Founded by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck a decade ago, Entrepreneur First now employs more than 120 people around the world to help find and support the next generation of tech founders.
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Updated: 01 Jul 2022 12:42 pm
- EF is bullish on the Indian startup ecosystem and believes that Indian founders are on their way to building globally important companies.
- The company has raised its largest funding round to date, of $158m, from a large group of successful founders turned investors, including Stripe's Patrick and John Collison.
- EF will target a direct investment of $100m over the next three years in hundreds of entrepreneurs and will continue building out its talent product suite. It comes against an impressive backdrop: the aggregate value of companies created through EF now exceeds $10bn.
Bengaluru, June 30: Entrepreneur First (EF) , a scaleup investor in early-stage founder talent, has raised a $158m Series C funding round from a group of veteran technology founders, including Patrick & John Collison, Reid Hoffman, Taavet Hinrikus and Matt Mullenweg.
Bucking the trend of mounting layoffs and diminishing venture capital volumes across the startup world, owing to fears of a looming recession, the host of successful entrepreneurs and founders are backing EF to unlock opportunities for a diverse set of new global founders.
In the last 3 years, EF has funded 40+ startups in India across SaaS, FinTech, HealthTech, Robotics, RetailTech, Biotechnology, D2C, Web3, Creator Tools, etc. Many of these startups have raised their next round of funding from some of the best VC funds in India and beyond. EF is bullish on the Indian startup ecosystem and believes that Indian founders are on their way to building globally important companies. EF is the best place in India for great talent to find their best potential co-founder and start a venture-backable company.
EF's impressive global roster of backers includes John and Patrick Collison (co-founders of Stripe), Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of Wise), Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), Matt Mullenweg (co-founder of WordPress), Tom Blomfield (co-founder of Monzo and GoCardless), Nat Friedman (former CEO of Github), Sara Clemens (former COO of Twitch and Pandora), Matt Robinson (co-founder of Nested and GoCardless), Patrick O'Shaughnessy (Positive Sum), Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman (co-founders of Deepmind), StenTamkivi, Elad Gil and Lachy Groom.
Founded in 2011 by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck in London, EF now employs 120 around the world. It operates as an early-stage investor, helping talented people find co-founders to partner with ahead of launching startups.
"Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. The idea of taking strangers and helping them start robust and ambitious companies is no longer radical but essential to power the next stage of innovation," said Matt Clifford, CEO and co-founder of Entrepreneur First.
"The whole EF thesis is finding individuals who otherwise might not start companies and then trying to accelerate their journey to success," he said.
"EF is completely unique in the early-stage funding landscape. Our whole effort focuses on talent rather than typical venture capital deal flow. We don't try and win deals; we don't pick deals; we find great people. That brings big strengths. The ability to partner before there even is a company is both a relationship and an economic strength," he added.
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and Entrepreneur First board member, said: "We are entering a new era for venture funding, with a new generation of global founders needing support to build iconic companies from scratch. I'm excited to be part of this world-class syndicate. We're all passionate about the power of entrepreneurship to change people's lives and change the world. Entrepreneur First represents a new way for talented people to access that opportunity and a new way to build startup ecosystems outside Silicon Valley."
Alice Bentinck, The Co-Founder Of Entrepreneur First, said: "As the value of EF's portfolio companies passes $10bn, we feel we're just getting started. We want EF to have a product to enable every ambitious individual to find their co-founder. EF is already one of the world's great talent communities, and with this new funding and these new investors, we're looking forward to partnering with thousands of more exceptional founders in the coming years."
The cash — raised as a funding round, rather than a 'fund' — will be used to make investments into new startups as well as allow EF a capacity to experiment and innovate on how best to fund the next generation of entrepreneurs by launching new products aimed at upending the typical venture capital model.
EF is also announcing today that the aggregate value of companies created through its platform now exceeds $10bn. Notable alumni include Tractable (the computer vision unicorn focused on the insurance industry, funded by Insight and Georgian Partners); Omnipresent (the employment platform for remote work, funded by Tencent and Kinnevik); Aztec Protocol (the private transaction protocol, funded by Paradigm); Cleo (the financial management app, funded by Balderton and EQT Ventures); and Permutive (the privacy-compliant advertising infrastructure platform, funded by Softbank).
About Entrepreneur First
Founded in 2011 by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck and still headquartered in London, Entrepreneur First is a category-defining investor in entrepreneurial talent. EF's portfolio companies have been backed by world-leading investors, including Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, Softbank and GV (formerly Google Ventures). Exits from the portfolio exceed $680m and include Magic Pony Technology (acquired by Twitter); Passport (acquired by Moody's); Credit Kudos; Bloomsbury AI; Scape; Atlas ML (Papers With Code); and [Sonantic (acquired by Spotify)]. It has offices in London, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Bangalore, and Singapore. Sharing their expertise, Matt and Alice have co-authored the book "How to be a Founder" (Bloomsbury Publishing), available in August 2022.
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