R42 Institute Founder Program


Deep Tech, AI and Science Founders Program

You have an idea, but no one to help you prototype it. We want to help you with it.

R42 will bring your ideas to life. We want to look at the very earliest stage of ideas, likely when there are only one or two founders, no prototype. This is not an accelerator - we want to jump in and help found the company with you. 

For an equity stake, we will join with you in developing, ideating and strategically positioning resources to help get your idea funded quickly, leveraging knowledge and resources that the R42 Institute will provide, with the R42 Founder, Dr. Ronjon Nag personally involved. As a result, the initial cohort will be one to two companies only, and unlike incubators or accelerators, R42 will have a long-term involvement in the companies.

Nowadays, finding team members when the company is still at the idea stage is hard. Admitted Founders will have access to R42 Fellows – human capital from top tier universities from the R42 Fellowship Program who are matched and request to join your project.

Individuals will be guided through a process of intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of innovative companies, compressing a years’ worth of learning-by-doing into a few months. At the end of the program, individuals will be expected to ultimately build an MVP and Business Model, and will have the opportunity to pitch to R42 and other investors for an investment.

Our goal is to get your idea ready to be funded in 6-12 months.

You will have a great start and reputational advantage to your project until it is ready to be spun out into an independent venture. With many successful endeavours under R42’s belt – your project will be very attractive to talent, partners and investors.

Application Criteria:

  1. Early-stage startup idea or a project – this could be an idea you have formulated independently or completed as part of your undergraduate final year project, Master’s individual project or PhD project (if involving university intellectual property, check with your academic advisor).

  2. Must involve Deep Tech/Science component

  3. Location: US or UK

  4. Open to those who are about to graduate or have graduated


  1. Bespoke, co-building resources, such as R42 fellows, and knowledge tools

  2. One-on-one participation by Dr. Ronjon Nag and R42 Institute mentors and advisors

  3. Education, taught by Dr. Ronjon Nag and guest lecturers

  4. Introduction to AI

  5. Design Thinking workshops

  6. Regular demo days internally and externally presenting to customers, partners and investors


  1. Talent placement 

  2. R42 fellows and mentors (free of charge but subject to availability) will be placed with projects for a minimum of 8 weeks (who can continue, or be replaced with rotational fellows) who could potentially become “early employees” with startups that get spun-out

  3. Dedicated, as well as rotating mentors from industrialists to academics, for a long-term productive relationship 

  4. AI educational material – live and recorded classes taught by Dr. Ronjon Nag, and guest lecturers

  5. Regular talks on topics such as Design Thinking in Product Management, and many others, to foster learning and progress

  6. Slack and Mural workspaces 


  1. When a startup is spun out, R42, as a co-builder, will retain an agreed-upon percentage equity depending on at what stage the company is spun out

  2. Potential grant capital

  3. Continued in kind R42 in-kind venture building services

  4. Should the idea not reach investability by a 26 week check point, or R42 opts not to match the incoming investment, the participants may part ways with no R42 equity ownership, or agree to continue for another 6 months. In addition R42 may decline to proceed to have the company in the program at 8 weeks, 16 week check points with no R42 equity ownership


  1. Application Open: Rolling

  2. Start Date: January 1, April 1, July 1, October 1

  3. Duration: 6 months, with a mid-point check-in after 3 months

  4. Commitment: 20 hours per week during university, full-time during holidays or if already graduate; lecture and meetings attendance is mandatory

Next Steps:

  1. Apply

  2. Finalists will be interviewed by Dr. Ronjon Nag and the R42 Institute team

About R42 Institute:

R42 Institute aims to create a paradigm shift in democratizing AI/deep science. R42 creates and partners with entrepreneurs and companies developing self-sustaining cutting-edge AI and deep science technologies, and forming partnerships with the foremost entrepreneurial scientists at the earliest stages and leading research and academic institutions. Our Leadership Team and Advisors collectively have an exceptional track record in AI and deep science. We have built a unique ecosystem, with the aim of always helping, informing, helping each other to succeed, contributing to our culture and state of the art research. We are picking a set of people that we want to make very successful. Based in Silicon Valley and UK.

About R42 Institute:

Dr. Ronjon Nag is an inventor and entrepreneur. He is a founder and advisor/board member of multiple start-ups. His companies have been sold to Apple, BlackBerry, and Motorola. He has been awarded the Mountbatten Medal in the Royal Institution by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and has been winner (Bounce Imaging-Board) of the $1m Verizon Powerful Answers Award.He has been a pioneer of smartphones and the 'app stores' they depend on. He has worked on neural networks, touch screens, mobile search, voice recognition, text prediction and handwriting recognition. He has a Ph.D. from Cambridge, an M.S from M.I.T and a B.Sc. from Birmingham in the UK. Additionally he is a Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute Interdisciplinary Fellow based at the Stanford Center for Language and Information (CSLI).