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Web Science Institute

Z21 Funding Calls

Z21 Innovation Fund | Apply for pre-seed funding to develop your startup ideas


The Z21 Innovation Fund is a collaboration between the Web Science Institute (WSI) at the University of Southampton and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  The mission of the Fund is to accelerate University of Southampton Web startups towards investment and rapid growth and create high-tech jobs in the Solent region.

The Z21 Innovation Fund is seeking applications from potential ventures to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), achieve product market fit, and gain traction with users.  Applicants can apply for funding up to £6,300 for a 3-month MVP Project.  At the end of this period, MVP Projects will present to the Z21 Grant and Investment Panel and will have the opportunity to apply for Pre-Seed funding up to £31,500.  The award of an MVP grant does not guarantee progression to the Pre-Seed stage: progression is determined by the Grant and Investment Panel, based on the success of the MVP stage.

Future Worlds will offer acceleration throughout the programme and projects will be invited to a Demo Day to pitch to investors.  Full details of this support is in the document below.


To apply for MVP funding, please download and read the Technical Guidance for Applicants (see below) and complete the Application Form (also below) and return to Susan Davies at The call is now closed.

There will be further Calls in 2019.

We are only able to accept applications from students or staff studying or working at the University of Southampton.  Note that students who have graduated may apply within one year of graduating.

Further information

If you have any questions about the application, the stages of the Z21 Innovation Fund, the eligibility criteria, and the operating processes, please contact Ben Clark at

Gain initial funding to develop your idea and benefit from £150,000 worth of support to accelerate your digital innovation.

Funding: Stage one, MVP – £6,300 to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Stage two (subject to successfully completing stage one), £31,500 pre-seed funding to develop the startup

Matched University in-kind support: c.£37,000 value

Google cloud credits: up to £80,000

Opportunity for further partner benefits worth up to £1m

Future Worlds acceleration activity

−        Mentoring on campus and a network of founders, executives and investors

−        Startup video production

−        Profile on the Future Worlds web platform

−        Access to the Future Worlds Accelerator Space

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