Start-ups: The Ronald Furlong Fund

Promising start-ups are led by passionate and driven individuals with ideas that can potentially change their field and help many in the process.

At Orthopaedic Research UK, we recognise the value of such qualities. Our founder, Mr Ronald Furlong had these qualities. He saw a dire need in his field and set to overcome the barriers of the day in order to make lives better for patients.

To follow in his steps and in the spirit of innovation, The Ronald Furlong Fund has been set up to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to solve the unmet needs for patients with painful and debilitating bone and joint conditions.

If you are a start-up and believe that you have it in you to change patients’ lives for the better, please read on.

The theme of Research: “Rehabilitation solutions for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions with a preference towards technology-driven solutions benefiting patients, having had or likely to require joint replacement surgery”  – The applications that adhere to this theme will be prioritised, however, all MSK related proposals are welcome.

To select the best and most innovative candidates, we are collaborating with the healthcare accelerator, HS.

HS. takes 4% equity and charges a 10% programme fee in exchange for up to 100k investment from ORUK. Upon receiving the approval from the Scientific Advisory Committee, ORUK’s Investment Committee makes its recommendation to the Board of Trustees with regards to the level of equity the charity should take from each start-up. This will differ for each company and will be within a reasonable limit.

If you have any further queries, please contact us.


Key dates

28 January 2019

Guidelines and all the relevant documents will go live

1 February 2019

Opening date for submission of EOI

28 February 2019

Closing date for submission of EOI

15 March 2019

Decisions on EOIs – (Full application forms will be sent to successful EoI proposals)

17 May 2019

HS. Incubator decisions announced

31 May 2019

Full application submissions

1 July 2019

Scientific Advisory Committee meeting


Final Decisions

Frequently asked questions

Do I need an idea, team or start-up experience to apply?

It would be great to have all the above, but we are unique in that we are focussed on exceptional individuals and early-stage teams with a passion for health start-ups. We look for talented individuals with programming, engineering, technical, business and health backgrounds.

I’m not sure my idea fits into your research theme?

If your idea or solution doesn’t fit directly into our research theme but we see a potential benefit, we will take you on.

Do I need to be a PhD, programmer, have industry experience to apply?

We select outstanding founders from different backgrounds. Real-world industry experience is helpful but we live in a time when younger and less experienced individuals can create billion dollar tech start-ups. We are truly focused on bringing together the best group of individuals possible to work on something special.

Can I apply as a solo-founder, early team or team with revenue?

The Ronald Furlong Fund caters to everyone, whether you are finishing your degree, already working at a big company or already working in your company full-time we’re here to help you. All that we ask is that you can attend the mandatory elements and work well with your co-founder.

Do we need to be working full-time on our company?

We know that not everyone is able to quit their job, move location or drop out of college/university when they are starting out as a founder. In fact, most of the best founders we know began by working incredibly hard, building their company around their day job before moving to focus on their start-up full-time.

What equity do you take? Are there any programme fees?

HS. takes 4% equity and charges a 10% programme fee in exchange for up to 100k investment from ORUK. ORUK will also ask for equity in your company but will negotiate this at the final stage depending on the level of investment and nature of the project.

What do we get?

We look to add exponential value to both you as an entrepreneur/individual and to your company. We put together teams that could not otherwise be made and through mentoring sessions set your team up from the earliest stage possible to succeed in health and healthcare. We’ll save you time and help you to navigate key hurdles for health and healthcare start-ups.

On top of this, our team (HS.) works with you from day 1 and is essentially part of your early stage start-up during the programme. This includes helping you develop a brand, website, marketing strategy and much more.

You’ll also be part of the HS./ORUK Ecosystem for life which includes invitations to private events, alumni networking together with ongoing support from our mentors and partners.

Is my IP safe? Do you help with IP protection and navigating university IP committees?

Yes on all 3 counts. Your IP is completely safe at all stages. We’ll help you secure your idea and make sure it is as defensible as possible during the programme

Can I apply to other accelerators after the programme?

Yes, you can –  As long as you communicate with us beforehand. HS. will also help you choose the ones best suited to your growth goals. We favour classic accelerator models with a health vertical as we feel these provide health-specific startups with the best access to customers and growth prior to scaling.

Do I need to relocate to apply?

The HS. programme is held in London, however, we also encourage productive teams to work in environments best suited to them. There is no necessity to fully relocate for the duration of the programme all that we ask is that you can work productively with your co-founder. This can be done remotely, at your own co-working space or in a Starbucks; the choice is yours.

Do I need to incorporate my company in the UK?

Yes you do. ORUK currently considers only investing in the UK-based start-ups.

Do you have any tips for applying?

Be confident and clear and sell yourself at the application and interview stages.

When completing the application or answering interview questions, try and give specific metrics; we are entrepreneurs and scientists so we prefer action, facts, and substance over double-speak.

The process is highly competitive so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a spot first-time round. Reflect and keep at it.

I have a specific question not covered above!

We would love to hear from you please contact us at research@oruk.org, if you have any further questions.

Start-ups: The Ronald Furlong Fund