IOP PhD students win Lion’s Den Challenge 2014

The Graduate School is pleased to congratulate six PhD students from the IoP whose team CogniTracker recently won the top prize for best idea at this year’s Lion’s Den Challenge. Here’s what the team had to say of their experience:


“In October 2013 six neuroscience and neuroimaging PhD students from the IoP began to discuss entering the Lion’s Den challenge. Although motivations for entering the competition were varied, we all wanted to take on a new challenge with the hope of acquiring new skills along the way. In particular, we wanted something that a PhD in neuroscience doesn’t always afford, including the opportunity to learn about the business world and to develop an idea to full fruition.

So we set out on a 5 month journey of meetings, brain storming and business plan drafting that evoked a range of emotions and feelings, from excitement to frustration. Importantly, we initially had no experience in anything business, but we had big (admittedly, undirected) aspirations and so we headed to the twice-monthly workshops put on by the Lion’s Den programme, which guided us in everything from creation of an idea to taking it to market. Even our most anti-business team-member was soon won over, as it became clear that, besides a sizeable financial reward, a business can also be an excellent vehicle for doing good in the world.

Our idea is a self-monitoring health app called CogniTracker that potentially offers a research-led solution to aid in the early diagnosis of dementia in the general population and on a global scale. Our app will allow you to track your own performance, physiology and well-being by measuring visual movements, speech, touch and cognition. By this time it was already December, and over Christmas in an unbelievable team effort we put together a business plan that brought us the opportunity to pitch in the Lion’s Den challenge Grand Final. Yet more team-work followed and we all walked in with the knowledge that we had done our preparation and just had to execute the pitch smoothly (no pressure!).

Although the competition was tough and the other pitches excellent, the judges, to our surprise, announced our idea as the winner for Lion’s Den 2013/14. It has been a really exciting few weeks with everybody at the IoP offering us their congratulations and support for the future of the project.

We strongly encourage people to enter the Lion’s Den challenge, even if you do not have an idea yet. So if you gather the right people around you, be committed and critical – you are heading for success.”

Good Luck, the CogniTracker Team

Lion’s Den Challenge – 2013/14

The Lion’s Den Challenge is aimed at all students and staff at King’s College London.

The Challenge aims to transfer and develop research ideas into successful business plans, and bring together research and business to create successful ventures.

All that is needed is:

  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Enthusiasm for starting a business
  • Creative ideas
  • Motivation and desire to succeed

We are looking for those participants who have the creative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit but are perhaps lacking in business advice and vice versa.

If you don’t think you have the business skills, there’s no need to worry. We provide:

  • Training on business and commercial awareness
  • Networking and presentation skills
  • Answers to your questions on business
  • Chance to match up with business and research students at our networking sessions

The final workshop, focusing on taking your business to market is on Monday 25 November 2013, 6-9PM in Room G79, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus. RSVP to

The Lion’s Den Challenge is heavily focused on nurturing the development of entrepreneurial skills for all those students and staff trying to launch their own ventures.

We welcome all viable business ideas. If you believe your business could succeed, we want to help you get to the first stage!

The Lion’s Den Challenge is open to new ideas and spins off from previous businesses. This could range from having a ‘snail farm’ business to providing highly technological products for scientific firms. As long as you can justify your business idea, we’ll accept it!

There are two rounds to the challenge:

1) Open submission round: after the final workshop, entrants are asked to submit their business idea through our online platform (from 25 November, closing date of 20 January 2014).

2) The top entries are invited back to pitch their proposal in the Grand Final on 24 February 2014 , in front of a panel of judges and answer any follow up questions.

For 2013/14, Lion’s Den Challenge has two available prizes, totalling £11k. These prizes identify the importance and spirit of the challenge, as well as incentivising the business idea to move forward. The prize money could be awarded individually or if the idea and pitch are exceptional, one entry could win the lot!

‘Best Business Idea’ £10,000 – Convince the judges that you have the best business idea and you could win the top prize on offer.

‘Best Pitch’ £1,000 – Pitching skills can be just as important as the idea itself. Presenting a compelling business idea is half the battle and presenting it well could win you this prize.

For full details of the challenge:

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