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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Z21 Innovation Fund


Z21 is an initiative founded by the Web Science Institute that is proposed to drive innovation into the real world.  Its maiden project is a collaboration between the WSI 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 will be seeking applications from potential ventures to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), achieve product market fit, and gain traction with users.  Applicants will be able to 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 Investment Panel based on the success of the MVP stage.

All successful projects will receive support from Future Worlds, a University of Southampton on-campus startup incubator which has a valuable external network of mentors, investors and experts.  Future Worlds will offer acceleration, helping projects with value proposition, market product fit, and making introductions to mentors.  This support will continue through the Pre-Seed stage with help to script, film and edit a professional pitch video.  At the end of the 6-month Pre-Seed Funding stage, projects will be invited to a Demo Day to pitch to investors.

The first Call for applications was announced in October 2017, with two further Calls in 2018.  We are only able to accept applications from students or staff studying or working at the University of Southampton. 

If you would like further information about Z21, please contact Susan Davies, Z21 Coordination Manager, at

2019 Funding Call - Find out more and apply

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