI.
  • Apply methodologies to identify market-specific AI ventures.
  • Define your capstone project.

Dive into data for AI and apply innovation, ideation and planning techniques to an AI startup:

  • Understand the importance of data quality in AI systems.
  • Identify bias in data.
  • Use the 5 Rs of data to make decisions.
  • Apply tactical operating processes to stages of an AI startup.

Analyse competitive AI markets and architect strategic planning frameworks:

  • Quantify demand for your solution by identifying the market size and target audience.
  • Design a practical strategic plan to enable your new AI startup or an existing venture.
  • Analyse resource components to build a road map for your proposed solution.
  • Utilise techniques to pitch your solution internally or externally (“Hurry Up and Pitch”™ Clinic).

Reshape your plan to offset AI risks in the rapidly evolving AI environment:

  • Detect and correct algorithmic bias.
  • Contemplate ethical implications.
  • Consider labour and the future of work.
  • Navigate policy regulations.
  • Uncover hidden costs.

Examine the intricacies of the AI funding ecosystem as you prepare your venture for market:

  • Analyse motivations, benefits and processes of VC funding.
  • Evaluate early financing sources including grants, revenue and seed funding.
  • Discover alternative funding strategies, like including revenue-based funding (RBF), crowdfunding and corporate presales.

Present your idea and plan for the future:

  • Learn VC investment decision-making factors for early-stage startups.
  • Appraise long-term investment approaches from corporate boards.
  • Explore ways to scale your venture’s people, processes, products and growth.
  • Create and present a lightning pitch video for your AI venture.

What You Will Gain

Earn a certificate of participation issued by Imperial College Business School Executive Education demonstrating proof of knowledge.

Have access to a powerful professional network of proven global leaders, thinkers, strategists and influencers, plus a community of driven programme participants.


Possess dynamic new skills supported by an AI-driven learning platform, individual- and team-based programming, and individual success coaching.

Know coveted industry details from a market-driven curriculum designed and delivered to elite academic standards.

Your Programme Directors

David Shrier
Programme Director

Professor of Practice, AI & Innovation, Imperial College Business School,

Imperial College London


David is a globally recognised thought leader in technology and educational innovation. The portfolio of digital classes he created for MIT and University of Oxford has engaged more than 15,000 innovators in over 150 countries, and revolutionised the model for university short-course offerings. He is an Associate Fellow with Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and a Professor of Practice (AI & Innovation) with Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London. He previously was the first and only New Ventures Officer with MIT, where he also served as a Lecturer. David has published five books in the past five years focused on technology disruption, the three most recent of which with MIT Press or Little Brown. His latest book,Augmenting Your Career: How to Win at Work in the Age of AI, was published by Little Brown in April 2021.

Christopher Tucci
Programme Director

Professor of Digital Strategy &

Innovation, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London


Christopher L. Tucci is Professor of Digital Strategy & Innovation at Imperial College Business School. He was Professor of Management of Technology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he held the Chair in Corporate Strategy & Innovation. He was Dean of the College of Management from 2013-2018. In 2018, he was Visiting Thought Leader at CEIBS in Shanghai, China. He received the degrees of Ph.D. in Management from the Sloan School of Management, MIT; SM (Technology & Policy) from MIT; and BS (Mathematical Sciences), AB (Music), and MS (Computer Science) from Stanford University. He was an industrial computer scientist involved in developing Internet protocols and applying artificial intelligence tools.

Professor Tucci teaches courses in Design Thinking, Digital Strategy, and Innovation Management. His primary area of interest is in how firms make transitions to new business models, technologies, and organisational forms. He also studies crowdsourcing, Internetworking, and digital innovations. He has published articles in, among others, Academy of Management Review (AMR), Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Research Policy, Communications of the ACM, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Academy of Management Annals, and Journal of Product Innovation Management. His article with Allan Afuah, “Crowdsourcing as a solution to distant search,” won the Best Paper of 2012 for AMR. He has served in leadership positions in the Academy of Management (AOM) and the Strategic Management Society.

How You Will Learn:

  • Digital videos or audio content, augmented by material created exclusively for the course
  • Real-life examples that place information in context to help you understand how the concepts delivered in the programme material can be applied to your work environment
  • Quizzes and exercises designed specifically to help you understand and retain new information
  • AI coaching to improve your and your team’s collaboration
  • Dialogue with expert instructors and your peers via discussion forums and small group sessions
  • Simulations and other carefully crafted interactions to provide an engaging learning experience

Want to Know More?

Using live interactive tools and AI, Esme Learning is transforming the experience of group collaboration through its proprietary, breakthrough technology platform.

The most effective learning experiences occur in small groups who are engaged in problem solving, creative tasks, or complex decision making. In an online work environment, when people lack conversational cues, it’s hard for teams to build rapport and be successful.

Esme Learning’s platform changes the way team members interact in real-time, while video calls are happening. It uses AI to analyse online conversation dynamics and provide real-time personalised feedback to each participant to ensure that the exchange of ideas is not dominated by a single person, and that the conversation is as inclusive as possible. Simple on-screen cues guide participants to more effective team interactions.

You may pay your course fees in one upfront payment via credit or bank card, or you may opt to split payment in two or three installments. A 5% administrative fee will be added to any split payments. Financing options are also available for select courses and programmes. Discounts are not included in financing options. For more information, schedule a call with a learning advisor.

Future Finance Student Loans
UK, EU and international learners who are UK residents may be eligible for private student loans. Learn more

Recognising that working executives require fast and efficient methods of upgrading their skills, Esme Learning has blended art and science to produce an online learning platform that drives results.

We leverage cognitive and neuroscience research, personalised and individualised success coaching, and next-generation artificial intelligence technologies to enhance the learning experience--resulting in a course completion rate that is 30x higher than our competitors.

Helping employees upgrade their skills benefits employers and employees alike. Many organisations offer tuition reimbursement programmes as it is easier to retain top talent, and investing in up-skilling can be more cost-effective than hiring new staff. For employees, taking advantage of your employer-sponsored tuition programmes is the perfect way to build skills while also building value for your company. For a sample letter to send to your employer requesting tuition reimbursement, please reach out to one of our course advisors.

As part of our commitment to your professional development, Esme Learning offers you up to a two-week period to change your course start date or request your money back if you’re not fully satisfied.

To qualify for a deferral of your course start date, or to cancel your enrolment and receive a refund of your course fee, your request would need to reach our Success Team before the end of Module 1. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

The Imperial Learning Experience


We create people-centric learning experiences. From conception through to delivery, we are guided by the principle that learning is a creative, personal and above all, human process. Our high quality, crafted learning environments are highly interactive, community-orientated and actively tutored. Our programmes offer an engaging experience designed to facilitate natural learning behaviours.


No compromises. Our online programmes offer the absolute equivalent of our campus-based programmes. They adopt the same rigorous academic standards, are delivered via our world-leading faculty and offer a comparable high-touch approach to the classroom experience.

The Esme Learning Way

Collaborative AI-enhanced learning

We teach executives as they work - in cross-functional teams. Learners participate in interactive simulations and team projects which reinforce applied learning and enhance collaboration and complex problem solving skills. If you are looking for an individually-paced course, this course is not for you.

improvement on completion rates compared to other online programmes